Could Land Rover really be toying with the idea of a regular (non-SUV) passenger car, or is it just being cheeky?
That’s the question we walked away with following a quick doorstop with Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern today, at the Frankfurt motor show.
JLR was using the colossal German event to premiere the Jaguar F-Pace, the first SUV from a decidedly passenger car-oriented brand.
The obvious follow-up we put to him: Might SUV-focused Land Rover follow the precedent, flip its ethos upside-down and make a passenger car?
“Why not?” he said, prompting a quizzical response. “I didn’t say yeah, I said why not?”
Decades of brand equity based on a culture steeped in off-road lore, for one, we suggested.
“I don’t think so,” McGovern countered. “I think Evoque proved Land Rover has got a lot of stretch, 80 per cent new customers to the brand that wouldn’t have bought before.
“A lot of our vehicles have become more on-road capable… you might argue it’s a natural progression…”
So, could JLR really develop an on-road-only Land Rover? Or is McGovern just poking the ants’ nest to drum up some chatter about his brand? If it’s the latter, let’s oblige.
Interestingly, McGovern had said earlier that all segments genuinely were on the radar, leveraging JLR’s common architectures to capitalise on an increasingly fragmented and niche-driven market. ‘SUV’ was simply a generic term, he said.
“In terms of smaller vehicles, why not?
“We’ll look at opportunities to stretch and grow the brand (referring to both Jaguar and Land Rover). It’s all up for grabs at the moment, but I’m not being more specific than that.”