Report: J-Pace, Road Rover to Join Electric Jaguar XJ; XF and XE in Limbo

A brace of road-oriented electric crossovers will join the upcoming XJ at Jaguar Land Rover’s historic Castle Bromwich assembly plant, Autocar reports. The UK plant, formerly home to wartime aircraft production, will pivot to EVs with the help of a $1.2 billion investment.

With Jag pulling the bulk of its volume from crossovers, the addition of a larger crossover is a no-brainer; meanwhile, Land Rover’s shadowy Road Rover is said to be a go — minus the name itself. That leaves the slow-selling XE and XF sedans as the big question marks in the brand’s future lineup.

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Remember 'Road Rover'? It Hasn't Gone Away

Just over two years ago, a tentative product name discovered deep within Jaguar Land Rover’s internal communications captured the eye — and stimulated the fertile imaginations — of auto journos everywhere. “Road Rover” was a name JLR was using to describe a possible future vehicle; a year later, the automaker moved to trademark the name for safekeeping.

Since then, JLR has grappled with financial pain born of the decline of both diesel propulsion and the sedan bodystyle, choosing to fight market trends by shoring up its Land Rover division with new or updated utility vehicles, returning the Defender nameplate to the top of the line, and cutting build configurations of its Jaguar passenger cars. Parent company Tata Motors wants results, and it wants them in a hurry.

One thing not lost to the automaker’s evolving product strategy is Road Rover. There’s more news on that front.

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Amid a Flurry of Model Changes, Land Rover's 'Road Rover' Is No Sure Thing

Jaguar Land Rover’s mysterious Road Rover name, now trademarked, has been the subject of speculation ever since the British automaker began tossing it around in internal communications. As the company prepares a slew of new or redesigned models based largely around a versatile new architecture, the name has cropped up again.

It seems “Road Rover” won’t appear on the flanks of the mystery vehicle, even if it is built.

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Land Rover Trademarks 'Road Rover' Name

It might be just Land Rover looking to keep prospective or like-sounding names in the corporate fold, but a moniker rumored to herald a new Land Rover model line has shown up in a trademark application.

Spotted by Autocar, the “Road Rover” trademark is the best sign yet that the British utility vehicle maker is planning a range of vehicles that aren’t quite as ballsy and rugged as its other famous offerings. Previously, the name showed up only in internal communications.

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QOTD: Is the 'Road Rover' a Terrible Idea?

Maybe one day we’ll all look back and wonder how we could have been so wrong. “Of course,” we’ll say over drinks at the back of the pub, “it was all so simple. People wanted cars. Land Rover cars. And we were too stuck in our ways to see it.”

“Crossovers were king back then. Buyers couldn’t get enough of ’em,” we’ll recall, growing agitated over our past myopia. “Harley-Davidson could have put a pup tent on the back of a Tri Glide and sold 50,000 a year. Foolishly, we didn’t notice the simmering desire for a car — a regular car, dammit! — from an automaker that sold SUVs and nothing but since 1948.”

As Rod Serling used to say, this isn’t a future that will be, but one that might be. Yesterday we brought you a report detailing Land Rover’s plans to reveal a high-end luxury car, not an SUV, in 2019, all part of a plan to capitalize on decades of accumulated brand cachet and plunge into a wholly untapped segment. Road Rover is the vehicle’s rumored name, Autocar claims.

Suppose they’re right?

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SUVs Are so 2017 - by 2020, Land Rover Will Build a Car

Think 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.

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  • Ajla GM didn't do this even when Corvette sales and cocaine use were at their peak.
  • Dwford How many more wealthy performance car buyers does Chevy think they can drag into their showroom full of middle of the road crossovers? I guess they will find out
  • SCE to AUX It's been done before, with varied success:Ford --> LincolnHyundai --> GenesisGM --> XLR (Cadillac), ELR (Cadillac)VW Touareg --> Porsche CayenneI suspect GM is trying to avoid the Mustang fiasco (which is working for Ford, BTW), by not making the Corvette name a sub-brand - only its hardware.(In the Mustang's case, YTD 46% of "Mustang" branded vehicles are the Mach-E, but they share no hardware. GM's plan is much different and less controversial.)Back to the sub-brand: the XLR and ELR experiments were total duds, borrowing hardware from the Corvette and Volt respectively. Both sullied Cadillac's name - not Chevy's.
  • Art Vandelay I don’t care what they do with the brand. But I do want to see how a mid engined platform spawns a 4 door and a crossover
  • Varezhka If they’re going to do this, might as well go all the way and make it a standalone brand instead of a Chevy sub-brand. They already have a unique emblem, after all. Shouldn’t there be enough empty former Hummer, Saab, or Cadillac dealer showrooms to house them?