Too many blokes with an Evoque
The 'baby' Range Rover has been out a long enough time for us to see them on the roads on a daily basis. However not even Range Rover themselves could have predicted the huge demand for their new model before it was released.
It was a given that a stylish SUV with the infamous RR badge on it would walk out of the showroom, but the factories can't keep up with the number of people who want one and the waiting list keeps growing, which makes one wonder how JLR plans to manage this. Obviously from a financial point of view its a perfect situation to be in, but what about the brand? Will 'proper' Rangie owners feel betrayed and disloyal? The £65K+ that they handed over for their magnificent beast with its lovely interior, build quality and heritage could buy them two Evoques instead of their single Vogue. I'm not saying they're the same vehicle by any means, but does the successful executive really want to be associated with a hair-gelled salesman who got a half-decent bonus at the end of the year so thought he'd buy a Range Rover, but could only afford an Evoque?
I know it's far from cheap. The 'Dynamic' model with some pretty essential options is over 40 grand. But it has still allowed the potential for hundreds of thousands of people to be able to get their hands on the brand, when they wouldn't have been able to previously.
When the Range Rover Sport was introduced several years ago there was a question mark over the brand image then, and sure enough they too waltzed out of every Land Rover dealership. The difference is though, the price, because although the Sport base price was around £40K, it was more like 50 or 60 with an engine that actually propelled the car forward, vital options (sat nav, phone, nice leather etc.) and proper wheels. This solved the problem of the brand being seen as 'cheap' quite easily.
As the Evoque is cheaper than the Sport and more importantly, still looks good in basic spec, there is real danger that there will be too many on the road soon. By flooding the market and becoming near enough a mass market product, I wouldn't be surprised if sales of the new 'proper' Rangie aren't as high as expected when it's released. Having said that, I will most certainly be proved entirely wrong thanks to millions of Chinese businessmen having money to burn and ordering Range Rovers like there's no tomorrow. And it's understandable that Jaguar Land Rover is revelling in its profits at the moment; a rare situation to be in for them.
We will see.