Land Rover To Expand Brand

NEW YORK–In the wake of an announcement that Ford plans to cut up to 5,000 jobs in North America in an effort to save $300 million to $400 million annually, Land Rover chairman Bob Dover Wednesday revealed that the company will launch five new models as part of a $2 billion investment program over the next six years and specifically target North America with a branding and marketing campaign.

In its 53-year history, Land Rover has launched only seven new vehicles.

Land Rover, a division of Ford, currently is in the process of unveiling its 2002 Freelander, set to hit the U.S. in December. Upcoming launches include a new Range Rover scheduled for 2002 and a replacement for the Discovery in 2004.

“Land Rover has never been a major marquee in the U.S.-yet the country is a huge market for off-road and four-wheel drive vehicles,” Dover said. “The U.S. is our absolute number one priority market. In the future, every new Land Rover model will be engineered for the U.S. at the very beginning of its life.

“There’s little doubt that the USA should be our top market for 2002. It is already the top market for Discovery and Range Rover. It now becomes the top market for Land Rover, period.” said Dover.

Land Rover expects to sell 22,500 Freelanders in the U.S. in 2002. Last year about 30,000 Discoveries and Range Rovers were sold, according to the company. GSD&M, Austin, is the lead agency for Land Rover N.A. Media spending was $45.2 million in 2000 and nearly $20 million for the first five months of 2001, according to CMR.