Leave it to Land Rover's most iconic model to keep the British SUV maker afloat in the slumping auto market. With industry-wide vehicle sales still bottoming out, the Range Rover has been the most resistant of the Land Rover line, with sales down 17.8% compared with 2008 during the months of January and February.
| land Rover Range Rover front Drivers Three Quarters View
Quantitatively, U.S. sales of the Range Rover through the first two months of 2009 have totaled 1247 units. Despite the highest starting MSRP of the Land Rover line, listed at $78,525, the Range Rover has single-handedly outsold both the LR3 and LR2 through the same time period. LR2 sales have particularly been in the tank during 2009, with sales down 57.1% compared with 2008, totaling 583 units. The decline in LR2 sales has been more in line with the rest of the SUV market, with total SUV sales down 51.4% so far.
The remaining models in the Land Rover line, the LR3 and Range Rover Sport, have totaled 590 and 1179 units sold, respectively. Compared with 2008, Range Rover Sport sales are down 40.5% so far, while LR3 sales are down 28%.
How does the priciest and currently oldest Land Rover model stay on top of its brand? Land Rover dealers attribute the Range Rover's place in the market and prestige to its continued success.
According to Jerry Nelson, owner of Land Rover Monmouth in Ocean, New Jersey, "Range Rover is one of those vehicles that sell all the time to the same customer. He doesn't want to look at anything else."
When asked about the smaller LR2 and LR3 SUVs, problems cited by dealers regarding the two SUVs include issues regarding styling, pricing, and marketing. With tough sales conditions and tough competition, dealers have stated that both the LR2 and LR3 suffer from unenviable sales positions and do not stand out from rival SUVs, including the likes of the Audi Q5
, BMW X5
, Lexus RX 350
, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Mercedes-Benz's M-Class, and Volvo XC60