Land Rover is riding the crest of the wave in Australia’s SUV boom, after posting another month of significant sales growth here last month.
The iconic British-based brand posted 1173 registrations in January, up 34 per cent over the same month in 2015. Every model in its range, including those from its Range Rover sub-brand, posted a sales upswing.
This is also coming off the back of a year of about 18 per cent growth for the brand across 2015. The company is in the midst of a sizeable model makeover backed by its hands-off Indian owner Tata.
It means Land Rover beat the SUV sales of Audi (1014) and BMW (819), though lost to a rampant Mercedes-Benz (1245, up 170 per cent). More interestingly, the once niche brand came perilously close to outselling Jeep and its 1268 sales, down 44.5 per cent.
Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner told us this week that this figure didn’t surprise him, though it beat the company’s own initial targets. “I thought [at first] were were under-calling it,” he said.
Add in the sales of the Range Rover Evoque (234), which competes in the same premium medium SUV segment, and the figure gets even more interesting.
Further up the scale, the Land Rover Discovery belied its advanced age and finished second in the premium large SUV segment, behind only the Audi Q7. Meanwhile, its Range Rover Sport segment-mate did 215 sales, more than the Mercedes-Benz GLE (196) and close to the BMW X5 (254).
At the very top of the scale, the Range Rover netted 40 sales, up 25 per cent and a customary second in segment. Once again, the Mercedes-Benz GL dominated with 85.
Finally, the venerable Land Rover Defender, which has now ceased production until an all-new one arrives, is enjoying a late flourish as die-hards get in while they still can. Land Rover sold 87 in January, up from 38 in the same month in 2015.
So what’s ahead? Land Rover will introduce three new products in 2016, albeit at the niche end of the scale.
The Range Rover SV Autobiography comes in March and the Discovery Sport Dynamic in May. More interestingly, the $84,440 Range Rover Evoque convertible arrives around July/August. This is an almost entirely unique proposition.
Beyond this, expect the all-new Discovery to launch in Australia in the first half of 2017. Expect this car to move upmarket but still offer the familiar off-road ability that is the brand’s calling card. It will be revealed globally around mid-2016.
One challenge Land Rover might face could come from within. Jaguar launches its first crossover SUV around July — the F-Pace. It’s pitched as sportier and softer than any Land Rover product, more like a Porsche Macan rival, but still…