Jaguar Land Rover Exec: New Discovery Causes Traditionalists to 'Pine Over' Old Discovery Shape

jaguar land rover exec new discovery causes traditionalists to 8216 pine over old

“But in some cases, the traditionalists are going to

maybe pine over the squarer shape of the previous four iterations.”

– Jaguar Land Rover Australia Managing Director, Matthew Wiesner

The Land Rover Discovery, known for a time in North America as the LR3 and then LR4 whilst alphanumeric nomenclature was deemed necessary if one was to steal market share from the Lexus GX460, is a box.

Or rather, it was a box. For nearly three decades, through the Series I and Series II and then the LR3 and LR4 that ran for a dozen years or so, Land Rover’s sub-Range Rover was squared off. Hard lines. Rectangles. Right angles. No Bangles.

Land Rover has rediscovered the Discovery name in North America, but the brand did not manage to rediscover the Discovery’s styling themes. And on the other side of the world from Land Rover’s Coventry HQ, Australia’s Jaguar Land Rover boss is vocalizing a major concern.

“The new shape is certainly going to test some of the traditional owners of Discovery,” Matthew Wiesner told CarAdvice.

Ya don’t say.

Back in the USA, Land Rover perhaps need not care about traditional Discovery owners. There just aren’t that many of them. Since the recession, Land Rover USA has averaged only 7,700 annual LR4 sales, just 14 percent of Land Rover’s total. More costly Range Rover models, the original Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport, have proven distinctly more popular.

But the new Discovery, despite improved efficiency and on-road behavior, is a visually complicated affair in the eyes of diehard Discovery owners.

Copious amounts of bodywork above the rear wheels, an inartfully executed stepped roof, a front end that links the Discovery too closely to the soft-looking (and cheaper) Discovery Sport, and plentiful evidence of an all-around attempt to normalize the brick-shaped LR4 for aero purposes is not the way to an LR4 lover’s heart.

Nevertheless, says JLR Australia’s Wiesner, Land Rover sees evidence that the new Discovery is operating on a higher level than the old model, stealing sales from the Audi Q7 and BMW X5.

That’s not a bad thing, though only 40 percent of JLR Australia’s orders for the new Discovery are coming from owners of old Discoverys.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • 4everdisco 4everdisco on Jul 10, 2017

    Listen most people in America are not really loyal to much these days, so to expect decent feedback on this matter is about as likely as the sky to rain money. I'm an American, but I can appreciate design, legacy and tradition... Although I can appreciate modern design and what Land Rover is trying to do with the line of Discovery. I have to agree that the new design is not a fav of mine... I own an 06 LR3 and it has over 150,000 miles... And I'm still taking it out through my back roads and all over California... My gas mileage has been decent for box frame and haven't had any major mechanical/electrical issues that would raise concern. That square frame is an iconic Land Rover Design.. It's practical, and allows for outstanding views while your passing up Land Cruisers and jeeps on those rigorous trails. I don't care how many of you think you know LR, but I'm speaking from experience... I will be riding my LR3 till it's dying days and continue to loyally support LR... The design might be something to get use to, but the innovation on new Disco from Land Rover should help ease the aesthetic pain... I would gladly pay the gas for the iconic design of discos! They just work!

  • Ccc555 Ccc555 on Jul 10, 2017

    I have 2015 LR4. It is quirky and not as easy to use as say a Tahoe or GLS 450 would be - but it's my wife's car and she made the call based on absolutely loving the look of it. She's an interior designer and is often complemented on her style/taste so I assume she knows that she's talking about. To me it looks like a Jeep Liberty and while it isn't the most user friendly truck, there is something really nice about it when you take it for a longer distance ride. Around town I prefer my car but on a drive into the mountains or to the beach, this thing feels perfect.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.