As Land Rover's vice president of marketing for North America, Sally Eastwood believes the automaker's flagship, the Range Rover, is insulated from the increase in gasoline prices. Eastwood was interviewed last month by Product Editor Rick Kranz at a Range Rover media event near Napa, Calif.
The 2006 Range Rover has two new engines and more horsepower. Will that be emphasized in the ads?
No. We will say in the advertising, "Introducing the 2006 Range Rover supercharged." We figure that we don't need to start shouting about things like the enhancements or the specific changes in the ads.
We know that a lot of our customers go to the Web for information, so when they go to the Web they will find all the details.
For us, the less-is-more approach is better. We can talk that there have been enhancements, and we're going to say, "It is the best Range Rover yet."
Is this ad strategy a reflection of what is happening with gasoline prices? Gasoline prices are escalating, so maybe this is not the best time to emphasize horsepower and performance.
We're still going to talk about them. We're not going to shy away because that particular consumer is a little more immune to gasoline price changes than maybe a lower or mid-level SUV buyer.
Once you have a customer who is in a car that is going to cost $75,000, $80,000, $90,000, we know that the break point for that in terms of how much would gasoline have to get to per gallon before you would change your mind about buying something is a lot higher than it is for a mid-range SUV buyer.
Once you go up that demographic spectrum and to the people who are driving things like Range Rover, you have to get to more than a $5 per gallon break point before people will really say, 'I need to be driving something else.'
What about the issue of political correctness?
The irony about that is that Range Rover has been accepted wherever you go. It is acceptable to drive a Range Rover even in the face of some of the more blatant SUVs because Range Rover is a little more understated. It has always been a vehicle that doesn't shout in any particular way. It has its own presence in a refined and an understated kind of way.
You may e-mail Rick Kranz at