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SVO more exclusive than AMG, says Jaguar boss

Fast business: Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations is already doing a brisk trade in Range Rover SVRs, with XE slated to be next.

High-performance arm of Jaguar Land Rover to sit above the likes of AMG, RS, M

14 Jun 2015

JAGUAR Land Rover’s local chief said he expects the new Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) sub-brand to be applied more sparingly than the high-performance arms of his German rivals.

Speaking at the launch of the first vehicle to come from the new SVO facility, the Range Rover Sport SVR, Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner said that Australia’s enthusiasm for highly charged variants of prestige cars means that SVO will do well locally.

“There is certainly a market that just loves these dynamic SUVs and passenger cars,” he told GoAuto. “There is a space there for them and there has been for a hell of a long time.

“If you look at the successes there have been with AMG, and from what I understand, this market is arguably the most successful market per head of population for AMG in the world. Australia certainly has this desire for these sorts of products.”

Mr Wiesner said he believes, however, that SVO’s focus will not be as wide as AMG’s.

“AMG flows all the way through down to the A-Class, effectively. I think our view will be that there are certain aspects of what an SVR product or an SVO-designed product must have. Where you see the SVO Range Rover Sport and when you see what the Project 7 represents, we're in that space,” he noted.

Along with Benz’s AMG variants, Audi has its S and RS performance sub-brands, while BMW tags its hotted up offerings with the M badge.

While the Range Rover Sport SVR is the first production-spec vehicle to come from the reinvigorated department, it was also responsible for the production of 250 examples of the Jaguar F-Type Project 7, which have since all been sold, including ten locally.

“We can look at the SVO guys' role to create such a bespoke sportscar with a bit of a salute to the past,” Mr Wiesner said.

“It's not just about brute force and power. It's also about a recognition of where we've been, but also a big salute of where we're going and about creating some interesting, bespoke type opportunities that some of the very affluent enthusiasts just want to get a hold of. Project 7 is a great new example of that.”

SVO is set to open a brand new 20,000sq m facility on the grounds of an old Peugeot factory near Coventry, England, complete with a paint shop and VIP reception area. The new facility is expected to create higher-specced and engineered versions of the company’s entire range of cars, and is a handful of kilometres away from JLR’s head office and manufacturing bases.

While SVR will be used to label road-going performance versions, the SVX nomenclature is expected to be adopted for off-road conversions. A highly specced version of the top-line Range Rover, known as the SV Autobiography, is set to launch later in the year, while SVR versions of the forthcoming XE and XF are also anticipated.

“Certainly SVR products are a big part of what we're looking at, not just for Land Rover and Range Rover products, but also for Jaguar,” affirmed Mr Wiesner.

“We'll watch with great enthusiasm.”

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