Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern made the announcement at the New York auto show where the British SUV maker is currently showcasing the Land Rover Discovery Vision concept (pictured bottom), which previews the design of the new Discovery ‘family’.
“I am proud to confirm the nameplate that will make Discovery a family of vehicles for the first time. It will be called Discovery Sport and will go on sale in 2015,” McGovern confirmed.
“This will be the most versatile and capable SUV in its segment and is the first expression of the Discovery Vision Concept unveiled here in New York.”
The new Discovery family structure follows luxury division Range Rover’s strategy with its flagship Range Rover model and the smaller Range Rover Sport.
The confirmation of the Discovery Sport badge is also the final nail in the coffin for the 17-year-old Freelander nameplate, confirming CarAdvice’s report from last month.
Jaguar Land Rover global operations director Phil Popham told CarAdvice in New York today the brand had high hopes for its new Discovery family.
“We think with the Discovery Sport, which we’ll be offering from next year, will actually attract the majority of Freelander customers,” Popham said.
“Freelander has been incredibly successful for us. It was the biggest volume SUV in Europe for several years. The one criticism around Freelander from customers was it’s not as versatile, it doesn’t use space as effectively as they would like. Discovery Sport will actually do exactly that. It will be the most versatile compact SUV.”
Popham said the Discovery Sport (pictured testing above) would follow a slightly different path to its Range Rover Sport cousin.
“It’s a different concept. It’s not going to be Sport based on more on-road performance. It’s actually going to be based on agility. But the focus is still versatility. There won’t be a compact SUV that’s more versatile than the Discovery Sport.”
Asked whether there was potential for the Discovery family to expand beyond two models, Popham said there were no firm plans at this stage but hinted additional variants could be on the way.
“We’ve only confirmed plans for two, but I think we have the potential to do more than that in the future. It’s all about what those would be and the focus will be on versatility: clever use of space, reconfiguration [of the interior], people and load carrying.
“It could be smaller [or it] could be larger. We really haven’t planned that at the moment. In that way we didn’t plan to have three Range Rovers – we planned to have two, but we realised the potential for the Range Rover family.”