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by Tim Beissmann

 

Land Rover’s design chief says the company is working on an expanded range of technical and cosmetic enhancements for customers looking to take the personalisation of their cars to the next level.

Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern told a small group of Australian journalists including CarAdvice at this month’s New York auto show that he has designers in his team working specifically on bespoke ETO (Engineered to Order) projects.

“That’s becoming an area of much bigger focus for us,” McGovern said. “It’s very important to our business.

“I split the studio into exterior design, interior design, and I have another one that looks at colour and materials and special projects including ETO, so I have designers in my department that are working specifically on ETO.

“We’re looking at ETO, what we can do in terms of offering more personalisation, which has to include higher-performance technical aspects, not just cosmetic ones.”

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McGovern said he was determined to offer more personalisation options across the Land Rover and Range Rover portfolios so customers were not forced to look to aftermarket companies for bespoke designs and vehicle tunes.

“A lot of companies in Britain and other parts of the world, in Europe and Germany, they take our vehicles and they dress them, they do a lot of cosmetic things to them.

“I find it slightly irritating because they always make them look slightly worse and yet they charge the consumer an extra $15,000-$20,000 for them, and the consumer, God bless them, are doing that because they just want something that is personal to them.

“I can’t understand the notion that some people, say like in London, take a Range Rover badge off a Range Rover and put Overfinch or something else on it and think that adds more credibility. It’s like taking a Patek Philippe sign off a Patek Philippe and replacing it with Timex as far as I’m concerned.”

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McGovern admitted “it was no good moaning about it”, however, and insisted the company needed to “be more proactive in giving customers what they want”.

“I believe that has to be done in a way that maintains the integrity of the brand, because quite often these tuners will do things that negate the guarantees on these vehicles, you lose your warranty.”

Land Rover’s ETO division is known to be working on personalisation options for the Range Rover Evoque, and the recently unveiled Range Rover Sport is also expected to benefit from the team’s enhancements in the short term.

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