Land Rover Gauged Interest in Potential Drop-Top at Geneva Motor Show
Online PR News – 20-March-2012 – – BEDFORD, N.H. – Land Rover traditionalists may scoff at the idea of a drop-top from the luxury-SUV maker, but the same could have been said about the Range Rover Evoque when it was first revealed. The smaller, sleeker Evoque has since won more than 90 international awards and become a sales hit after rolling into Land Rover dealerships last October. Now, Land Rover has chopped the Evoque’s top off to put the feelers out on a convertible model, which would become the first premium SUV drop-top on the market if mass-produced.
The Range Rover Evoque Convertible Concept made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month to gauge interest, especially from niche markets, for a potential production model. Sporting a fully retractable roof and a drop-down tailgate, the Evoque Convertible Concept aims to combine the capability and versatility of its covered siblings with the freedom and style afforded by a drop-top.
“Land Rover expanded into more luxurious and urban territory with the Evoque, and a convertible option develops that idea further,” said Michael Koltz, general manager of New Hampshire Range Rover dealership Land Rover Bedford. “About 80 percent of Evoque buyers are new to the brand. A convertible would likely also bring a lot of newcomers, but it would still have the ability to satisfy existing Range Rover fans by offering the same muscle and amenities of the fixed-roof Evoque.”
The 2012 Range Rover Evoque hardtop is powered by a 2.0-liter Si4 engine, which propels the small SUV with 240 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. Thanks to advances in engine technology, the efficient Si4 emits up to 20 percent less CO2 while still netting drivers up to 28 mpg on the highway. Four-wheel drive is standard, a boon for those in typically snowy climates like New Hampshire. While the current Evoque’s standard fixed panoramic roof lets passengers experience the outdoors in more detail, a soft-top convertible version would allow drivers to fully embrace the elements on sunny days.
Remaining popular with buyers in February, the Range Rover Evoque sold 715 units in the United States last month. Its popularity helped Land Rover post a 27-percent total increase compared with February 2011. To keep up with the ongoing demand for the Evoque, Land Rover recently announced that it will be adding 1,000 jobs to the Halewood, UK manufacturing plant where the compact SUV is produced.
While the Evoque continues to add momentum to Land Rover’s sales, the automaker’s volume leader in February was the 2012 Range Rover Sport. The SUV moved 1,091 units off of U.S. dealership lots last month, an 11-percent increase over February 2011. Larger than the Evoque, the V8-powered Range Rover Sport offers even more off-roading capability while still being lighter and smaller than the original Range Rover. New Hampshire Range Rover Sport drivers can wade through water up to 39.4 inches high, for example, while still enjoying features like a standard electric sunroof, a premium leather gear knob and push-button start.
“The entire Range Rover line still delivers a luxurious driving experience without sacrificing the capability expected from an off-road utility vehicle,” added Koltz. “Some automakers are notorious for stripping down their off-roaders to the bare necessities, and many luxury vehicles can’t handle rocky or muddy terrain. Even as their style evolves, Range Rovers can still do it all.”
About Land Rover Bedford:
Land Rover Bedford has been serving its Granite State customers for over a decade, providing new and used Land Rover and Range Rover sales, service and parts at its New Hampshire Land Rover dealership. With a strong emphasis on customer service, Land Rover Bedford’s knowledgeable sales staff can address detailed questions about Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles to help local drivers find the best vehicle for their adventures. Visit them online at www.landrovernh.com or in person at their dealership at 404 South River Road in Bedford. They can also be reached at 603-623-8500 or found on Facebook.