Range Rover Unveils First Addition to Its SUV Line Since 2010By
Velar model fills gap between Evoque, Range Rover Sport models
New addition comes as Jaguar Land Rover profitability drops
Range Rover is expanding its sport utility vehicle lineup to four models, adding the Velar between its entry-level Evoque and the pricier Range Rover Sport.
The all-new Velar will be slightly taller than the squat $41,800 Evoque, and feature a more rounded exterior design than the boxier $65,650 Range Rover Sport, according to drawings released by U.K. manufacturer Land Rover. The company said it will publish further details on the model on March 1.
The original maker of rugged all-terrain vehicles is fending off competition from other carmakers pushing into the burgeoning worldwide market for SUVs and crossovers, including the Bentayga from Volkswagen AG’s ultra-luxury Bentley nameplate and the Levante built by Italian carmaker Maserati. The Range Rover brand’s most recent model addition was the Evoque, its smallest vehicle, which was unveiled in mid-2010.
The Velar is critical to reviving parent company Jaguar Land Rover’s profitability following recent years of rapid expansion since the British auto manufacturer’s takeover by Indian carmaker Tata Motors Ltd. The U.K. division’s earnings for the nine months through December dropped 15 percent, and the return on sales narrowed, which the company blamed in part on a weaker product mix and higher marketing spending.
The Velar, set to be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in Solihull, England, will feature a “visually reductive approach and pioneering consumer technology,” and be made of “unique” sustainable materials, the company said.