The Land Rover Discovery family of vehicles will grow to include at least three variants, and the British brand has highlighted the potential for an all-new compact entry model.

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Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern insisted the brand’s leisure-focused family of vehicles would grow beyond the current mid-sized Discovery Sport (which will replace Freelander 2 next year) and the larger Discovery.

“You’re not a family if there’s only two,” McGovern told Australian journalists at the Paris motor show.

“Discovery needs to be more than two vehicles, and it will be. We are investigating lots of opportunities to grow the Discovery pillar.”

McGovern also confirmed the Range Rover family would grow to include a fourth model line, joining the Evoque, Sport and luxury Range Rover SUVs.

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Asked if the Discovery family could expand to include a model beneath the Discovery Sport, Jaguar Land Rover global operations director Andy Goss responded: “Quite possibly”.

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“Ten minutes ago, who would have thought we could do a Range Rover Evoque, and that that Range Rover Evoque with a four-cylinder engine would win North American Truck of the Year? If you’d gone back to the year 2008 somebody would have thought you were smoking dope if you’d said that. And it happened! So it’s possible.”

Goss insisted that the brand would not compromise its core principles when designing models for the future, however, vowing that a baby Discovery would still need to be versatile above all other things.

“If it’s got to be versatile it’s got to do the ‘Above and Beyond’ thing for the family,” he said.

“Certainly from where you guys come from, that outdoor life is really integral. If you lost that versatility you’ve not got a Discovery. And that doesn’t have to be seven seats, but for sure it’s got to allow you to embrace the outdoor aspect.

“For Discovery to work it’s got to be versatile, it’s got to be family, it’s got to be the outdoor world as well … and if we went outside that scope then it’s not a Discovery.”

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Goss said arch rival Jeep’s recent introductions of the mid-sized Cherokee and sub-compact Renegade, and plans for a compact model in between to replace Compass and Patriot, did not mean Land Rover had to follow suit.

“Let me put it this way. Jaguar is a challenger brand. With Jaguar we’ve got to look at the competition in great depth because we’re the challenger and they’re in pole position.

“[That’s] not the case with Land Rover. We don’t.

“[That’s] not to say that we ignore them, Christ’s sake we don’t do that. But we’re the brand. We’re the number one brand in the world, so they’ve got to worry about us. We don’t have to be constrained by what even Jeep are doing, and Jeep is very credible, and we don’t have to be worried all the time about what the Germans are doing.

“This is the original, authentic SUV company. We should make our own trucks. And I think we’ve got to be true to that.”

Neither would be drawn on a timeline for the introduction of a new Discovery model, though Goss said suggested such a vehicle was unlikely to arrive until the end of the decade at the earliest.

“The focus over the next three to four years, for the three legs, is let’s flesh out those three legs properly, and then let’s take it from there.”