While revealing few specifics, Land Rover has confirmed plans to build "a production version" of its slick LRX concept. First unveiled in Detroit at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, the volume-build version of this upscale vehicle will carry Range Rover badging, join the lineup in 2011 as a 2012 model and be sold in 100 countries around the world, including the U.S. The name it ultimately will carry -- or whether it arrives in three- or five-door configuration -- remains TBD. However, Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director, sees the "smallest, lightest and most efficient vehicle" his firm has ever produced as "a natural extension to the Range Rover line-up, complementing the existing models and helping to define a new segment. It will be true to the concept and have many recognizable Range Rover design cues including the signature clamshell bonnet, the floating roof and the solid 'wheel-at-each-corner' stance."
Based on platform elements used on the Land Rover Freelander, this new compact premium family member will do more than just usher Range Rover into the premium compact SUV/CUV market. It's also destined to bring the aluminum-intensive design pioneered by sister company, Jaguar, more directly into the Range Rover realm and to spawn a gasoline/electric hybrid variant. More details on the vehicle's final appearance and its mechanical specs are due sometime next year. Company execs have hinted that June 17th -- the 40th anniversary of the launch of the original Range Rover -- would be a likely presentation date.