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Land Rover Discovery to push upmarket

Movin’ on up: JLR Australia says the bigger and significantly more advanced new-generation Land Rover Discovery due next year will enable it to push it further upmarket, starting from around $80,000.

New-gen Discovery pricing to rise by $10K to give Disco Sport space: Land Rover

Land Rover logo7 Nov 2016

By DANIEL DeGASPERI

LAND Rover Australia will push its Discovery further upmarket with the forthcoming new-generation model, increasing pricing by about $10,000 to start from around $80,000 plus on-road costs as the company looks to widen the gap between the premium large SUV and the mid-size Discovery Sport.

Speaking at the national media launch of the Range Rover Evoque Convertible in Queensland last week, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner claimed that while the Discovery 4 was still achieving steady sales even in its twilight years, it had impacted on Discovery Sport sales due to similar pricing.

He believed the arrival of the new-generation Discovery in the second quarter of 2017 from “around $80,000” would allow it to boost volume thanks to a more premium pitch than the outgoing vehicle, giving the Discovery Sport room to breathe.

“The current car (Discovery 4) has been fantastic we’ve been doing 2000, 2500 to 3000 units per year over the last two or three years,” Mr Wiesner said.

“(But) where the current Discovery has been an outstanding proposition at a lower price point, there has been some crossover with Discovery Sport. Quite frankly, I think we can get more out of that product as the new Discovery arrives.

“We want more out of that car.”

The Discovery Sport has achieved 3642 sales to the end of October this year, placing it second only to the Mercedes-Benz GLC with 4020 sales and indicating that a push for class leadership is on JLR’s agenda.

Mr Wiesner further claimed the “Discovery Sport’s role probably becomes greater” once the new Discovery can more closely challenge higher-priced contenders in the premium large SUV category.

“When we start the full focus on the pre-launch process we’ll be certainly doubling our efforts to push Discovery into areas we haven’t been resonating in strongly with the current one,” he said.

“I think we’ve done very well with our TDs (turbo-diesels) in the $70-90K space, but … we can now lift (Discovery) into a higher price bracket.

“What the new one does because of the technology we have, the size, the new drivetrains, we drop over 400kg in weight so it becomes quite a strong proposition in regards to its capability and performance.

“(It) allows us to play a little bit higher up in regards to where (Audi’s) Q7 and the like are playing.” The outgoing Discovery 4 TDV6 starts from $69,345 plus on-roads – overlapping with the flagship $70,690 Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury – whereas the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro is priced from $96,855.

Of the new Discovery’s pricing, Mr Wiesner revealed: “At launch we’re around 80 (thousand dollars), but if you look at our average driveway pricing (for Discovery 4) we’re not far away from that anyway.

“With a bit of a staggered launch approach, we’re never going to appear with a full range at launch so we've got a bit of a process that we need to get through with Discovery before we have everything available.”

Mr Wiesner said JLR had received 2500 expressions of interest in the new model via the Land Rover website – even before pre-launch activity has taken place – but he insisted the Discovery’s full potential would not be known until all engines and model grades arrive in the six months following the initial launch.

Asked whether Land Rover could shift more than 3000 Discoverys annually and possibly eclipse the Discovery Sport – the brand’s current top seller – Mr Wiesner replied: “It’d be nice, but … we’ll see how we go.”

The company has sold 2272 examples of the current Discovery 4 to the end of October this year, which is down only 2.7 per cent over the same period last year.

While behind the BMW X5 (3676) and its Range Rover Sport cousin (2584), the elderly model is still closely challenging the Audi Q7 (2368) and Mercedes-Benz GLE (2262).

However, when asked if pushing the Discovery further upmarket would impact on Range Rover Sport sales, Mr Wiesner claimed otherwise, pointing to different buyer profiles for each of the products.

“Range Rover is five-seater and Range Rover Sport is 5+2, Discovery is genuine seven-seater and Discovery Sport is 5+2,” he said.

“Versatility is huge in that space and Discovery being a genuine seven-seater compared to a Range Rover Sport as a 5+2 … there are different motivations for one to be driving a Range Rover versus driving a Land Rover.

“With a Land Rover it’s a much more practical decision.”

When the full Discovery range arrives by the end of next year, and with Discovery Sport tipped to increase sales volume, Land Rover could be looking at a 7000-plus tally for the Disco twins in this market.

However, Mr Wiesner would not give away set targets, saying he preferred to focus on the next six months.

“We're growing nicely and the biggest challenge I think we have, which is one we've made for ourselves, is the gap that we will have for Discovery,” he said, adding that only 200 to 300 units are left in dealerships.

“The current car, by the time we head to February/March, they’ll be gone, so we’ll have a couple of months that we’ll need to cover where we won’t have one and we've got to make sure we keep the business active through that period.

“There will be a bit of work we’ll need to focus on to make sure the dealers have that volume covered.”

Land Rover has managed to shift 11,585 vehicles to October 2016, up 21.7 per cent on the year prior, with Discovery Sport (3642), Range Rover Sport (2584) and Range Rover Evoque (2293) all showing at least double-digit growth.

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