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  • One of the most respected and coveted names in the world of

  • off-roading vehicles is the Range Rover.

  • They sport a strong outdoor heritage, luxurious interiors

  • and widely acclaimed designs.

  • The Range Rover name has gone from being a single model

  • within the portfolio of parent Land Rover to a full lineup

  • of vehicles, a brand in its own right.

  • Some in the industry say Range Rover might be more

  • recognizable than Land Rover itself, which makes other

  • sport utility vehicles such as the Discovery and the highly

  • respected Defender.

  • From a brand perspective I think Range Rover is the brand.

  • I think it has much more notoriety than even Land Rover

  • does. Range Rovers are equally at home in the wilderness as

  • they are in the streets of London, New York or Dubai, and

  • have been favored by the British royal family and Kim

  • Kardashian. The Range Rover combines capability with

  • luxury. They have been so successful at this pairing that

  • Range Rovers are more likely to be bought as prestige

  • vehicles than what they were originally meant for.

  • All of this has earned Range Rover and by association, Land

  • Rover, an enviable place in the automotive market.

  • This is fortunate for its owners, the Jaguar Land Rover

  • group and its parent, India's Tata Motors, which have seen

  • their fair share of struggles in recent years.Land Rover

  • sold 368,066 units in the fiscal year spanning 2019 and

  • 2020, compared with 140,593 Jaguar vehicles.

  • Out of the seven models Land Rover sells, four are grouped

  • under the Range Rover sub-brand and sales of the original

  • Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport, Velar and the Evoque

  • together comprised 70 percent of Land Rover's sales.

  • The Range Rover name has exceptional power earned for it by

  • an extraordinary product.

  • But its rivals are growing more numerous and more

  • formidable every year.

  • Range Rover began as a secret project within Land Rover in

  • the late 1960s.

  • The original Range Rover prototypes, of which there were

  • 26, were given the code name Velar from the Italian word

  • "velare" which means to veil or cover.

  • The company had the idea of taking the products in a little

  • bit of a different direction, and they identified a more

  • upmarket version of a Land Rover that they thought would

  • appeal to the aristocracy, the landowners, or you know, the

  • people who had country homes, who had land.

  • The Range Rover was introduced in 1970.

  • It came with two side doors and a hatch on the back and was

  • the first vehicle to feature Land Rovers permanent four

  • wheel drive system.

  • A four-door version came out in 1981.

  • The first generation vehicle was a critical success.

  • Early versions were comfortable and capable, but tended to

  • be rugged and simple, with a lot of washable vinyl and

  • plastic in the interiors.

  • What made the Range Rover special for SUVs of its time was

  • an excellent performance, both off-road and on-road.

  • The vehicle completed an unprecedented 18,000 mile trek from

  • Anchorage, Alaska, to the southern tip of the Tierra del

  • Fuego in South America, another trek 7,500 miles across the

  • Sahara Desert and a modified version one the first

  • Paris-Dakar rally race in 1979.

  • The second generation Range Rover, which debuted in 1994 was

  • a luxury upgrade over its predecessor, taking a bigger step

  • toward the fancy mall prowling Range Rovers of today.

  • Notably, this was the generation that swapped out the

  • circular headlamps for rectangular ones, a design that

  • stuck. In the mid 1990s Land Rover also introduced its

  • autobiography Design Service, which allowed buyers to

  • customize interiors with top shelf materials.

  • In 1994, the German luxury and performance automaker BMW

  • bought the Rover Group, a family of British vehicle brands

  • that owned Land Rover at the time.

  • The third generation Range Rover, designed during this time

  • with heavy input from BMW, moved the vehicle even further

  • upmarket. Range Rover became a larger unibody vehicle,

  • meaning the chassis and the body of the vehicle were fused

  • together to form one piece.

  • The interior was luxurious, taking cues from high-end

  • yachts and first class airline cabins.

  • BMW owned Range Rover for a really small amount of time,

  • just a blink of the eye in terms of the auto industry, and

  • they transformed it into the brand that we know it today.

