Land Rover plans to start sales of a convertible version of the Evoque sport-utility vehicle next year, marking its first modern open-top model.
“The convertible market isn’t huge, but it’s an opportunity for us,” Finbar McFall, Jaguar Land Rover’s product marketing director, said at an event at the Geneva International Motor Show.
While SUVs have become widely popular around the world, ragtop versions are rare. In addition to topless versions of offroaders like the Jeep Wrangler, Nissan makes the $41,995 Murano CrossCabriolet.
The convertible Evoque, which was displayed as a concept car in Geneva in 2012, is part of an expansion by Jaguar Land Rover, the British luxury-car maker owned by India’s Tata Motors. The plans include the Jaguar F-PACE, the brand’s first crossover next year.
The UK manufacturer aims to boost sales to a record of more than 500,000 vehicles this year as the entry-level Jaguar XE sedan and the Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV go on sale. Jaguar Land Rover sold 462,678 vehicles in 2014, an increase of 9 per cent for its fifth straight year of growth.
The variant of the $41,100 Evoque will be built at the company’s Halewood plant in the UK.
“It’s important that the car will still have the unparalleled traction and still have offroad capability of a Land Rover,” said Mr McFall. “It’s interesting to remember that the very first Land Rovers, around 1948, were also open-top cars.”
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