ORLANDO -- A new, smaller SUV for Land Rover will go on sale late in the third quarter of 2011, Land Rover announced to dealers at the U.S. National Automobile Dealers Association Convention earlier this month.
The SUV, based on the LRX concept, debuts at the Paris auto show this autumn and will be seen first in the United States in December at the Los Angeles auto show, said Michael Levitan, chairman of the Land Rover Business Operations Council and COO of Long Island Automotive Group in New York.
Dealers lack specifications and prices for the new SUV, he said. "It is hard to say what customers it will appeal to because we don't have the pricing," Levitan said. "Any new product will drive people into the Land Rover centers."
Dan Muggli, general manager of Land Rover Portland in Portland, Ore., said dealers are anticipating the Range Rover-branded LRX because it will broaden the appeal of the lineup. "It will be the most efficient vehicle we have ever offered," Muggli said.
Land Rover executives also said the brand plans to spend 35 percent more on marketing this year compared with 2009. New TV commercials shown at the make meeting will air later in the first quarter and focus on Range Rover SUVs, said Chris Marchand, executive vice president of marketing and sales at Land Rover North America.
Land Rover is also plunging back into sponsorships and more grass-roots marketing. Marchand said Land Rover became a sponsor of the United States Equestrian Federation this year.
The brand is also involved with Intrawest resorts, which owns ski resorts across the country, and will sponsor ride-and-drives at key locations such as Stratton Mountain ski resort in Vermont, Marchand said. Land Rover wants 15,000 potential customers to take test drives this year, he said.
Dealers also were told that Land Rover is considering an improved warranty for certified used cars that would be similar to one offered by its sibling car division, Jaguar.
Land Rover offers a 12-month/ 12,000-mile program on used cars, while Jaguar offers 2 years/25,000 miles. Marchand said Land Rover will introduce its beefed-up warranty this year.