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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Report: Land Rover considering sub-compact SUV for all markets, to combat MINI Countryman

Land Rover is seeking to continue offering an affordable alternative to their otherwise mid- and fullsized offerings as the brand persists in making over its entire lineup. So far, the new flagship Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have been the two completely new models to carry on the overhaul following the Range Rover Evoque, which spearheaded the brand’s new direction.

That said however, the remaining models due for replacement are the entry-level LR2 and the mid-sized Discovery, or LR4 as we know it right now. But other than those replacements, AutoCarUK reports that Land Rover is seeking to expand even more by offering a sub-compact SUV for all markets.

“I can see a sub-compact SUV working in all markets… and I don’t see a reason not to do it in the future,” Land Rover’s global brand director, John Edwards, told AutoCarUK.

Should the new compact SUV get a green light, it will sit on a platform that is around 30cm shorter than the current Evoque. The platform will supposedly be developed by Jaguar, Land Rover, their parent company Tata Motors, and a new Chinese partner, Chery, and will be front-wheel drive.

Sources within Tata Motors have hinted that small 1.4L and 1.6L four-bangers could be used with Jaguar even seeing use of the 1.6L unit. Pricing could hover around the £18,000, making this potential new subcompact Land Rover a direct competitor to the MINI Countryman.

Land Rover’s reason for surveying the subcompact market is due to the rising trend in demand for the niche market, according to the brand’s hired marketing analysts—who said that Land Rover cannot “ignore” this niche and is imperative to their growth and success.

“We continue to look at opportunities for a smaller, cheaper Land Rover but — if we did it — it certainly wouldn’t be exclusive to India. It would have to work in other markets,” Edwards elaborated. “The SUV segment is the fastest-expanding sector. There’s room for crossovers, pick-ups, small sub-compact SUVs. We are definitely looking at opportunities, but we haven’t decided yet on small cars.”

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