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Evoque opens up fleet sector to Land Rover

Date: 12 August 2011   |   Author:

The new Range Rover Evoque will mean an opportunity for Land Rover to enter the corporate sector in volumes previously unknown, although it won't happen overnight.

The most efficient five-door Evoque, the 133g/km two-wheel drive TD4, won't be launched until the first quarter of 2012, but Land Rover UK MD Colin Green told BusinessCar that supply of vehicles may be a bigger issue affecting an attack on the sector.

"Initially we might struggle to get the volume to sustain a foray into the corporate market. It's a global launch and we have to satisfy all market demands," said Green. "Corporate is slow-burn and it will be at least a year because we've got enough retail customer orders to satisfy the first six months of production already."

Green admitted that a combination of fleets' 160g/km CO2 limits and restrictions on putting 4x4 vehicles onto choice lists have impacted the firm's corporate penetration, putting true fleet business at around 10% of Land Rover sales. "The Evoque will increase it quite significantly," said Green. "We're not particularly going to go hard and targeted in fleet, it might build over time. It's aspirational and different, and often user choosers are looking for something different."

The Evoque will attract a new type of person to Land Rover, according to the firm's product development director Murray Dietsch. "Customers that buy Evoque may never have been in a Range Rover, never in a Land Rover dealership or even in an SUV in the past, so they will come to Evoque with very high expectations," he said.

Green claimed lowering the emissions is more important than a front-wheel drive model when it comes to corporate acceptance. "Sub-160g/km is the key, two-wheel drive less so. The front-wheel drive version is not necessarily the most important as there are 4x4 versions comfortably under 160g/km - for some fleets CO2 is important but for others 4x4 is."

Land Rover's UK boss said in some cases, fleets have revised their opinion of 4x4 vehicles after the recent harsh winters. "We talk to some fleets where the safety of four-wheel drive is important," he said. "The last couple of winters have been amazing for us and what's it's done to fleet policies in some cases." He said some fleets have always been keen on adding Land Rover to their choice lists, but the attraction of all-wheel drive was overridden by other elements of the fleet policy, generally surrounding emissions.

Green said the Evoque is likely to split 70:30 in favour of the five-door over the more sporty but more expensive and less practical Coupe.

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