Steve Cropley talks to Land Rover's design director, Gerry McGovern, to discuss the new Range Rover Sport.
What were the design priorities on this project?
“This was a new vehicle for a new era. We had to be careful not to dilute the Range Rover DNA, which is such a huge asset. We had to understand the audience’s needs and make the car more desirable. The words we use for this product are ‘dramatic’, ‘grounded’, ‘athletic’ and ‘powerful’. Every line and feature had to be there for a reason.”
The new Sport looks very different from the last. Why?
“We believe Range Rover Sport buyers are a bit younger and more receptive to change than buyers of the flagship. They’re happy to move on, so we’ve tried to make that possible. Besides, there were flaws in the old one that needed correcting.”
What things do you mean?
“The corners aren’t so block-like now. That’s a step forward. And the rear wheels are in the right place. They were wrong before, and the rear overhang drew attention to it. Getting the proportions right makes a big difference.”
Was it important to convey the extra efficiency of the model in your design?
“Not just efficiency, but sustainability. These are really important factors if SUVs are to fit into the future. This model is half a tonne lighter, and it’s made of aluminium, a very recyclable material. There wouldn’t have been a case for making it look heavy or cumbersome. We’ve tried to do the opposite.”
How would you describe the different characters of the Sport and the flagship?
“The Range Rover has a majestic quality. You sit up high and waft along. In the Range Rover Sport, you’re cocooned in a more sporting environment. It’s luxurious, but a lot less formal.”
What are your hopes for the Range Rover Sport?
“Success, of course. I’m confident we can grow the customer base. And the world market for SUVs is predicted to be 22 million units by 2020 — about 10m more than now."
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