Land Rover's ambition of building an ultra-luxury Range Rover to take on the likes of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayga has been canned.
“We have taken the difficult decision to inform our customers that the Range Rover SV Coupé will not proceed into production. Instead, Land Rover is focusing its resources and investment on the next generation of world-class products," Land Rover said in a statement issued yesterday.
Shown at last year's Geneva Motor Show, the SV Coupé was going to be a special model built by Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations. Almost all of the panels were unique to the model. The interior was quite plush with seating for up to four and special leather upholstery. A supercharged 5.0L V8 punches out 557 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Land Rover was planning on building 999 models costing a cool $295,995 (includes a $995 destination charge).
A Land Rover spokesperson said the cancellation isn't due to the lack of demand, though the person wouldn't say how many were sold. Top Gear speculates it may come down to JLR's plan to cut 2.5 billion pounds by 2020.
Source: Land Rover, Top Gear
This past year hasn't been good for Jaguar Land Rover. A triple whammy of sales dropping in China, demand for diesel vehicles falling, and the looming threat of Brexit has seen the company report a 90 million pound (about $113,550,300) loss in the third-quarter. S&P Global Ratings recently cut their long-term rating into JLR's parent company, Tata Motors into Junk Status.
Because of this, Jaguar Land Rover will be detailing a three-year cost-cutting plan next month. Tata announced the plan back in October that would save 2.5 billion pounds (about $3.2 billion) within the first 18 months. There would be job cuts, but Tata did not say how many. The Financial Times reported this week that JLR is planning to cut 5,000 of its 40,000 workforce in the U.K.- this according to sources.
“It’s do or die at the moment,” Robin Zhu, an analyst from Bernstein said.
“JLR has been seriously mismanaged in recent years, with cost runaways, products disappointing in the market, and hedging issues costing it billions."
“Jaguar Land Rover notes media speculation about the potential impact of its ongoing charge and accelerate transformation programmes. As announced when we published our second-quarter results, these programmes aim to deliver £2.5bn of cost, cash and profit improvements over the next two years. Jaguar Land Rover does not comment on rumours concerning any part of these plans,” JLR said in a statement to The Guardian.
Other parts of the plan are said to include a reduction in models and selling off various assets. But Evercore ISI, an investment advisory frim said JLR needs to do more than cut costs.
"The company needs to consider whether it’s spreading itself too wide and whether competing with the Germans in the tough premium sedan segment is a viable strategy," it wrote in a note to investors this week.
Source: Financial Times (Subscription Required) via The Guardian, Automotive News (Subscription Required)