Land Rover's Best-Selling Model Is In Trouble

Sales

Will a major update next year fix the problem?

Last year, a total of 12,035 Land Rover Discovery Sports were sold in the US, down from 14,187 and 14,243 units in 2017 and 2016, respectively. This sales drop in the US is mirrored in several overseas markets that Land Rover depends on. The Discovery Sport also happens to be the firm’s best-selling model. What happens when your top-seller is losing sales ground to rivals like the new Volvo XC60? Either a redesign or a major mid-life update is needed.

It appears that the latter is in the cards, and Autocar has new updates following last month's spy shots. This summer, Land Rover will unveil a heavily revised Discovery Sport and the SUV needs to be a sales success.

The updated Discovery Sport will represent one-third of Land Rover’s core models, the other two being the new Evoque and the upcoming reborn Defender, due in 2020. Launched for 2014 as a replacement for the dull and forgotten Freelander, the 2020 Discovery Sport is expected to receive some exterior design tweaks such as new headlights and bumper.

The updated interior will bear a strong resemblance to the Evoque’s and boast more premium materials, such as higher quality plastics. More importantly, Land Rover is adding its advanced Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, with two screens located in the center console, as an option. Other interior goodies will include a 4G WiFi hotspot and over-the-air-updates for the satellite navigation software.

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Although no pure electric variant is planned for this generation, the Discovery Sport’s engines will all receive a mild hybrid system for improved efficiency. A plug-in hybrid option is expected as well. The big question is whether all of these improvements will be enough for the Discovery Sport to fight off the increasing competition until 2023, when a complete redesign is due. Land Rover sales dropped 6.9 percent in 2018 and failure is not an option for its bread and butter model.

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