13 August, 2018

JLR to add new models and platforms to existing line-up

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will add three new models over the next five years and switch to a new modular platform as it looks to compete with rival brands.

The first model is expected to be a new-generation Land Rover Defender, arriving in the 2020/2021 financial year, the company said in a presentation to investors. Two more vehicles will be launched between 2021 and 2024, increasing the company’s model range from 13 vehicles to 16.

No further information has been given about the other two new models. However, speculation in the media suggests that the single-model Defender may be expanded into a family of vehicles, similar to the Discovery, to rival fellow off-road brand Jeep.

British magazine Autocar has also suggested that in order to appeal to a broader market, JLR could develop an entry-level Land Rover, while another baby-SUV could follow, capitalising on the boom in the market for these types of vehicles.

Meanwhile, JLR’s new Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLA), will bring cost efficiencies to the carmaker by being shared across the bulk of its vehicles. Currently, the manufacturer uses six platforms, including the D7U aluminium platform used by the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery large SUVs, and the D7A aluminium platform used by Jaguar XF and XE sedans, Jaguar F-Pace SUV and the Range Rover Velar.

The Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Jaguar E-Pace use the D8 steel platform, a heavily reworked version of a legacy Ford platform. The Jaguar XJ sedan, F-Type sports car and I-Pace EV are on unique platforms.

JLR said the shift to the new MLA platform would start in 2020, possibly meaning the first vehicle to use it will be the upcoming Land Rover Defender.

The platform would give it "increased flexibility, commonality, standardisation and scale," JLR said in its presentation. The company did not mention which materials it would be built from.

Vehicles on the MLA architecture can be offered as mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicles, it added.

The company will also update its D8 platform, which underpins smaller models, until the 2024/2025 financial year, after which vehicles using it will switch to MLA. Before then JLR will update the platform, now called Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), to include plug-in hybrid and 48-volt mild hybrid models. The first model to use it will be the new Range Rover Evoque, which is expected to go on sale next year.

Improvements to this small platform will cut CO2 emissions. JLR needs to lower its CO2 emissions in Europe to 135 grams per km CO2 target by 2021 as part of the EU's target to reduce industrywide emissions to 95g/km by then. JLR's figure currently stands 178g/km, the company said.

In June, JLR announced it was moving some production out of the UK while it retooled its plants to ensure they could cope with multiple platform production. The carmaker announced a drop in Q2 profits at the beginning of August