Land­ing a $56m life­line

Gov­ern­ment funds back a baby Land Rover, writesMARKHINCHLIFFE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment could be fund­ing a land­mark new Land Rover. It has thrown an­other life­line to its trou­bled mo­tor in­dus­try and the $56.7 mil­lion cash grant is be­ing used to de­cide if there is a fu­ture for the off-road spe­cial­ist’s Range Rover LRX con­cept car.

The baby Land Rover is much more than just a smooth new com­pact, be­cause it’s in­tended to take the brand out of the bush and into the sub­urbs in the same way as the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of Jeeps.

The LRX con­cept has been dis­played at sev­eral ma­jor motoring events, in­clud­ing last year’s Mel­bourne Mo­tor Show, to test pub­lic ac­cep­tance for its de­sign and the idea of a soft-roader with a Land Rover badge.

Now the cash grant is be­ing used to see if the LRX has a pro­duc­tion fu­ture af­ter the com­pany was sold to TATA Motors of In­dia.

It will still cost more than $800 mil­lion to put the LRX on the road, but Land Rover Aus­tralia spokesman Guido Schenken says the early signs are pos­i­tive.

‘‘They are go­ing to in­ves­ti­gate the prod­uct to see if it’s vi­able, so they are still a long way down the track,’’ Schenken says.

Land Rover’s chief de­signer Ju­lian Thom­son ad­mit­ted in Mel­bourne last year that the ex­te­rior of the LRX con­cept car is close to a pro­duc­tion de­sign and Schenken says the LRX plan is mov­ing along.

The LRX is shorter and lower than a Free­lander, and is de­signed to take on com­pact crossovers such as the Audi Q5, Volvo XC60, BMWX3 and the forth­com­ing Mercedes GLK.

Schenken says Land Rover is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a diesel hy­brid as well as con­ven­tional en­gines for the new model.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.