The massive product expansion and overhaul will help make Jaguar Land Rover a major player in the premium market, according to the British company’s new program director.
Wolfgang Epple oversees every new vehicle in the JLR portfolio and says there are 40 programs in the pipeline over the next five years as JLR looks to increase sales volumes and its share of the global market.
“I think the total car market is going to be around 120 million and we think 20 million will be SUVs,” Epple says. “That is a big opportunity for us but we can’t be satisfied with just volume growth as the SUV market expands. We need to lift our share and our profile in that area.”
He also confirms the basics of an Autocar story that says the Land Rover range will increase to 16 vehicles by 2020. That report says the line-up will include a four-door pick-up based on the Defender replacement, which is due in 2015-‘16, a trio of compact SUVs spanning the luxury, leisure and utility segments and a more luxurious Evoque XL and Evoque cabrio.
Dr Epple says the Evoque is an example of the growth JLR can achieve. “The Evoque has been sensational for us - around 80 per cent of owners are buying their first Land Rover,” he notes.
“The projections for that car were only 60 per cent of the actual sales. That shows the potential we have to create premium products that keep all the Land Rover characteristics of quality and capability but take the brand in a new direction.”
As important as the new direction is, Dr Epple also accepts the company has to retain faith with its traditional buyers and maintain the Defender replacement as a rugged and durable off-road workhorse. He refuses to directly confirm a crew-cab pick-up model but notes that part of the market continues to expand.
“The Defender’s history and recognition shows its importance to Land Rover. The next version must extend that relationship with the existing customers as well as making it more attractive to a broader audience.” “From that point of view, a compact version certainly makes sense.”