Evidently, Land Rover’s sales performance is keeping pace with its off-road performance down in the land of the Outback. Of all brands, it’s Land Rover who’s defying the odds.
Land Rover sales are up almost 20 percent over last year in Australia, largely on the back of the return of the Defender crew cab and wagon, which aren’t available in the U.S. (Note to LRNA: maybe now they should be?!)
Land Rover Australia product manager, Brett Lewis-Driver, says the Defender’s success comes from a loyal customer base.
“There are a lot of repeat buyers but also a little bit of conquest from other brands there,” he says.
The company expects to tally up the year with about 4500 sales, which would be about 1000 more than it sold in 2007. Still, going into 2009, Lewis-Driver is more cautious.
“Because of the downturn in the overall market we are not alone in thinking things will be a bit quieter,” he says.
He sees the next 12 months as a time of consolidation.
But to help entice showroom traffic Land Rover has just launched a refreshed Discovery, Range Rover Sport and uber-Range Rover Vogue, each with more equipment and mild facelifts. And when we say mild, we mean mild. In fact, there has been some blog-blather that they shouldn’t have spent what little money they did on bothering to make the changes, as they are so minor all but the most sharp-eyed enthusiast would likely miss them entirely.
Changes like cleaner looking body-colored front and rear bumpers, tungsten colored side vents and rear clear-lens indicators on the Discovery, as well as some interior trim changes. Still, nothing you couldn’t do yourself with some aftermarket facelifts.
The Range Rover Sport also gets some mild exterior tweaks, new alloys and three new exterior colors, but you really have to go to the top-of-the-line Range Rover Vogue Autobiography to see any real new wow.
We’re talking masses of leather - dashboard, doors, seats, center console…even leather-bound floor mats.
Acoustic glass that reduces cabin noise, coated with sun-reflective materials that reduce heat build-up.
20-inch diamond-turned twin-seven-spoke alloys. Very nice.
Of course, in Australia you can order either the TDV8 or Supercharged gas models, each with their signature Autobiography diamond mesh grille and side vents, black and silver badging and stainless steel detailing on the pedals.
Range Rover Vogue prices start at $153,400 for the TDV8, with the Supercharged Autobiography costing $212,700. If that’s too rich for you, then there’s always the club cab Defender.
We don’t think Mr. Lewis-Driver will care one way or the other, so long as it’s a Land Rover.
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