Fleet News

NEW York International Auto Show: Land Rover targets US with new Discovery

LAND Rover launched a drive to turn North America into its biggest single market when the doors opened on the New York Auto Show.

The Midlands company's ambitious bid for a greater share of the world's most lucrative sales area for sport utility vehicles got under way when the Discovery 3 was unveiled.

Managing director Matthew Taylor said: 'Everything about this car is new and it is the boldest product we have ever launched. This is form following function and it spearheads a fresh generation of Land Rover models.'

To be called LR3 in the US, the Discovery is expected to trigger a record expansion in Land Rover business.

Taylor told Fleet News: 'By the end of next year, we believe it will allow our North American operations to overtake the 46,000 annual registrations we achieve in the UK.

'The competition may be tough, but this is a class-leading package that opens the way ahead for us because it is bold, modern and hi-tech. We are confident it will beat all its rivals hands down.'

Styled to have a smoother profile than its predecessor, the new car has a more sporty appearance, seats seven in comfort and will offer a choice of 4.0-litre V6 or 4.4-litre V8 engines when it goes on sale in the US later this year.

At next month's Motor Show Live at the NEC, the Discovery will feature the Ford-PSA Peugeot Citroen V6 2.7-litre turbodiesel motor that is expected to account for most sales in Europe.

'This car is premium transport inside and out, but it still has the qualities that have defined our brand for more than half a century,' said Taylor.

Design director Geoff Upex added: 'We wanted a vehicle with presence and pedigree, but we knew the answer before we asked the question because the design has changed little from the original drawings. We believe this shape will appear modern for many years to come.'

Like the Range Stormer concept model introduced at the Detroit Motor Show, the Defender is based on a new body structure claimed to provide superior off-road capabilities with refined on-road performance.

It is also the first production vehicle to feature Terrain response, Land Rover's new system to help drivers select the best suspension, traction control and engine and transmission mode for a variety of conditions.

Prices are yet to be fixed for the range, which will go on sale from October, but the more sophisticated electronics and improved specification are expected to make the cars about 10% more expensive.

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