It looks like Land Rover might be putting together something new for the Chinese and North American markets. According to Autocar, the British automaker will release an electric vehicle sub-brand dubbed Road Rover before the end of the decade. Expecting the car to debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, Autocar thinks the future Land Rover Road Rover will compete directly with luxe-sedans like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series.
We don’t doubt Land Rover is looking at China and electrification, nor do we doubt the plausibility of an ultra-soft-roader in the form of a wagon or sedan, but that name: Road Rover? After reaching out to Land Rover, a spokesperson said the Road Rover story is speculation but did not deny a future product akin to what Autocar expects.
We also reached out to Nick Gibbs, a U.K.-based correspondent for Autoweek sister publication Automotive News, who had similar doubts about the name. Gibbs expects Land Rover to expand the Range Rover name because of its brand equity rather than starting another line for cars. Earlier this year, Gibbs spoke with Land Rover designer Gerry McGovern, who echoed those sentiments of equity.
McGovern said, “If you look at the Range Rover family of vehicles in the same way the Discovery range and the Defender that hasn’t come yet, there’s opportunities within all three families to expand into areas that we haven’t been in. I would argue that, at the moment, within our whole division, Range Rover has by far the most equity, in terms of premium pricing and in terms of sitting in that world of luxury.”
With the Chinese new-car market still hot on luxury sedans, we’re pretty sure Land Rover will build something to expand its name and further its awareness around the world. However, we doubt Land Rover will introduce a name like Road Rover instead of simply expanding the Range Rover lineup like the company has already done with the Evoque convertible and the new Velar. It looks like we’ll find out for sure what’s happening by the end of 2019.