“As Europe’s only dedicated 4x4 manufacturer, Land Rover’s focus will remain on improving engine efficiency and fuel consumption not only to reduce carbon emissions but also road tax,” he said.
“Regarding Land Rover producing a smaller, greener alternative – given the growth of the crossover product for most vehicle manufacturers – it is most likely that Land Rover will expand its offering into the crossover segment and produce smaller, more environmentally-friendly crossover vehicles rather than hardcore 4x4 vehicles.”
Land Rover is already focusing on becoming more environmentally friendly, according to Phil Popham, global managing director.
“People expect manufacturers to take the lead on green issues,” Popham said. “Our carbon offset scheme was introduced last year and we’re seeing the fruits of that investment around the globe.
“Also, we replaced the V8 petrol in the Range Rover to a V8 diesel, giving a 30% increase in fuel efficiency.
“And this year the Range Rover is selling incredibly well. We’re 10% up in sales.”
Despite uncertainty over its future ownership, Land Rover is enjoying record sales thanks to the new Freelander 2 and Defender.
Popham said the increase in sales had been ongoing over the past five years, driven largely by conquest business.
“That was all part of why we started our corporate identity (CI) update,” he said. “The time was right to contemporise our selling environment.
“The update will be ongoing until the end of 2008.”
Meanwhile, Popham is broadly happy with the 130-strong dealer network.
“We’re mostly where we need to be geographically, but there may be some relocations,” he added.