Sunday, September 18, 2011

Interview with LINDSAY DUFFIELD: JLR's Canadian President

With over $1.5 billion per year investment in more than 40 new product development projects, Jaguar Land Rover is poised to be a driving force in the premium automotive segment. And in this, my first year as president of the company's Canadian branch, I'm happy to be in a position to tell you about it.

Our current product lineup for Jaguar and Land Rover is the best in decades, if not the strongest ever. With the new models, variants and powertrains in the pipeline (starting with our brand-new Range Rover Evoque), Jaguar Land Rover Canada should triple its sales volume later in the decade by providing more exclusive and intriguing options to discerning Canadian luxury customers who are bored by the status quo.

The Range Rover Evoque (shown here) will be available in mid-October, starting at $46,995 for the five-door model and $52,595 for the coupe. We're just finishing up a cross-Canada tour of every Land Rover retailer where we are introducing this groundbreaking compact premium SUV to Canadians from coast to coast. The response has been amazing! Anyone who has driven the vehicle has fallen in love with it, including some of Canada's toughest and most discerning automotive journalists. More than 80 per cent of our worldwide orders are customers migrating from other makes.

Utilizing such weight-saving technologies as an aluminum roof and hood, Boron steel, plastic fenders and tailgate, aluminum suspension architecture and magnesium cross-car beams, the Range Rover Evoque is the smallest, lightest and most efficient vehicle Land Rover has ever produced.

Light, yet feisty - the new turbocharged 2.0litre Si4 engine with direct fuel injection and twin variable valve timing generates 240 horsepower. Feisty, yet efficient - this engine delivers a 20-per-cent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to larger capacity engines of the same power. The stunning new Range Rover Evoque will revolutionize the way people see our brand. It has presence and makes a statement, whether on the way to the opera house or soccer pitch.

On to our full size Range Rover - its sumptuous interiors, class-leading V8 engines, multitalented six-speed transmission, and Terrain Response positions Range Rover at the pinnacle of the SUV segment. For model year 2012, there's more - for the customer that wants only the best: Less than a dozen new Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Editions will be imported into Canada starting near the end of the year. With an MSRP of $189,000, this ultra-luxurious Range Rover will feature first-class levels of luxury for both driver and passengers, rear cabin Apple iPads as standard, handcrafted finest soft-feel leathers, machined aluminum detailing and super-yacht-inspired teak load space floor.

The Range Rover Sport is Land Rover's "sports tourer" model. Its contemporary style and luxury, naturally-aspirated or supercharged power and Land Rover breadth of capability, make it as comfortable off-road as it is on road. With some nice updates inside and out, including a new power tailgate, the 2012 Range Rover Sport should continue to dominate its segment, delivering power, value and comfort in a size that's perfect for many customers.

The Land Rover LR4 offers unmatched flexibility and versatility as a true seven-seater. It can carry large loads in its expansive interior, climb mountains, cruise across continents, haul trailers or host a picnic at the polo match. I can't think of a more premium, yet versatile vehicle with an MSRP starting below $60,000.

The entry-level Land Rover LR2 model, with its frugal six-cylinder power plant, provides tremendous value in the premium compact SUV class, while demonstrating the refined on-road performance and off-road aptitudes for which the Land Rover brand is known.

Moving on to our fast and beautiful Jaguar product line, let's first speak to the Jaguar XJ flagship sedan. Revolutionary, not evolutionary, the XJ is truly a product of the 21st century and the clearest indication of the singular sense of purpose behind design director Ian Callum's vision for the future of Jaguar. The standard full-length panoramic glass roof that floods the cabin with natural light allows the XJ to offer an unrivalled sense of spaciousness and occasion for driver and passengers and, at the same time, retain the sleek coupe-like profile and lithe stance for which Jaguar cars are famous.

A sedan with the soul of a Jaguar sports car, the Jaguar XF has won accolades and enthusiastic fans across the globe for its dynamic abilities and dramatic appearance. Advances in LED lighting technology have allowed the new 2012 Jaguar XF model range to adopt the Jaguar design language introduced on the flagship Jaguar XJ sedan. With many standard features that are optional in other makes and a new starting price of less than $60,000, the 2012 XF will attract a new audience looking for value, luxury and performance in a "not me too" package.

Jaguar sports cars have a reputation for blending athletic high performance with effortless cruising comfort. Nothing exemplifies this dual character more clearly than the 5.0-litre AJ-V8 engine in the XK.

And the new Jaguar XKR-S - the fastest, most powerful series production car we have ever built - is the ultimate expression of Jaguar's GT duality: intelligent performance with everyday drivability; the 550-horsepower XKR-S achieves 300 km/h and zeroto-60 mph in 4.2 seconds. (Check out the French Racing Blue colour - my favourite!)

All 2012 Jaguar models come with a four-year, 50,000-km "best in class" warranty - no-charge maintenance, including wearand-tear items like brakes. Even the warranty is high-performance!

We have much to be excited about at Jaguar Land Rover. I am thrilled to represent two iconic brands with their wonderfully rich heritage, incredibly powerful consumer appeal and exciting future.

The next five years will see the company on an aggressive product offensive: new Jaguar and Land Rover models, derivatives, diesels, hybrids, electrification, etc.; smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient offerings - all designed to significantly grow our volumes globally by meeting more customer needs.

Visit your local Jaguar Land Rover retailers now to see what you've been missing all these years!

Source: The Gazette

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