Land Rover’s New Offerings: Tata for Now

September 25th, 2009

2011 Range Rover LRXWe wrote a rather contemptuous piece back in March panning Land Rover’s LRX concept for its ugly styling, squashed-down rear end and exaggerated front end. Our readers, however, had other ideas. Of the 14 comments they made, 11 were positive about the car’s looks and design. Shows to go you.

Well, now the company has announced that the LRX will go into production late next year as a 2011 model (shown here)—and we hereby acknowledge what we should have known all along: Nobody can presume to predict what the public will like when it comes to car design. De gustibus, and all that.

Based on our small sampling, maybe Tata Motors (LR’s new owner) is making a smart move. The LRX 2-door + hatch will be the smallest, lightest and “most efficient” in the Land Rover line, though power plants have yet to be determined. They talked hybrids and “electrification” when the concept was introduced in 2008. It will be branded as a Range Rover and priced, it is said, “below the $60,495 Range Rover Sport.”

The company needs a shot in the arm. In addition to its happy LRX news, Tata announced it was going to close one of three Jaguar-Land Rover plants in England by 2014 since “combined sales of the two brands dropped 52 percent in its first fiscal quarter.”

Overfinch Range Rover "shooting brake"

Overfinch Range Rover "shooting brake"

Of course, one way to boost sales is to go to a niche market—for example, how about hunters and drinkers? TopGear reports that specialty maker Overfinch has taken the big supercharged V8 Range Rover, fitted it out with a Holland and Holland walnut gun cabinet and a “self-replenishing drinks cabinet” so customers can drink, drive and shoot, all from the comforts of a £140,000 vehicle.

Let’s give them some other markets to think about. What about cars for those who refuse to give up texting? Cars for the visually impaired? What others can you suggest?

—jgoods

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