The SVO division is currently putting the final touches to its new facility near Ryton, south of Coventry. Known as ‘Oxford Road’, the new factory will be home to 150 JLR specialists and will have its own paint shop.
“We are smaller and more entrepreneurial by nature,” Edwards said at the recent Geneva motor show. “Speed to market will be key, and we aim to be a high-margin business.”
Edwards revealed that SVO was working on a strategy that would see the division producing vehicles under three new ‘ultimate’ brands: ‘ultimate luxury’, ‘ultimate sporting performance’ and ‘ultimate off-road ability’. The ‘ultimate sporting’ models will compete with the higher-end offerings from Mercedes-AMG and BMW’s M division and will be sold under the SVR brand.
The first SVR model, based on the Range Rover Sport, has just been unveiled. The ultimate off-roaders will be badged SVX. The sub-brand name for the luxury models has not yet been fixed, but the Range Rover SVAutobiography could be the first model to be branded under the new category.
“We will operate under three principles: profit, promote and protect,” said Edwards. “First, SVO must make a profit. Second, we must promote JLR’s wider business. And third, we must protect the integrity of our brands.”
JLR currently sells around 150 ‘individual’ cars each year but is looking to significantly increase that number. SVO will be able to build one-off models for customers, although the creation of such models will not include any re-engineering work. “We can’t disrupt the factory flow,” said Edwards. “Limited-run cars like the Project 7 are more complicated. We have to get a balance between scale and exclusivity.”