It’s been a long time since the world has seen an all-new Range Rover. Known as the L405 internally, the latest model is only the fourth generation over the vehicle’s 42-year life span, one of the longest product cycles in the industry.
Arguably the inventor of the SUV typology, Land Rover launched the fourth generation Range Rover in September and the order books have been filling up.
Spurred by sales of the segment-blurring Evoque, of which over 100,000 models have been sold, the Land Rover brand has also recorded its best ever sales this year.
While many automakers have to contend with plummeting sales in the European market, Land Rover is enjoying record sales in the region, posting a 53 percent growth year to date. It’s biggest growth market has been in Asia, where the brand has seen sales surge 84 percent so far this year, followed by Russia at 58 percent.
Land Rover sold 27,000 models of the previous generation L322 Range Rover in 2011, recording its best figures in 2007, when 32,000 were sold.
Though John Edwards, Global Brand Director for Land Rover, wouldn’t speculate on the annual sales forecast of the vehicle, he expects this fourth generation of the iconic model to best the 2007 sales figures.
“We believe that the Range Rover is the definitive luxury SUV and we want to confirm that for the fourth generation,” Edwards told us in an exclusive interview. “The Range Rover is very successful product for us and we want to build on that. The SUV market is expanding, and we have a great understanding of the SUV market. We have recognized that there are a number of competitors coming in above us – Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati for example – coming in to expand the marketplace.
“We’re targeting successful people who want a product that delivers on rational benefits but is also a true luxury product. The demographic hasn’t changed at all. The new car will be very attractive to these clients.
“We do see the potential of this car to grow in emerging markets quite significantly. We haven’t looked at the market and said we want to target a younger customer. What we’ve looked at are the vehicles that are in the market – saloon cars, SUVs, the Range Rover has always been in a class of its own.
“With the all aluminum architecture we knew that we could deliver a car that actually has all the benefits of a luxury saloon as well as the capabilities of a Land Rover. It has an unbelievable breadth of capability. So while we’re targeting the same demographic but we’re more competitive against the saloon cars that we’ve positioned ourselves against – S-Class and 7 Series.”
While the luxury SUV stays true to its design heritage – a true function over form approach – it has made huge advancements in weight savings, platform and suspension technology in its 42-year history. Simply put, there is no viable contender when it comes to venturing off the beaten path in cosseted luxury.