Land Rover has always hinted about an entry-level model it would like to do someday. Well, that “someday” has arrived, helped in no small way by the Ford Bronco. With all of the hype and buzz about the Bronco, Land Rover has decided it’s time to develop what is codenamed L860. It is planned on being released in 2021. The price point for the more affordable baby Rover is said to be under $33,000 according to Autocar.
This is the third time in the last few years that an affordable, entry-level Land Rover has been planned. The problem with past proposals is the business case for producing a model that siphons sales off of the Jeep Compass, Mini Countryman, and Volkswagen Tiguan, without doing the same for larger Land Rover models.
The Bronco battle heats up
A couple of things have happened since the last time this was on Land Rover’s product cadence. First, all of the media hype and interest in the Bronco. Also, the midsize SUV market in Europe is expanding. Right now over 500,000 of these are expected to sell in 2019.
But the obvious markets are China and the US. Both countries are seeing a growing market for small SUVs.
This entry-level four-door would slot in behind the Discovery Sport Land Rover. Power is said to be from a 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder. Land Rover is also considering a plug-in hybrid version.
Stricter emissions also force new Land Rover development
Stricter emissions requirements throughout Europe and anticipated in the US also come into play. The incoming EU CO2 requirements start in 2021. Then, in 2025 another round of even stricter emissions regulations hits. As its larger SUVs produce higher emissions it needs a large volume vehicle to offset this, at least in the short term.
Interior wise, the affordable Land Rover will play off of the new Defender’s functional look. It may have an even more utilitarian look given the target price. And, that target price is going to be difficult to meet.
For Land Rover to battle the Bronco it must keep costs down
Reducing development and construction costs has always been one of the main snags in getting the baby Land Rover into production. The current Discovery Sport has a $40,000-plus entry sticker price. To separate it both in size but also in price from the Discovery Sport the $33,000 price seems right, but is it achievable?
The best way to keep development costs down is by using an existing platform. Both Land Rover and sister company Tata jointly developed the D10 platform. Tata calls its version the Omega-Arc for “Optimal Modular Efficient Global Advanced Architecture.” Tata’s new Harrier uses it.
The D10 is a variation of the platform underpinning the first Land Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport. This platform is adaptable to plug-in hybrid systems and battery storage. It was to be used the last time this vehicle was being considered, but the concerns over Brexit and US trade protectionism with the Trump administration quashed it.
And, there is also a much more luxurious Land Rover being developed to compete with the new Aston Martin DBX. It will; be all-electric and is expected before 2025.