New Land Rover baby would sit below the next Defender which has been previewed by the dc100 concept

New Land Rover baby would sit below the next Defender which has been previewed by the dc100 concept

A story about an upcoming new model for a much loved brand drew a lot of readership this week. Such interest in the Home Team (just up the road from us) was no surprise, of course.

Sources suggested Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) was planning a small, rugged SUV to sit below the upcoming Defender replacement. The planned latest addition to the Land Rover SUV range would be aimed squarely at younger buyers and 'millennials'. The currently unnamed model was thought to be called L860 internally, and could be a development of the aborted L851 project – a similar entry-level Land Rover project. No official details have been released but mid-2021 has been hinted as a possible start of production date.

This isn't the first time the L860 has reared its head, having first been proposed for manufacture in India. In the face of economic uncertainty arising from factors including Brexit and the Trump administration, however, the British brand reportedly scrapped those plans in late 2016.

Scrapping the Indian plans didn't entirely scupper the project, however. It's now understood that L860 will probably be built either at the firm's existing Halewood facility or at the new facility in Nitra, Slovakia which is due to come on line in late 2018. Production volume of around 70,000 per year is considered likely. As with all JLR models, the L860 will be sold globally so, as well as Europe, the vehicle will be sold in the crucial US and Chinese markets. Let's see how it all turns out and if we were right or not.

US sales were out this week and late again. We should kick Nissan for its tardiness in reporting but the brand did particularly well, unlike in Japan but there was a little local difficulty to explain that.

Our future models analysis continues apace and, this week, we started to eye Volkswagen. Which has just seen a second Dieselgate official jailed in the US (why on earth did he return for a holiday?) while others the US would like to get its mitts on hide behind extradition laws in Germany.

Renault changed management for its Eurasia region and we gave some thought to how the local gas station might change with electrification. And Our Man In Asia told us how changing government rules for public transport mean the end of the Philippines Jeepney.

Ford, whose growth in China has faltered, announced Big Plans for the market plus a tie-up with online supremo Alibaba.

Ever wondered how regenerative braking in hybrid and electric cars is calibrated by engineers? Or how the changeover from machine to human driver will be formulated in the future? These and many other vehicle development conundrums are being solved by technology developed by a company based in Hethel, Norfolk, UK – that's not Lotus. EVs and autonomous driving have boosted simulator demand.

Does Toyota's latest PHEV Prius have a more useable range? I found out.

Have a good weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor,