Land Rover LRX

It’s more of a public secret by now but today Land Rover has officially come out to say that a small Land Rover based on the LRX concept will be built! After all, the UK government previously offered a grant of up to GBP 27 million to the automaker to produce an all- new vehicle based on the LRX Concept.

And apparently it’s going to be marketed under the Range Rover badge, since the press release constantly refers to it as a Range Rover instead of a Land Rover. This will mean the Range Rover series will have a third model – small, medium and large.

Land Rover LRX

The original Range Rover is the large model and a new “medium” model was previously added, a model based on the Discovery called the Range Rover Sport. The flagship has a wheelbase of 2,880mm while the smaller Disco-based sport has a wheelbase of 2,745mm. That would make the LRX quite compact indeed as even the new “small” BMW X1 has a wheelbase of 2,760mm, longer than the Sport’s.

The production LRX will be built at Land Rover’s plant in Halewood, and will be the smallest, lightest and most efficient vehicle the company has ever produced. The original LRX concept was a 2-door compact SUV powered by a hybrid powertrain that combined a 2.0 litre turbodiesel and an Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) which allows it to run on zero-emissions electric mode at speeds of up to 32km/h.

Land Rover LRX

“The new vehicle will be a natural extension to the Range Rover line-up, complementing the existing models and helping to define a new segment. It will be true to the concept and have many recognisable Range Rover design cues including the signature clamshell bonnet, the floating roof and the solid ‘wheel-at-each-corner’ stance,” said Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director.

However I wonder if the UK government’s 27 million pound offer still stands, because of a particular announcement that Tata made today. Their intention is to close either a Jaguar plant in Castle Bromwich, or a Land Rover plant in Solihull, both in central England.

Their intention is probably to centralise production of both marques at a single plant – either Solihull or Castle Bromwich. As it is, the Halewood plant I mentioned above was a Jaguar plant, and the first Land Rover that started production there was the Freelander 2. But Tata did say there would be no compulsory layoffs…