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.

  • 285exp I am quite sure that it is a complete coincidence that they have announced a $7k price increase the same week that the current administration has passed legislation extending the $7k tax credit that was set to expire. Yep, not at all related.
  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.