Like many other economic indicators, the continued growth of sales at Land Rover suggests 2017 was a pretty good year. Land Rover’s US operations delivered a total of 74,739 vehicles during the past year, surpassing the previous record set in 2016 by 898 units.
As in past years, the Range Rover Sport accounted for the largest percentage of sales by model, with 19,153 units retailed. Not far behind was the full-size Range Rover with 16,869 sales. The Discovery Sport has recently been a strong performer as well, exceeding the Range Rover Sport in December and hanging with its bigger stablemate for most of the year.
Sales figures for the new Discovery have been largely absent from the monthly reports (we’re looking into this) but seem to be trailing significantly behind the rest of the range, except for the Evoque. Now in its eighth model year, it’s not clear whether buyers find its design aging or if the new Velar is simply eating into its market share. An update Evoque has been seen testing, though it would appear to be a mildly reworked version of the existing design. If the Velar is indeed cutting into the Evoque’s market space, it could be a setback for Land Rover’s growth plans, which depend upon continued growth of both model ranges.
Land Rover claims its diesel engine offerings – available in the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar and Discovery – accounted for approximately one in seven sales in the US overall. Diesel takeup may be stronger in 2018 as the Velar picks up momentum and as availability of the option expands to a larger range of Discovery models. However, the introduction of a gasoline plug-in hybrid option for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport mid-year may offset a deeper penetration in diesel sales.
Land Rover continues to prop up the JLR family, selling nearly two-to-one against the Jaguar division, which finished 2017 with 39,594 sales. Nevertheless, Jaguar is showing strong growth against its own history, finishing 27 percent stronger than its previous year’s sales versus Land Rover’s 1 percent increase, largely thanks to the addition of crossover/SUV models like the F-Pace, which shares architecture with the Range Rover Velar.
Barring any significant change in the world economy, we predict Land Rover’s US sales may top 75,000 units in 2018 in advance of the inevitable launch of an all-new Defender model during the year.