Ask most Land Rover owners about the work they’ve had done on their truck and you’re likely to be greeted with an eye roll, or perhaps even a laugh.
The number of ailments a Rover encounters in its lifetime is often too great to keep track of. Yet these chronic mechanical mishaps do not discourage the Rover faithful. Rather, the Rover’s temperamental nature seems to endear the vehicle to its owners. Fixing the vehicle is seen as both a challenge and a duty. The relationship is summed up well in a bumper sticker which reads, “I’d rather push my Landy than drive a Jeep!”
To an outsider, the Land Rover infatuation is puzzling. Trips to the dealership, maintenance costs, new parts and D-I-Y projects are not everyone’s idea of fun. This kind of upkeep is typically associated with $500 jalopies purchased from an old used car lot, not a $50,000 luxury SUV frequently seen at polo matches and country clubs. The fact that Land Rover remains a popular vehicle in the face of mechanical failures and exorbitant prices poses a conundrum.
How does the Land Rover maintain its popularity?
The answer lies in the vehicle’s broad appeal, a product of Land Rover’s rich culture.
The Land Rover was born out of a need for utility, serving both the British military and the local farmer, and its ability to go anywhere and do anything soon made it an irreplaceable tool for the working family. Fast forward and the Land Rover has evolved into a high-end luxury vehicle, driven in affluent communities as a display of status and wealth. Fortunately, Land Rover has stayed true to its heritage and worked diligently to insure each vehicle’s off-road capabilities are befitting of the Land Rover badge, even if most Rovers won’t ever leave the blacktop.
Despite its popularity as a fashion piece in elite circles, the Land Rover can still be found in the Saharan outback, the British army, and in countless other applications that test the vehicle’s fortitude. It is this perception of rugged authenticity that is integral to the brand and drives its mass appeal. Even if you’re driving your Land Rover to violin practice, someone, somewhere, is climbing a rock face on The Rubicon Trail in a Discovery II, and that’s cool.
Land Rover Love – Not Merely Conjecture…
A recent satisfaction survey, from “Which?” an independent consumer reviews organization from the UK, shed some light on the validity of Rover satisfaction. Which? polled 63,000 vehicle owners, and reported a 95.7 satisfaction rating for the 2011 Land Rover Discovery 4 (LR4), good for 3rd overall. In an earlier survey gauging vehicle reliability, Land Rover scored a dismal two out of five stars.
Philip Gomm a spokesman for the Royal Automobile Club Foundation had the following comment: “Land Rover is one of the world’s famous brands and it seems proud owners are prepared to overlook apparent shortcomings for the sake of buying British and owning such an iconic vehicle.”
…But they still break down
Understanding why people love their Rovers helps understand the patience required to manage the incessant (and expensive) maintenance needs. Those who purchase their Land Rovers new are granted mercy with a factory warranty which will cover all aches and pains for the first few years. As for the rest of us… our reasons for enduring Rover ownership will undoubtedly vary. Some love the challenge of keeping it running, others the way it dominates off-road obstacles like only a Land Rover can. There are those who have grown a sentimental attachment to their Rover, keeping their beat up truck in the corner of the garage until they can find the time to bring it back to life.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to put a finger on the exact reason why people love their Land Rovers as it defies all logic and reason. But “logical” and “reasonable” are not often used to characterize a Rover owner…just look at their bumper sticker.
Why do you Love your Land Rover? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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