New CEO Thierry Bolloré has promised to shake things up, and the business recorded surprisingly strong pre-tax profits late in 2020, but the fact is this: Jaguar Land Rover has been in the wars of late.
Abroad, troubles in the Chinese market in 2018 catalysed a sales nose-dive, the impacts of which are still being felt. And back at home, the simultaneous public flogging of diesel cars and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit have done their best to add two black eyes to the firm’s already bloodied nose. This axis of misfortune, along with a £3.1 billion write-down in the value of company’s capitalised assets, saw this storied British manufacturer post a staggering £3.6bn loss for the financial year ending May 2019.
It was into that somewhat tempestuous environment that the subject of this road test emerged, in 2019. And the importance of the Discovery Sport’s role in the wider Land Rover picture should not be underestimated. Since its arrival as a replacement for the Freelander in late 2014, the seven-seat family SUV has been a shining beacon of success for the marque and quickly became its best-selling model.
In 2017 Land Rover sold 126,078 examples of the Discovery Sport – the highest single-year sales figure for any Land Rover model in the firm’s 71-year history. And while that figure slumped by a considerable 26% in 2018, this dip was attributed to customers holding off for this highly anticipated new model.