Land Rover Freelander successor may be renamed

The Freelander's successor will be bigger than the current model, shown.
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LONDON -- Land Rover may rebadge its Freelander medium SUV as a Discovery when the model's successor goes on sale in 2015.

Such a move would create a Discovery sub-brand for Land Rover, with the new vehicle slotting in below the current Discovery large SUV.

The Freelander's successor will be bigger than the current model and will also have a seven-seat variant, so it's likely that it will get a new name, a person familiar with the plan told Automotive News Europe.

Land Rover already has a similar naming strategy for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The Freelander is sold as the LR2 in the United States and the Discovery is badged as the LR4.

Bernstein Research analyst Max Warburton said renaming the Freelander would be simpler for potential customers.

Currently the Freelander and Discovery are grouped together under 'leisure' in Land Rover's "three pillars" design strategy. Range Rover badged cars come under 'luxury' while the Defender is 'dual purpose.'

Land Rover wouldn't comment on its plans for the new Freelander.

The Freelander replacement will be built on a version of the current Freelander's steel platform and production will remain at JLR's Halewood plant in Liverpool, England.

According to Bernstein, the Freelander is the only model in the Land Rover range that isn't profitable once research and development expenditure and other fixed costs have been factored

Land Rover wouldn't comment on its plans for the new Freelander.

You can reach Nick Gibbs at ngibbs@crain.com.


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