Just as it plans on extending its model offerings with several new models at the top and bottom of its product range, Land Rover is simultaneously cutting some of its brand names to give its model ranges more cohesiveness and stronger identities, according to Britain's Autocar.
As part of the move, the Freelander name, used on Land Rover's entry-level compact SUV, will be dropped, and the replacement model will be added to the brand's Discovery portfolio of models. The new Freelander is expected to ride on a stretched version of the Range Rover Evoque's transverse, unibody platform. But the Evoque line itself may see an extension in the form of a longer-wheelbase version intended as an intermediate model between the standard-length Evoque and the new Range Rover Sport, which features a three-row, seven passenger capacity for 2014. Finally, a compact "urban" model smaller than the Evoque is also rumored, with an overall length shorter than 160 inches.
There has also reportedly been a change of plans for the next-generation Defender. Initially conceived as a low-cost, simple utility aimed at emerging markets, the bare-bones concept has reportedly been scrapped in favor of a more premium model based on the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport's PLA longitudinal all-aluminum architecture. Jaguar Land Rover's recent investment in an aluminum manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia leads the company to believe it can still produce the model cost-effectively in the U.K.