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Future models - Land Rover - Range Rover - crossover coupe

Reitzle's feet not set in clay

With apologies to Nissan: graphic artist NORM ROBINSON's impression of what a crossover Land Rover coupe would look like.

Premier Automotive Group chief Wolfgang Reitzle plans a raft of new models

23 Jan 2002

WILLIAM Clay Ford Jr might have set about curbing excesses throughout the Blue Oval empire, but Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG) chief Wolfgang Reitzle is showing little sign of restraint.

UK internet site 4Car has reported the former BMW engineering boss plans to introduce a raft of new models across the PAG - including a cut-price mini "Landie" and a crossover Range Rover coupe (above) for the troubled Land Rover brand.

Mr Reitzle also envisages a new PAG-exclusive V12 petrol engine and V8 turbo-diesel slotting neatly into Land Rover models within two or three years.

While plans to slot a so-called "mini Range Rover" between the Range Rover and Discovery are well known, this is the first time a volume-selling off-roader designed to sit beneath the Freelander, and a radical departure from the Land Rover's traditional wagon body shape, have received such an anointment from the top brass.

While cautious about the prospects of a mini four-wheel drive on the Australian market, Land Rover Australia marketing manager Glenn Forster said the company's expansion into new segments such as sports cars would be a natural one.

"The market will look to move somewhere else and I think perhaps the sports arena of the marketplace is where there will be an opening. Sports four-wheel drives will look to traditional sports car customers as their target audience," he said.

Meantime, Land Rover Australia will offer its all-new Range Rover with two trim and two engine levels when the vehicle arrives Down Under in June.

A 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine will power both the entry level HSE model and the top of the range Vogue, priced from close to $100,000 and $150,000 respectively, while a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel will also be offered in HSE trim.

Both engines will be mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox with Steptronic sequential manual operation and a two-speed low-range transfer box with Torsen centre differential.

Mr Forster expects to sell Land Rover Australia's 800-unit allocation of Range Rovers for 2002 and also nominated 800 as a target figure for 2003.

The Defender 90 is also close to being confirmed for launch in the final quarter of this year.

Should it get the nod, Mr Forster said the 90 would be offered in two trim levels, both offering ABS brakes and traction control and with an Extreme version featuring standard air-conditioning and accessories such as alloy wheels, nudge bar and side steps.

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