Land Rover may rebadge its Freelander medium sports utility vehicle as a Discovery when it starts selling its replacement in 2015. Doing so would lead to the creation of a Discovery sub-brand for Land Rover, while the new vehicle will be positioned below the current Discovery. The Freelander's replacement will be larger than the current model and will have a seven-seat variant, a person privy with Land Rover’s plan told Automotive News Europe.
Land Rover has already set a similar naming strategy for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Land Rover is selling the Freelander as the LR2 in the U.S. and the as the LR4. According to Max Warburton, an analyst at Bernstein Research, renaming the Freelander would be simpler for potential buyers.
Both the Freelander and Discovery are currently grouped under 'leisure' in Land Rover's "three pillars" design strategy. Range Rover-badged units are under the 'luxury' pillar while the Defender is 'dual purpose.' The Freelander’s replacement will be underpinned by a version of the current steel platform with output set at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood site in Liverpool.
According to Bernstein, the Freelander is the only model in the Land Rover range that doesn’t lead to profits once research and development expenses and other fixed costs are taken into account.