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by Tim Beissmann

Land Rover says it sees relevance in an SUV one size smaller than the Range Rover Evoque and could build such a car if the business case stacks up.

Land Rover director of programs Murray Dietsch says the company is always looking at potential expansion opportunities and admits the premium compact SUV segment is a lucrative one for the British manufacturer, albeit challenging.

“It’s a real killing field when you get down into the lower price-bracket vehicles,” Dietsch said.

“Sure the volume’s there, but you’ve got to make sure you’re not chasing something that you’ll never be able to deliver a business return on, so it’s a bit of a balance.

“Part of it is making sure that it still has a real relevance to Land Rover. I think there is relevance in smaller products and it’s just whether we can get it to really make a good business sense, that’s always the challenge.”

Photograph James Lipman / jameslipman.com UK 07803 885275

Dietsch said much of the decision to build a sub-Evoque-sized SUV would depend on whether Land Rover had the money and the resources to do it.

“We’d like to do a lot of things, whether we can afford to do it…

“We still want to grow the business a lot more than what we’ve got at the moment. We’re not saying that six [Land Rover and Range Rover models] is enough – it keeps us busy though.”

The premium compact segment is currently the world’s fastest-growing SUV market, with the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 leading the way, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA about the join the fold later this year.

Lead designer of the mid-sized Lexus LF-NX concept Takeshi Tanabe also believes that his brand could make a smaller crossover model in the future.

Photograph James Lipman / jameslipman.com UK 07803 885275

Land Rover global brand director John Edwards admits the growth of the compact SUV segment makes it an attractive prospect but says introducing a vehicle below the Evoque is not a priority at this stage.

“It’s been no secret that although the SUV market is growing massively, it is growing most significantly in the smaller size ranges,” Edwards said.

“But right now I think we’ve got our hands full with what we’ve got, so there’s no initial plans to go smaller.

“Could we? Of course we could. But there are no plans right now.”




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