Land Rover Chief Design Officer Gerry McGovern has played a key role in the brand's current success. Since taking the job in 2006, he has created "white space" models to close key gaps in the SUV specialist's lineup. One example is the Range Rover Evoque, which became Land Rover's best-selling model soon after its 2011 debut. Another is the new Range Rover Velar. McGovern, 60, explained why Land Rover sees opportunities to expand the brand's portfolio during an interview with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nick Gibbs.
Q: How does the new Velar fit into the Range Rover lineup?
A: One aspect is its scale. For some people the Range Rover Evoque is a bit too compact and the Range Rover Sport is a bit too big. But the Velar is also a Range Rover with a different twist — a more road-orientated emphasis. It's offering people more choice in an SUV market that's growing disproportionately.
How important is price and size in differentiating your models?
If you're in a Range Rover Sport you're sitting higher in price. You're lower in the Range Rover Velar, you're a bit more compact and it's less overt. A brand like ours has this ability to stretch.
Could you create a vehicle to go up against the Bentley Bentayga?
Would you want to?
Why not? What we have is the pedigree and authenticity in that sector. That's what we're renowned for. We've got the unquestionable pedigree, so why wouldn't we do it?
What will the autonomous car of the future look like?
There's a lot of talk that in 25 years kids won't have a desire to drive a car, that people won't own cars anymore. But nobody is talking much about the fact that people have a visceral desire to own vehicles that they enjoy and that resonate on an emotional level. For me the thing that delivers that is the design. Design is the glue. So for me these things can only come to life through a brand's essence, otherwise they're just commodities.