Speaking to media at the Land Rover Discovery launch in Utah, USA, today, the head of design for Land Rover and Range Rover, Gerry McGovern, said the brand equity that Range Rover holds will allow it to stretch into other product types.
“Why not?” McGovern said when asked if Range Rover could make passenger car-like models.
“If you look at how other brands have come into this SUV territory, why couldn’t Land Rover, Range Rover go into that territory?
"The thing about Range Rover is, it has massive [brand] equity. It has equity comparable to certain fashion brands, not because it’s fashionable but because of the margin. I’d argue that RR as a brand is peerless, there is nothing else like it, and we’ve proven with things like the Evoque and we will prove with the next car, the Velar, that we have the ability to stretch and have much greater resonance in the marketplace, so I think there are lots of opportunities.”
McGovern believes that if Land Rover and Range Rover are to evolve and be successful, they need to deliver what the market is asking while still maintaining the links to their strong heritage and DNA.
“We have got a specific DNA which has evolved over the years and its about taking that DNA and those ingredients and cooking them up in a way that is absolutely relevant.
“All the vehicles that we create now need to sell a certain volume so we can get that investment back and reinvest it in the future. We are never going to be about massive volume but we need to get to critical mass so we can sustain ourselves.”
According to McGovern, the designers have to be proactive and come up with the potential market opportunities based on future trends and where the market is going.
“Let’s say that the SUV market, generic term SUV, it is fragmenting, it's proliferating, we are seeing lots of different types of niche products coming off it. And part of the job that we have in design is not to sit there for the market planners to come to us, we define the opportunities of the business. What about if we did this? Would it give the brand more resonance and bring new customers to the brand?”
With the introduction of the new Range Rover Velar just a week away, any additional all-new models will likely be some time away. Whether that’s a small passenger-car like crossover SUV or something similar remains to be seen. For now, Range Rover and Land Rover appear to be on a road to a new era of rapid product introduction.