Maybe one day we’ll all look back and wonder how we could have been so wrong. “Of course,” we’ll say over drinks at the back of the pub, “it was all so simple. People wanted cars.Â Land Rover cars. And we were too stuck in our ways to see it.”
“Crossovers were king back then. Buyers couldn’t get enough of ’em,” we’ll recall, growing agitated over our past myopia. “Harley-Davidson could have put a pup tent on the back of a Tri Glide and sold 50,000 a year. Foolishly, we didn’t notice the simmering desire for a car â€” a regular car, dammit! â€” from an automaker that sold SUVs and nothing but since 1948.”
As Rod Serling used to say, this isn’t a future that will be, but one that might be. Yesterday we brought you a report detailing Land Rover’s plans to reveal a high-end luxury car, not an SUV, in 2019, all part of a plan to capitalize on decades of accumulated brand cachet and plunge into a wholly untapped segment. Road Rover is the vehicle’s rumored name, AutocarÂ claims.
Suppose they’re right?
Debuting a traditional passenger car just as the world seems ready to ditch any and all vehicles with a trunk runs counter to sensible product planning. Grabbing a slice of the next big thingÂ â€” that’s the kind of play that can pay big dividends. Lamborghini was a little early with its 1980s LM002, but it’s playing catch-up now.
Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche, Maserati, FerrariÂ â€” all of the world’s top luxury brands have an SUV (or two) already in showrooms, or at least nearing production. To go after the declining share of luxury car sales seems like folly, yet Land Rover is clearly eager to expand its presence and its lineup. But a Mercedes S-Class fighter? Even an all-wheel-drive estate car carrying the green oval seems like a radical departure.
There’s plenty of skepticism over the Road Rover idea. Land Rover hasn’t officially confirmed the report, nor denied it. OneÂ Automotive News journalist expects any such car to appear with a Range Rover badge, never mind this Road Rover business. (Certainly, the name doesn’t smoothly roll off the tongue.)
Supposing the report is true, is Land Rover’s plan a smart one, or something destined to water down the brand? Is a Land Rover car something buyers truly want to take home? Sound off in the comments.
[Image:Â Â©2017 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]