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Land Rover to build baby LRX as Range Rover

Published: 11 March 2009

Land Rover today confirmed it will build the baby LRX crossover – and badge it as a Range Rover. The main image above is an official Land Rover rendering of how the production LRX will look, showing few changes over the 2008 concept car. Insiders are calling it the compact Range Rover. Perhaps Range Rover Short would suffice, one wag noted.

Today's news came as the company announced receipt of a £27 million government grant, which will help pay for the development of the smaller, more efficient soft-roader.

The LRX is likely to be built at the Halewood factory in the north west of England and Land Rover managing director Phil Popham told CAR the funding was in addition to the Government's previous £2.3 billion Automotive Assistance Programme for the UK’s struggling car making industry.

£27 million? That’ll probably cover Gerry McGovern’s design bill alone!

True, in the context of a new model launch, £27m is small fry. But Jaguar Land Rover is investing around £400m in the project, which could secure thousands of jobs in the Midlands and north west. Halewood, which builds the X-type and Freelander, alone employs 2000 people.

The new baby Range Rover will be based around the LRX concept car (the white model shown in our photos), but we hear the production car will be taller and also be offered as a five-door – which is exactly how the Range Stormer concept translated to the more traditional Range Rover Sport. This rendering suggests that they won't lose all the LRX’s bijou beauty in the process.

Popham vowed the engineers and designers are hellbent on keeping some of the concept’s character. ‘We are working hard and are confident we can get close to the concept car,’ he said. ‘We are convinced that the perceived quality and premiumness of the concept make it a Range Rover.’

When can I buy the new Range Rover LRX?

There are still a few hurdles to jump through before the LRX lands in your nearest LR showroom. The car must meet the company’s ‘product development gateways’ before it lands properly on the cycle plan, Popham revealed to CAR.

‘But if it goes through this process, we will see the car and take orders in 2010,’ he said. That points to a public launch in 2011, when you can expect CO2 emissions of less than 150g/km for a turbodiesel LRX. Popham said a potential hybrid version could see that tumble to 120g/km.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said: 'The Government is fully committed to supporting the UK automotive industry as it moves to a lower carbon future. This project aims to design and build a greener car in the UK, safeguarding vital skills and technologies.'

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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