While much of the recent press has been somewhat negative towards the JLR group, the Range Rover product still remains as some of the most desirable luxury SUVs in the automotive industry. Why has there been so much pressure on JLR? There are clearly more complex matters which have led to some significant issues within the company.
However, more simply there are 3 basic factors which are affecting Land Rover in particular: 1) the knee-jerk approach to diesel vehicles; 2) increasing competition; and 3) reliability issues.
One of the biggest influencers in the UK automotive market has been the fall-out from “dieselgate”. As a result of certain manufacturers providing misleading information in relation to CO2 and MPG, the testing standards for cars (and vans) has now changed.
In a recent blog we discussed the changes from the NEDEC testing standards to the more interrogative WLTP standards.
Notwithstanding the testing issues, there has been a considerable shift in the consumer attitudes towards diesel vehicles. Much of the growth in diesel vehicles came about because these engines were seen as a cleaner and more economical solution to the UK’s automotive fleet (particularly for company car users). While this is still very much the case, what happened was that customers were purchasing or leasing a diesel vehicle when it was not in their best interests. By this we mean that a diesel vehicle operates slightly differently to a petrol vehicle in that it uses a diesel particulate filter (DPF). This is a device which removes harmful emissions and soot from the engine. While this provides a “cleaner” experience, the issue with a DPF is that it only operate effectively when it is warm enough. The driver must therefore cover longer distances and higher speeds for the DPF to clear. Failure to do so leads to blockages.
For stop/start city and low-mileage drivers this is not an ideal driving style. As such, some drivers ended up experiencing problems with their diesel vehicles.
The continued bad-press towards diesel vehicles has unfortunately led to other manufacturers suffering unnecessarily. For example, bigger SUVs and 4x4s operate more effectively in the diesel format, such as the Range Rover Sport and the Vogue (full-size RR). The sudden, yet seismic, shift truly curbed the demand for the product.
The result has been the Range Rover, as an SUV-only product, has experienced lesser demand.
Are JLR going to bounce back? Of course we hope that the manufacturer is able to turn around their latest fortunes. As a UK-based manufacturer, they provide an incredible benefit to the UK economy. In fairness, they are not resting on their laurels. Already we have seen the introduction of petrol hybrid electric vehicles in the form of the P400e RR Sport and Vogue. Jaguar now have one of the leading electric vehicles of 2019 in the form of the I-Pace.
For company car drivers, low-mileage users and anyone affected by congestion charges, there are now genuine alternatives. The shift towards alternative fuels will certainly reignite consumer interests.
In terms of the car shown here, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel Estate 3.0 SDV6 HSE 5 Door Auto, this is based on the following:
· Fuji White Solid Paint
· Perforated Windsor Leather – Ebony
· Colourway – Ebony / Ebony
· Morzine Cirrus Headlining
· Micro Aluminium Trim
· Contrast Roof – Narvik Black
· Privacy Glass (to Rear of B Post)
· Sliding Panoramic Roof with Sunblind
· Space Saver Spare Wheel
· Fixed Side Steps
· 20″ 5 Split-Spoke Style 5020 with Gloss Black – Dealer Fitted
As standard the car includes acoustic front windows, heated windscreen with heated washer jets, CBC, DSC, emergency braking, gradient acceleration control, hill descent control, hill launch assist, low traction launch, trailer stability assist, Bluetooth, InControl secure, remote premium (remote climate control and lock), powered gesture tailgate, push button start, all terrain info centre, wi-fi hotspot, navigation pro with a 10” touchscreen, auto dimming interior mirror, DAB radio, InControl protect, body coloured externals, automatic headlights, follow me home lighting, fog lights, climate control, headlight power wash, multifunction steering wheel, immobiliser, intrusion sensor, keyless entry, perimeter ant-theft alarm, ambient interior lighting, Windsor leather upholstery, front/rear parking aid, rear view camera, front and rear carpet mats, meridian 380W sound system, matrix LED headlights, power fold/heated door mirrors , 20” alloys, heated front and rear seats. In terms of upgrading your RR sport consider adding – privacy glass, grand black veneer finisher, Meridian 825W sound system and the fixed or sliding panoramic sunroof. If your budget allows go for the HSE Dynamic or Autobiography Dynamic for the full luxury lease experience.
On the technical-side company car and business users can note the P11d at £66,645 and CO2 at 198g/km. The 2993CC 8 speed auto diesel engine delivers 37.7 combined MPG (NEDC), 29.0 combined MPG (WLTP), 306ps and 0-62 times of 6.8 seconds. Service intervals on a diesel Range Rover Sport are every 12 months or 16,000 miles.
The increasing level of competition, as mentioned above, is not something which is going to go away however. For the last 10-15 years the Land Rover/Range Rover brand has been the pinnacle SUV product.
In particular, the introduction for the Range Rover Evoque created a global brand which managed to fit most budgets and markets. Unsurprisingly other manufacturers have awoken to the demand for crossover and SUV product. In the prestige-world you have the Mercedes GLA/GLC/GLE, the BMW X1/X2/X3/X4/X5/X6/X7 and the Audi Q2/Q3/Q5/Q7/Q8. Add to this the Jaguar E-Pace/F-Pace and you have a busy melting pot! For most consumers, brand-loyalty no longer exists; people want choice and options.
Rather than spend years and years in the same car, modern attitudes now shift towards trying other vehicles.
The contract hire market, with 2 and 3 year contracts, supports this change and choice mentality. The historic Range Rover customer will now often equally consider a Mercedes or Audi.
A further issue for JLR group has been the notion of reliability. While all cars have the ability to go wrong (these are complicated machines after all) popular conjecture suggests that many Land Rovers/Range Rovers present too many technical issues. As with anything, bad news will soon travel quicker than any good news. For any customer with a new vehicle, the first 3 years are covered by the manufacturer warranty; so as long as the customer is managing the servicing intervals correctly, the issues are not something they need to pay for personally.
For those leasing customers with a funder-maintained contract, the inclusion of all servicing, maintenance and tyres provides additional comfort that if something arises, this will be covered.
Can I just return the car if it doesn’t work? This is a difficult question and is one we face with our customers. For individuals, this is slightly complicated by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which says that there is now a 30-day return period for faulty goods. If a product is not correct, the individual can return the vehicle and receive a full refund within 14 days. Added to that is a right to one-repair within the first 6 month period following the purchase. Also, if an item cannot be expected to last up to 6 years, there is a right to repair or replace the product. Where issues arise, we work with customers to get the best outcome (along with the manufacturer and finance company). By having the a new-car warranty and including the funder-maintenance package, these risk can be adequately managed by the customer.
Hopefully the newer product coming out of JLR will help build a more reliable reputation.
Find the webs best lease deals on the fabulous Range Rover Sport @CarLease UK – or – check out more SUV and 4×4 reviews below…