News/ Industry/ Land Rover stepping into EVs with ‘Freelander’ made in China.

Land Rover stepping into EVs with ‘Freelander’ made in China.

Land Rover is bringing its iconic Freelander nameplate back to life, but apparently not just for a single model. The plan is to build a whole new range of electric vehicles under the Freelander brand name. Freelander will be still a sub-brand of JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) and will exclusively make EVs.

Why China?

Although Jaguar Land Rover is a Tata-owned Indian brand, the manufacturer has a 12-year-long booming relationship with the Chinese automaker Chery (known as CJLR). The Changshu-based giant is helping Land Rover build the current Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque while helping Jaguar build the E-Pace, XF and XE long wheelbase. Chery is also known for its premium vehicles under the Exeed subsidiary, which has started expanding outside China. Moreover, the higher cost of manufacturing has made automakers utilise platform-sharing in full swing, sometimes even more than that. The upcoming Freelander’s first EV is most likely to be mechanically identical to Exeed’s offerings based on Chery developed platform, teamwork for the win.

Jaguar Land Rover is not the first of its kind to partner with Chinese manufacturers, and this phenomenon is largely due to technological advancements in electric vehicles. The Chinese market is also the world's fastest-growing automotive market and largest EV market. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, we have been seeing luxury manufacturers launching exclusive models specially tailored for the Chinese market. That said,  Yin Tongyue, chairman of Chery Group, commented, “The Freelander will be initially sold in China … but over time destined for global export.”

More on Freelander (if you dont know) 

The iconic nameplate was in the JLR family from 1997 to 2015 until the introduction of Discovery Sport (Successor). Freelander was the brand's first monocoque chassis vehicle, and if history follows, the moniker means hindsight to the future of the brand. Now, the Freelander vehicles will be revolutionary and “independent from both Chery’s existing portfolio and JLR’s modern luxury House of Brands.” The joint venture had also planned a “distinct network” to sell Freelander electric vehicles in China. The products will be built in the current CJLR factory in Changshu, primarily targeting the “mainstream” EV market. All this indicated that the vehicle would not be expensive (we mean relatively). 

TopGear Magazine July 2024