  • The one that, you know, you hear about it in songs and in

  • pop culture so much it kind of took the industry by storm.

  • By 2000, Land Rover was split off from the Rover group and

  • sold by BMW to Ford Motor Company, where it would become

  • part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, that also included

  • Aston Martin, Volvo and Jaguar, along with longtime premium

  • Ford brands Lincoln and Mercury.

  • 2005 brought the Range Rover Sport.

  • It gave prospective buyers a speedier variety, with its

  • supercharged 4.2 liter engine.

  • Cross-linked air suspension allowed drivers to raise and

  • lower the vehicle on its wheels, giving them greater ground

  • clearance off road or a lower center of gravity for better

  • handling on road.

  • Ford eventually sold Land Rover along with Jaguar to India's

  • Tata Motors in 2008 for $2.3 billion.

  • We've been through quite a few ownership changes over the

  • years and with those ownership changes has come opportunity

  • and opportunity has really fed into our ability to do the

  • right things for the products, and move it on the way we

  • want to move it on. Range Rover expanded its lineup yet

  • again with the Evoque in 2011 as the smallest Range Rover

  • model available. The compact SUV was critically acclaimed

  • and allowed buyers to get into a Range Rover at a much

  • lower price than they would have to pay for the flagship.

  • With the fourth generation Range Rover adopted an aluminum

  • body, a move that Ford would also later make with its best

  • selling F-150 full sized pickup truck.

  • Using lightweight aluminum gave the vehicle better fuel

  • economy. We're on the fourth generation now and the current

  • one for for sales.

  • Perspective is by far the most successful one that we've

  • built. Land Rover out did this fuel efficiency effort by

  • introducing a hybrid the following year.

  • As it developed, Range Rover transformed from a go-anywhere,

  • do anything workhorse to a rolling status symbol.

  • The transformation exemplified a larger shift in the

  • automotive market in the United States and increasingly

  • outside of it. Decades ago, off-road vehicles were tools.

  • Pickup trucks usually came with two doors and only one row

  • of seats. Jeeps and other sport utilities were functional

  • and capable of surmounting obstacles, but often came with a

  • harsh ride, poorly insulated cabins and few creature

  • comforts. These were vehicles for getting a job done, not

  • for cruising. If you wanted to do that, you got a sedan or

  • maybe an eye-catching sports car.

  • But somewhere along the way, rich drivers started favoring

  • pricey SUVs to ride and comfort and flaunt their wealth.

  • And the Range Rover was the defining vehicle of this shift.

  • There were very few high-end SUVs at the time.

  • I mean, you had a Navigator and Escalade and those kind of

  • capped out at a certain price.

  • And now you sort of develop the high end, the sort of super

  • premium level SUV, which really didn't exist prior to Range

  • Rover. It has maintained this cachet and become something

  • of a pop culture icon itself.

  • And Range Rovers sell at very high prices.

  • Land Rover has some of the highest transaction prices of

  • any brand on the market.

  • A fully options Range Rover Autobiography can easily top

  • $200,000. That does not seem to slow down sales, however.

  • Range Rover sales in the US grew from about 8,746 units in

  • 2010 to a peak of 19,030 units in 2018.

  • They have fallen a bit since then, but so have auto sales

  • in the U.S. overall.

  • The often sky high prices have perplexed many people.

  • In terms of capability, Range Rovers are up there with

  • other off-road juggernauts like the Mercedes G -class, the

  • Jeep Wrangler, the Toyota Land Cruiser and 4runner, and

  • perhaps in some ways also a growing set of off-road ready

  • pickups such as the Ford Raptor, Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, the

  • Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, and the RAM Rebel Power Wagon and

  • TRX. But the Range Rovers eye toward luxury shows and its

  • price tag. Newer Range Rover name bearing siblings start at

  • above average but still attainable prices.

  • The 2020 Evoque starts at a relatively modest price around

  • $43,000, which is several thousand dollars higher than the

  • average transaction price of $37,000.

  • But it looks downright cheap compared to the top prices for

  • the main Range Rover model.

