The attractive and curvaceous looks of the new 2017 Land Rover Discovery might actually cost it sales, according to Jaguar Land Rover Australia’s managing director, Matthew Wiesner.
While the new Disco has proven hugely effective in winning the company conquest sales - with some 60 per cent of the almost 700 pre-orders made up of buyers coming from other brands - Wiesner admits it might not be quite so popular with Land Rover’s more rusted on and passionate fans.
“The new shape is certainly going to test some of the traditional owners of Discovery,” Wiesner says. “I think the size is quite deceptive until you see it in the flesh, and get in there and have a play.
“But in some cases, the traditionalists are going to maybe pine over the squarer shape of the previous four iterations.”
While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, anyone with two functioning eyes can see the new Discovery is a prettier car than its boxy forebears, even with its reversed-baseball cap roofline at the rear, but Land Rover devotees are a strange bunch.
Despite that, some 40 per cent of Discovery orders so far are from previous owners.
“We see it as a great opportunity to push Discovery up a bit higher into an area we couldn’t really play in before,” he said.
“We’re seeing a lot of conquest from other brands in that higher price range because they’re seeing it as more premium than it was.
“Hopefully traditional owners will warm to the new shape, but we've certainly had good success at the other end, where we probably didn’t perform as well as we would have liked with the old one.”
Wiesner has also been surprised at the early take up of the four-cylinder Sd4 engine option, saying he expected early orders to be close to 100 per cent TdV6.
“To be honest, we thought we’d see more interest in the four-cylinders once they actually arrived here, but the model mix with Sd4, while it’s still predominantly the TdV6, has been a big surprise so far, and that’s a very good thing for us,” he said.