Despite the debuts of previously unimaginable vehicles like a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley SUV, there are still some SUVs that are a bridge too far. The Range Rover SV Coupe, otherwise known as a two-door Range Rover, has been canceled amid belt-tightening at Jaguar Land Rover.
The model debuted to a warm reception in Geneva last year, sporting a $295,000 price tag amid plans for the marque’s Special Vehicle Operations to hand-build some 999 examples. Land Rover had no problem finding buyers, at least initially, but has now informed them that they have canceled the model.
What’s to blame for this development?
Jaguar Land Rover has just shed 4,500 jobs as part of a plan to reduce costs and is dealing with a number of ongoing issues on the Jaguar side of the company, most of which amount to the fact that people are buying far fewer sedans than they used to. Even with a price tag of $295,000, or about double the price of a long-wheelbase Autobiography model, the profit margins simply may not have been there to justify the expense of having SVO build 999 examples.
Just as Land Rover is planning to introduce an even more luxurious Range Rover flagship, the Belgian coachbuilder and armorer Carat Duchatelet already has one waiting in the wings. The company famous …
We know what you’re thinking: Why not simply make it a regular production variant and offer it alongside the four-door model? At this point, we fear, the volume may not be there to justify adding that many unique parts to the assembly line. The shorter wheelbase and all sheetmetal behind the A-pillar are all unique to this model — it’s more than just a Rangie with two fewer doors. Land Rover, in effect, faced the prospect of building a small number by hand, or not building it at all, at a time when the company is focused on launching the next Defender and the next Jaguar XJ.
We have a feeling now that Land Rover has proven that there is demand for such a thing, coachbuilders and armorers will pick up the model and offer their own similar versions for about the same price, perhaps without stretching the wheelbase. It’s tricky — it’s not just a matter of welding the rear doors shut: Land Rover created a whole new rakish body for this design exercise, so coachbuilders will have to tread a fine line between making the model affordable while keeping as much of the donor body as possible. Firms like Carat Duchatelet have already built all sorts of one-off variants of the Range Rover, including ones with stretched wheelbases, suicide doors, stretched front and rear doors and mobile office interiors, so if the demand is there, the ability to create something similar is certainly there as well.
In the next redesign of the Range Rover, perhaps the automaker will find a way to make a two-door model easier to put into production alongside the four-door model. At the current pace, by the time the Rangie sees the next redesign, just about every vehicle on the market will be some kind of truck or SUV.