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Frankfurt show: Range Rover welcomes Jag SUV

Room for both: The more JLR Group SUVs there are, the merrier things are, according to Land Rover’s global boss.

Room for both Jaguar SUV and “tough bastard” Land Rover in JLR stable, says chief

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Jaguar logo11 Sep 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO in FRANKFURT

LAND Rover’s image as the “tough bastard” of the luxury SUV market will give it a key point-of-difference as stablemate Jaguar prepares to launch its first crossover.

Jaguar unveiled its C-X17 crossover concept at Frankfurt this week, showing the brand’s first foray into one of the strongest segments in the luxury car market.

However, Land Rover global brand director John Edwards says he is “entirely comfortable” with stablemate Jaguar preparing to dip its toes into the segment.

GoAuto ran across Mr Edwards on the Jaguar Land Rover stand at the Frankfurt motor show, and asked if such a vehicle might impede on Land Rover’s traditional territory as the group’s SUV specialist.

In response, Mr Edwards said the market had ample room for both, provided each brand played to its native strengths.

“I am 100 per cent comfortable with what they’re doing,” he said. “I mean every single manufacturer of significance has now got an SUV or a crossover in their range.

“We talk about the SUV market having 24 million cars in it worldwide by 2020. It’s growing 40 per cent (admittedly including pick-ups) up to 2020.

“There’s plenty of room. Jaguar needs a crossover in the range to get volume in certain markets just like Porsche did when it launched the Cayenne.

“We have a very clear understanding of what makes a Land Rover a Land Rover, a Range Rover a Range Rover, a Discovery a Discovery and a Jaguar a Jaguar. It (the C-X17) will have a very different character and I’m very, very relaxed about it.” Mr Edwards insisted that Land Rover and Range Rover products would be differentiated by their off-road abilities, whereas the Jaguar would be much more urban-oriented.

“The reason that car (pointing to a nearby Evoque) has the green oval badge at the back is that it’s got capability at its heart. I’m a brand man and that’s what sets this brand apart,” he said.

“Every model we have is built to be more capable than its direct competition.

“It doesn’t mean the Evoque needs to have adjustable air suspension to improve its clearance like a Range Rover Vogue, but it means Evoque, against its competition, needs to be a tough bastard.

“If Jaguar were to do this sports crossover, it would have a very different emphasis.” As reported, Jaguar is embarking on an ambitious new-model program based on an all-new aluminium platform that will be first employed on a volume-selling small-medium BMW 3 Series-rivalling sedan due to reach showrooms in 2015.

The C-X17 SUV concept also previews a forthcoming “sports crossover”, as Jaguar describes it, which will use the same ‘intelligent aluminium architecture’ – or iQ[Al].

The C-X17 sits upon a 2905mm wheelbase – only 4mm shy of the large XF sedan – and measures 4718mm in overall length, 1959mm in width and 1649mm in height. Ground clearance is 213mm, while the footprint places it in among key rivals such as the current BMW X5, albeit with a slightly lower and longer – meaning sportier – stance.

Jaguar says the all-wheel-drive wagon will offer “refined on-road dynamics and sedan car-like handling” with factors such as its low height, an optimised centre of gravity and dynamics technology such as torque vectoring.

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