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Sub-$50K 2WD Evoque big step in Land Rover eco push
4.9L/100km Evoque sets new affordability, cost of ownership standards for Land Rover
1 Jul 2011
LAND Rover this week announced a starting price of $49,995 and March 2012 launch date for its front-wheel drive Range Rover Evoque crossover in 'Pure' five-door 110kW diesel manual guise following an initial rollout of 4WD models from November.
That price brings it within $5000 of the British off-road brand's cheapest product, the $44,990 Freelander TD4 and closer to BMW's $46,100 rear-drive X1 sDrive18i. Audi's all-new Q3 is also expected to launch Down Under in the first half of 2012, leading to a potential stealing of thunder on both sides.
When Australia's first 2WD Land Rover product is launched, it will be the least expensive, most economical and environmentally-friendly Range Rover ever, having a CO2 output of 129 grams per kilometre – part of a wider sustainability strategy for Land Rover.
With a combined fuel consumption figure of 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres in coupe guise (five-door: 5.0L/100km) and the least economical diesel returning 6.5L/100km (petrol:8.7L/100km) all diesel Evoques are classed under Luxury Car Tax rules as fuel-efficient and therefore not subject to the levy – unless customers specify enough options to bring the total price over the $75,375 threshold.
Jaguar Land Rover group sales operations director Phil Popham said that the purpose of the $49,995 front-drive Evoque was to achieve a low 129 grams per kilometre CO2 emissions rating rather than a lower entry price.
Given that the front-drive Evoque will not be sold in all markets (the US will be all-wheel drive only), he expects the majority of Evoques sold around the world will be all-wheel drive.
This sentiment was echoed by Land Rover Australia marketing and public affairs manager Tim Krieger: “We expect a lot of them to be further up the scale,” he said. “People will want to option up their cars. The sweet spot will be around $65,000 to $70,000.”
Mr Popham said the Evoque is just one step in a sustainability strategy that will see Land Rover move with the times, offering better fuel economy and reduced emissions while maintaining its cornerstone of off-road credibility and position in the luxury market.
“There is no silver bullet to sustainability,” he said. Like sister brand Jaguar – which makes use of lightweight aluminium – Land Rover’s approach is to take weight out of its vehicles and make use of more efficient drivetrains.
He said that every new model will be “substantially lighter than the model it replaces” confirming that more than 400kg will be stripped from the next-generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, enabling the use of smaller engines while achieving increased performance plus a “step change” in CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency.
He said the weight reduction would be achieved “everywhere” in the vehicle, from individual nuts and bolts to the use of smaller-displacement engines and savings in the chassis and bodywork.
Mr Popham sees hybrid and EV technology – at least in the short term – as “just a small part of the sustainability story.”
He said the company’s customer research in its global markets revealed that although buyers want more fuel efficient and sustainable vehicles, they are “not yet ready to pay (the high material costs) to be green.”“When you consider that the batteries, electric motors and other componentry can add £10,000 ($A15,000) to the cost of the car, it is only really our largest models that will benefit to begin with.”
The Evoque – in both three-door 'coupe' and five-door guises – was the main drawcard on Land Rover’s Australian International Motor Show stand in Melbourne today, exactly a year since it first emerged in production form at an exclusive event in Kensington, London.
Mr Popham said that since the UK launch event, 300,000 people have signed up online for email updates and 18,000 deposits had been placed. As a result, Mr Popham is confident that by the time the first Evoque rolls off the Halewood assembly line on Monday, the first six months of production will be sold out.
Australian journalists were told by Mr Popham, who has been driving a pre-production Evoque, about his experiences of the British public’s reaction to – and awareness of – the new crossover, saying the car had people pointing, staring and approaching to ask questions.
He also cited the example of a colleague who had someone follow him all the way to his home driveway in order to ask about the car, concluding that the Evoque will “do a lot for JLR in terms of people’s perception” in terms of the brand’s style, design and approach to sustainability and cost of ownership.
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