Land Rover Expects a Profitable 2007

By: Correy Putton


Land Rover, the luxury unit of the Ford Motor Company, expects that the sales increase streak that started in 2005 will continue this year. According to Phil Popham, global MD Land Rover, "Everything is set up very nicely for a positive 2007."

Last year, Land Rover sales were up by 4 percent to 192,500 vehicles. Said increase was the best sales performance in the automaker's history. However, Land Rover expects a more profitable year this 2007. Popham noted that the British brand for luxury sport utility vehicles ran out of some products last year. Hence, this year it could do even better.

Land Rover's sales in the United States, one of its biggest markets so far, increased by 3.8 percent last year. Sales performance was enhanced by the acceptance the market has conferred to all-new Range Rover Sport SUV. Said vehicle has contributed a record setting 80 percent boost. Moreover, Popham expects U.S. sales to grow again this year.

It can be recalled that Ford has purchased the Land Rover brand in 2000 from BMW, a German automaker. Ford said it will continue to carry out strategic studies about its entire luxury brands. This is anchored on its aim to cope from the overwhelming 7 billion overall losses in the first nine months of 2006.

Lately, Land Rover has been lagging in quality. In fact, it was placed last in the 2006 Initial Quality Survey conducted by J.D. Power's. The survey accumulated 204 problems per 100 vehicles. However, the automaker is determined to enhance its reputation. Popham said that the management, union and workers are focused on improving the quality of Land Rover vehicles. He added, "The internal metrics measuring quality are moving in the right direction. We see it (improvement) a lot earlier than the surveys."

Furthermore, to circumvent the previous shortcomings, the automaker is now concentrating on upgrades. In fact, the latest Range Rover is equipped with a bunch of innovative auto technologies to match its outstanding style and performance.

All-new Range Rover is given the all-new TDV8 diesel engine. Said engine increases maximum power by more than 50 percent which amounts to a total of 272 bhp. This is in comparison with the outgoing straight-six diesel's 177. The new engine is mated to the six-speed ZF intelligent shift automatic transmission that is present in gasoline-powered Range Rovers. The latest Range Rover is also equipped with Terrain Response drive control system, electronic park brake and electronic rear differential. It is also given extra storage to accommodate additional load.

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