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Land Rover admits its new Discovery Sport will steal some sales from its Range Rover Evoque twin and vice versa, but is confident overall growth for the brand will be significant.

The Discovery Sport has been launched officially in Iceland this week, ahead of the May Australian release for the model that replaces the Freelander.

Land Rover is repositioning the Discovery Sport as a more premium offering, however, and its $53,300 to $68,900 pricing range crosses over with the five-door Evoque that costs between $49,995 and $79,970.

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The company’s operations director in Australia, Matthew Wiesner, says the brand can’t predict how the Evoque v Discovery Sport mix will play out but knows it needs both.

“It could move both ways [steal sales from each other],” said Wiesner. “But from $50,000 to $80,000 we’ve got a significant offering from both marques in that space, and our ability to then attract significantly more people than we are with Freelander and Evoque today becomes pretty compelling.

“The big challenge within the brands… For those who bought an Evoque two or three years ago and their family situation has changed, need more space, whatever, we as a group need to provide something for them to actually spend within our brands internally…

“An Evoque’s not going to be for everybody. There’ll be customers coming to see Evoque and saying, ‘Actually I do need more space’, and some people looking at Disco Sport going, ‘Hey, from a design perspective I prefer the Evoque’.

“That’s why it doesn’t matter how it rolls [in terms of the Evoque/Discovery Sport sales mix], as long as we’re attracting more people to the group.”

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Evoque sales in Australia went flat in 2014 despite Land Rover increasing sales by 21 per cent to break 10,000 units (10,106) for the first time. It was still the brand’s second best-selling model with 2584 sales, trailing the Discovery’s 2701 figure.

A mid-cycle update is due in the second half of 2015, though, and Wiesner argues the baby Rangie still performed strongly.

“We’re three years into Evoque and doing 2000 to 2500 a year. We’ve not done a lot [in terms of marketing], and if you take a look at the competition, it’s been pretty aggressive from around various brands. Evoque has continued to do the job it’s doing.”

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Land Rover’s sister brand Jaguar is also entering the SUV equation, with the production version of the C-X17 concept that will be called the F-Pace.

The F-Pace will be Jaguar’s first ever high-riding vehicle, with the company previously aiming to avoid treading on Land Rover’s toes.

Wiesner says there’s not only room for the F-Pace in the JLR offerings but it’s needed to help plug showroom gaps.

“In a sense Jaguar is going to head in that direction, because we need to attract new people into these brands and also retain them once we’ve got them.

“And there’s still some big holes in the Land Rover and Range Rover business where we could lose existing customers potentially back to Germans.”




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