Jaguar Land Rover Exec: New Discovery Causes Traditionalists to 'Pine Over' Old Discovery Shape
“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]
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- John It is ashame that a company that evaluates toaster ovens, like consumer reports, is allowed to cast such negative press upon what is perhaps the world's best selling pickup truck, such being a classic engineering marvel like the ford f150 series. I have personally bought, lived with, and have driven these vehicles for almost half a century, and I can tell you that to me they are incredible wonderfully crafted machines that have been not only helpful in every respect a truck can be, but beautiful to drive particularly with the modern technology packages now incorporated in their systems packages. I say leave the evaluations and judgement calls to those who's knowledge of automotive engineering and design are expert to the matter in question.
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