Land Rover admits that its internal predictions for the shape of the global SUV market in 2020 is only a best guess, but it does show the huge potential for the company. Land Rover estimates that the global SUV market will reach 22 million units by 2020. If so, this means that Land Rover could be a profitable premium-brand maker without selling regular road cars.
The chart above was flashed up by the company at the recent Range Rover presentation and shows where the biggest SUV markets are expected to lie.
In the super-luxury SUV segment — presumably with prices in six figures — the global market runs to just 116,000 units. One notch down, however, and there are 453,000 sales to fight for, making it fertile territory for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
According to Land Rover sources, the new aluminium production line at Solihull could produce 150,000 models per year at full stretch, which is the most profitable operating position. With the new Range Rover shifting just over 40,000 units and the Sport about 60,000, it leaves room for a range-topping aluminium Land Rover in a luxury leisure segment that should be able to steal 50,000 of the 682,000 available global sales.
Perhaps the biggest area where Land Rover can make headway is in the mid-market ‘leisure’ sector, where six million annual sales are up for grabs. As Land Rover’s future line-up shows, it needs to build a family of cars in the sector where the current Freelander and Discovery compete.
This, along with the desire for a city-sized Range Rover, means that Land Rover will probably need to develop its own scalable steel platform, which would probably come in two sizes, covering vehicles from 3.9m to 4.3m in length and those from 4.3m to 4.7m.
Although the new ‘leisure’ range would be partly built in the UK — suggesting that Halewood will need to expand significantly in a few years — the new Defender family will probably be built mostly in India, with European versions using a significant number of Indian-sourced sub-assemblies.
There’s no news on what will underpin the new Defender, but a modified version of the Discovery’s T5 platform, with a lighter structure and simplified suspension, looks most likely. With 10 million sales globally, there’s a huge incentive for Land Rover to fight its way back into the traditional SUV market that it partly invented.