JLR bosses are confident that the Land Rover Discovery makes sense a standalone brand, as the company separates its line-up into four distinct pillars: Defender, Discovery, Jaguar and Range Rover.
Questions hang over the viability of carving out Discovery as a brand in its own right, given that it's currently the slowest-selling Land Rover model, but bosses say it can survive – and thrive – because of the unique role it plays in the JLR portfolio.
Describing it as “the ‘we’ brand” and calling it “an enabler to make every day exceptional”, marketing boss Anthony Bradbury told Autocar work is under way to determine how the Discovery family of the future will look.
"Of the four brands, it's the one that, in terms of its future state, there's the most work to do [on] internally," he said. "But that's massively exciting, because, certainly in our view, it's got enormous potential to grow."
JLR sold just over 12,000 Discoverys in the 12 months to March, compared with nearly 75,000 examples of the Land Rover Defender, but Bradbury said this was largely a result of the semiconductor shortage forcing the company to prioritise more profitable models.
“You can't take that too literally as an indication of demand," he said. "We were very constrained in what we could build.”
The newer and more expensive Range Rover and Range Rover Sport were “clearly going to get priority” as a result, he said, “because they were the cars being launched”.
Even with the focus on more expensive cars, JLR sold three times as many examples of the smaller and cheaper Land Rover Discovery Sport in the same period, potentially lending weight to the viability of a diverse family of Discovery models.
JLR UK managing director Patrick McGillycuddy echoed Bradbury’s outlook: “For us, Discovery is an important brand, and it has absolute equity, it has space in the market and it has a very loyal customer base.
“What we're going through now is understanding how we reimagine the Discovery brand. What space will it fill? How does it fill a space that's unique to the other brands? That is the kind of internal work that we're going through now in terms of that assessment."