By on September 25, 2017

2016 Land Rover Range Rover fording - Image: Land RoverThink along the lines of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class CC. A BMW 7 Series Allroad. A Jaguar XJ Activ. A Lexus LS SUS.

It will be Land Rover’s Road Rover, Autocar reports. And it’s no joke. Targeted at China and California in particular, Land Rover’s Road Rover may appear at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in advance of a 2020 on-sale date. Intended to wage war against the aforementioned full-size luxury cars, the Road Rover is believed to be equipped with a measure of “all-terrain” capability, Autocar says.

While the Range Rover Sport of 2005 was the original move toward more car-like Range Rovers, Land Rover extended its reach with the Range Rover Evoque in 2011 and this summer’s Range Rover Velar. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at the development of a Road Rover.

The brand’s trajectory was obvious.

Jaguar XJ Range Rover - Illustration: Matt PoskyIt’s a somewhat humorous turn of events, regardless. After existing as a passenger car brand for eight decades, Land Rover’s Jaguar partner brand (both are owned by India’s Tata) launched its first SUV, the F-Pace, in the spring of 2016. Jaguar’s second utility vehicle, the E-Pace, will arrive this winter.

Ceding territory to Jaguar after nearly 70 years as an SUV-only series, Land Rover has allowed the F-Pace to become Jaguar Land Rover’s best-selling model globally, TTAC’s Adam Tonge learned at Jaguar’s North American E-Pace unveiling. (The Range Rover Sport leads the way for JLR in North America.) The Jaguar E-Pace, meanwhile, is expected to become JLR’s global No.2. What’s a sibling rival supposed to do? Land Rover will turn the tide, thereby claiming a portion of Jaguar’s luxury car territory.

The Road Rover will be an exceptionally high-end model. Autocar says it’ll be priced from £90,000 ($121,300) – the Range Rover starts at £76,795. The first Road Rover would also be intended to act as the patriarch of a range of road-oriented models, some even more car-like with others more rugged.

The idea of a Road Rover, just like the idea that translated into the new Range Rover Velar, goes back decades. Autocar says merging a Rover with a Land Rover was part of the plan as far back as the 1950s and again in the 1960s. The result of that plan, however, became the Range Rover.

But we know that Land Rover believes no niche is too small to fill. Indeed, Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern said recently that even identically sized and priced Land Rovers can coexist “if they had two personalities then they’ve both got equal appeal but to different customers.” Yet in this case, the car with which the Road Rover will share the most will be the next-generation Jaguar XJ, not exactly the Land Rover Defender.

[Images: Jaguar-Land Rover; Illustration: Matt Posky]

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

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9 Comments on “SUVs Are so 2017 – by 2020, Land Rover Will Build a Car...”

  • avatar

    Land Rover wants to build car.
    Can’t call it Rover because China.

    *Shakes fist at British-Leyland*

    • 0 avatar

      I think Ronnie is right, which is why China calls them Roewe.

      Via Wikipedia: “SAIC was unable to purchase the rights to the Rover brand name and created the Roewe marque as a replacement.”

      They do own the MG brand/name, though.

      More info, via Wikipedia: “Following MG Rover’s collapse in 2005, the Rover marque became dormant, and was subsequently sold by BMW to Ford, who had bought Land Rover from BMW in 2000. The rights to the Rover brand were transferred along with the Jaguar Cars and Land Rover businesses, to Tata Motors in 2008.”

      • 0 avatar

        What about the “Sterling” brand? Fortunately the last Rovers and then Sterlings were imported so long ago that I would imagine that everyone has forgotten about them by now.

  • avatar

    I was wondering who owned the rights to the Rover brand, particularly concerning road cars. BMW owned it but in 2006 sold the rights to Ford, which included Rover in the package it sold to Tata, along with the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, so there are no trademark issues for Land Rover to sell a Rover branded road car. JLR last used the Rover V8 (nee Buick) in 2005.

    Land Rover was originally an offshoot of Rover, which was eventually absorbed by British Leyland. Following the collapse of BL, British Aerospace bought the privatized Rover group, selling it to BMW in 1994, which sold Land Rover to Ford in 2000. At the time Ford was given right of first refusal to the Rover brand, which it exercised in ’06.

  • avatar

    I’m sure that the platform for the next XJ and Road Rover will also underpin some kind of crossover.

  • avatar

    Time to bite the bullet and rehabilitate the Rover brand…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “While the Range Rover Sport of 2005 was the original move toward more car-like Range Rovers…”

    It’s funny you say that. While the L322 (2002/03-2012) full-sized Range Rover was on a fully-unibody architecture developed while the company was under BMW, the first-gen Range Rover Sport (2005/06-2013) used the more-rugged unibody / ladder frame architecture of the LR3 and LR4.

    I think the transition for the Range Rover to more car-like vehicles was the Evoque line in 2012.

  • avatar

    I would be fine if it was called a Rover, but Road Rover? What a prestigious-sounding name that is. But I suppose in Europe Rover wouldn’t work either due to the generally unpleasant memories of that brand.

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