DETROIT – Al Kammerer, Land Rover and Jaguar Cars product-development director, says Land Rover is considering building the LRX concept unveiled here Sunday.
“We haven’t made a decision yet,” he tells Ward’s at the North American International Auto Show. “There might be some adjustments,” but not nearly as many as some concept cars require.
Breaking away from its traditional off-road SUV strategy, the auto maker describes the LRX as a “cross coupe.”
An increasing global focus on fuel economy and carbon-dioxide reduction initiatives could signal a new design direction for the luxury marque, Kammerer says, noting all brands need to be looking to the future.
Plus, he says, “As you do concept cars, you need to do something new and different.” Thus, Land Rover designed the LRX to appeal to a younger, more female demographic – areas where the brand has shown weakness in the past.
The LRX “is a premium car price positioned somewhere around the LR2 ($35,000),” Kammerer says.
Equipped with all-wheel drive, the vehicle features an advanced powertrain that also is production feasible. With a nod to green technology, the 2.0L turbodiesel hybrid engine is capable of running on biodiesel fuel.
Dubbed Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD), the high-tech powertrain can reduce fuel consumption about 30% compared with similarly sized AWD vehicles, Kammerer says.
ERAD allows the LRX to use its electric drive at lower speeds, which enhances its off-road capability due to the instant torque provided by the electric motors.
The LRX is capable of running up to 20 mph (32 km/h) in electric-only mode, after which the diesel engine kicks in. The concept also boasts stop/start capability, which shuts off the engine while at a standstill.
Julian Thomson, studio director, Jaguar Land Rover-advanced design, says designing the LRX “posed challenges (building in) functionality in more of an automotive road-based style. We’re always experimenting, doing things to see how far we can stretch the brand, where people will still find it appealing.”
Focus groups all responded positively to the LRX concept, Kammerer says, adding they all said “they want one.”