There have been rumors that things have not been going well in Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Operations division for some time now. More fuel has been added to the fire with the announcement that the Discovery SVX will no longer be entering production as previously planned. This announcement comes just a month after plans for the Range Rover SV coupe were also shelved. The coupe was supposed to be a limited edition model of which only 999 would be released. Now it is not going ahead at all.
The Discovery SVX was intended to make the family car into something with a tougher exterior that also had more power in the shape of a 5.0-liter V-8 engine. The idea for the car was first announced in 2017 with 2019 given as a possible date for the first cars to make it onto the road. Insiders in the car industry were starting to get suspicious that nothing more had really been said about a launch date for this car when the story broke that production may not even get started at all. This speculation was confirmed by JLR a few days later.
No official reason has been given for withdrawing production of the Discovery SVX but many industry insiders believe that concerns over the engine is the biggest factor. Many people believe that the V-8 engine is coming towards the end of its life and that it is no longer practical to put these types of engines in newer cars. When you have powerful engines like this it also means that you have greater emissions and this is something that all car manufacturers will have to work on in the coming years.
They have been working on an alternative to the V-8 and production of a vehicle that will have a six cylinder hybridized engine has recently been announced by Land Rover. This engine cannot match the power of the V-8 yet but it is by no means a slow engine. It is capable of reaching 395 horsepower but this is slightly less than the 518 horsepower V-8 engine that was supposed to be going in the Discovery SVX. It may be that if we do ever see a Discovery SVX launched that there will be a certain degree of compromise in terms of the power of the engine, at least at first. As technology advances then there is a good chance that hybridized engines will become more powerful and there will almost certainly be research carried out into this possibility by all manufacturers.
There is the possibility that the SVX brand will be used in the future but it is not known what model of car it will be used for. There has been a lot of work done in developing the brand and so it would make sense that JLR would try to put this work to good use in some form. However, they also need to be sure that any model that they do develop is going to be profitable for the company. The Discovery and Discovery Sport models traditionally do very well for JLR and so it makes sense that they would want to extend this range.
JLR have also faced problems with their personnel in recent months. There have been a number of departures of senior executives which have created a lot of uncertainty in the business. The Chief Designer, Wayne Burgess, is the latest person to leave as he has taken a new role at Chinese brand Geely in their new UK base. These are considered to be rivals to JLR and although they are not that well known in the UK as of yet, their acquisition of the Lotus brand may go some way towards changing this.
The car industry as a whole is undergoing a tough time in the UK at the moment, largely due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. There is also more a demand for electric and hybrid cars. If Special Operations at JLR is going to survive then it needs a success, and it needs it soon. The Range Rover SVR has been the stand out success of the division so far and sales have been strong but they can’t rely on this to tide them over forever.