  • But buyers who want the flagship model that made the Range

  • Rover name what it is will pay at least $92,000 for the

  • 2021 model year. The price goes up from there and it can

  • really go up.

  • To be fair, plenty of other off-roaders are not exactly

  • cheap. The Land Cruiser also starts around $90,000 and

  • there are many, many other premium SUVs now on the market

  • from Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and even Lamborghini and Aston

  • Martin. But Land Rover is a name with a rugged outdoor

  • heritage. This is the classic British bush vehicle meant

  • for barreling across the African savannah, creeping through

  • jungles and rainforests, fording rivers and climbing over

  • rock formations. Vehicles like that are meant for taking a

  • beating, for enduring harsh conditions, for getting

  • scratches on their paint jobs.

  • Who can really afford to beat up a vehicle with a

  • six-figure price tag?

  • Range Rovers retain that original DNA of Land Rover, and

  • they they still can go anywhere, even if consumers don't

  • ever get to experience it.

  • If they did, they would be really impressed at what their

  • vehicle could do off road.

  • The contrast between the sheer capability of the Range Rover

  • and the way in which it is typically used has at times made

  • it the butt of a few jokes.

  • Like similar SUVs favored by well-heeled buyers who almost

  • never drive off pavement.

  • Range Rovers have been called names such as "mall crawlers"

  • and "soft-roaders."

  • Though it was always intended as an upmarket vehicle.

  • Range Rovers transformation from country going 4X4 to an

  • ever more luxurious coach has brought some criticism.

  • The engineer who designed the original Range Rover, Charles

  • Spencer King, said in 2004 that the Range Rover was never

  • intended as a status symbol.

  • I find the people who use it as such deeply unattractive, he

  • said. "Sadly, the 4X4 has become an alternative to a

  • Mercedes or BMW.

  • For the pompous, self-important driver."

  • Land Rovers are all about fantastic design and fantastic

  • capability. That's the recipe that works for us.

  • And that's what we found that's really built a loyal

  • clientele and people coming back time and time again.

  • And it appeals to an upper end buyer who may not take you

  • off road. But equally, if they choose to do so, it's

  • perfectly quick for them to do that.

  • Of course, now Mercedes and BMW are also selling luxury SUVs

  • that compete in similar sized segments.

  • If there's one other reservation a buyer might have about a

  • Range Rover. It's that the Land Rover brand name does not

  • have a sterling reputation for reliability.

  • For example, Land Rover ranks lowest on J.D.

  • Power's dependability survey.

  • Days gone by, there have certainly been quality issues with

  • our cars and we've worked to resolve those.

  • There's always a story, but big picture it's very important

  • to us and we'll continue to work exceptionally hard to keep

  • making our products better.

  • In 2020, the Range Rover has been overshadowed a bit by the

  • revival of The Defender, a product much of the automotive

  • world has been anticipating.

  • Defender, in its original form, represented the ultimate

  • civilian off-roading machine for countless admirers.

  • Land Rovers other product line is the Discovery.

  • On average, lower priced pair of sport utilities the

  • company markets as vehicles more intended as functional

  • off-roaders and family cars.

  • Still nice, but not quite at the same level of luxury as

  • the Range Rover. But the Range Rover sub-brand is Land

  • Rover's biggest product line.

  • Four out of Land Rovers, seven models bear the Range Rover

  • name, and together they comprised 70 percent of all Land

  • Rovers sold in the fiscal year ending in March 2020.

  • And the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, the two most

  • expensive models, make up 70 percent of sales in the Range

  • Rover lineup. In fact, the biggest, most expensive model is

  • the top seller, and it is unusual for a brand's Halo

  • vehicle to also be its most popular.

  • That makes Range Rover a crown jewel within a crown jewel.

  • When they added Sport and called it Range Rover Sport.

  • I know those of us in the industry kind of scratch our heads

  • and we're like, well, that's confusing.

  • Well, then they rounded out and kept adding more and more

  • models to it. Now they've got this sort of sub-brand that

  • is clearly identified.

  • And in some cases, you could say that the subm-brand is