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Land Rover Diesel Hybrid Set for U.S.

Just the Facts:
  • Land Rover will introduce a diesel hybrid Range Rover and Range Rover Sport to the U.S. in the next couple of years.
  • The new hybrid will initially go on sale in Europe after its debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
  • Changes to European regulations and U.S. demand have improved the business case for such a vehicle in the U.S.

LONDON — Contrary to earlier reports, Land Rover is now set to introduce its forthcoming diesel hybrid models to the U.S. Changes in European emissions regulations, coupled with the growth in popularity of diesel vehicles in the U.S., are believed to have led to a change of heart. The new powertrain will feature in both Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.

New European emissions regulations (Euro 6) come into force in September 2014 and demand a dramatic reduction in the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx). This change will bring the EU more in line with the U.S., allowing manufacturers to produce a global standard. In other words, the additional and often prohibitive cost of developing a U.S.-specific diesel will no longer apply.

With the technical challenges effectively negated, the only other barrier to entry is demand. Recent figures show diesel car and SUV sales in the U.S. grew 24 percent during 2010-'12 in a market that rose by just 2.75 percent overall.

Luxury manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes are also being encouraged to introduce more diesel models in the face of forthcoming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which will be 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Land Rover is keen to learn from the experience of Jaguar, which was disastrously slow to introduce diesel models into the European market, giving away market share to key rivals.

We expect to see both V6 and V8 turbodiesel models readied for the U.S., alongside the diesel hybrid. The latter combines a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel with an electric motor and will debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show this September.

Edmunds says: Land Rover is determined not to be late to the diesel party.

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