According to news reports Jaguar Land Rover is awaiting a response from the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) regarding a request to develop a potential Chinese joint venture, so says Jaguar Land Rover President Bob Grace. It is said the company JLR has chosen is very likely to be Chery.
Reportedly both JLR and its partner have submitted requests to the NDRC and a response is expected by April 2012. Some in the industry doubt that the proposal may gain official approval, as JLR's key products are large-engine-sized vehicles, which go against the Chinese trend for smaller and more fuel efficient cars. That said, Land Rover's Chinese sales this year have exceeded 33,600 units, 60 per cent higher than last year.
Elsewhere it is being reported that Land Rover is planning a bigger Range Rover Evoque, fuelled in part by the success of the smaller car and the boom currently being enjoyed by the brand. It is believed that growing sales of the BMW X and Audi Q models are also encouraging Land Rover to broaden its Range Rover sub-brand by developing a model to sit between the recently launched Evoque and the Range Rover Sport.
This is a gap that is expected to widen as both the Range Rover Sport and the flagship Range Rover shift further upmarket with their upcoming renewal. The most expensive Evoque costs £45,000 and the least expensive Range Rover Sport £55,000. Land Rover is thought to be considering a price range of £35,000 to £55,000 for a so-called Grand Evoque. The vehicle itself is likely to be based on the same platform as the existing Evoque, which was developed from the Ford EU-CD platform that also provides the foundation of the Freelander. The powertrain line-up would most likely come from the new range of four-cylinder engines that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to develop for production at its new site in Wolverhampton possibly a 1.8-litre turbo petrol unit.