Land Rover could build a baby Defender on a platform sourced from BMW
13 August 2019 - autoblog
In report by Autocar, Jaguar would also get small crossovers out of the deal
The collaboration between BMW and Jaguar-Land Rover started out small, it was originally limited to motors for electric cars, but it might not stay that way for long. The Tata-owned British sister companies will allegedly rummage through Munich's sizable parts bin to build nearly half a dozen cars scheduled to come out during the 2020s.
According to a report by British magazine Autocar, Jaguar has started designing two small cars that will join its growing family of Pace-badged soft-roaders. They'll be new additions to the firm's portfolio, not replacements for existing cars. One will be a regular crossover, while the other will be a swoopier, form-over-function four-door model ostensibly marketed as a coupe. Both will slot at the very bottom of the Jaguar portfolio, below the already pretty small E-Pace, in a growing market segment where the competition is fierce, and profit margins are thinner than an i3's tires.
Here's where BMW apparently comes in. Instead of developing a platform from scratch, the two crossovers could ride on the hybrid-ready, front-wheel drive FAAR architecture found under the third-generation 1 Series hatchback and the upcoming 2 Series Gran Coupe. If we believe an earlier report claiming Jaguar and BMW will also share engines, most of the hardware found under the sheet metal will have German genes. All-wheel drive will certainly be available, and it could also come from BMW.
The same platform -- and, presumably, the same engines -- would provide the basis for a Land Rover-badged model positioned in the same segment. Autocar learned it will be to the next-generation Defender (pictured) what the Mercedes-Benz GLB is to the G-Class. Some key design cues will carry over, but the two models will share absolutely nothing under the sheet metal. The soft-roader could resurrect the Freelander nameplate when it goes on sale during the 2020s.
Looking even further ahead, the front-wheel-drive platform the next Mini Countryman and X1 will utilize could find its way under the replacements for the next Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport. These plans could very well change; the Evoque and the Disco Sport barely entered their second generation, so they're not due for a replacement until the second half of the coming decade.
While neither company has confirmed or denied the report, the partnership makes sense from a business standpoint. On one hand, Jaguar-Land Rover lost $477 million in the last financial quarter, and it's investing a fortune into the development of larger models like the aforementioned Defender, and the next-generation Range Rover. Building smaller cars using parts sourced from another automaker lifts a huge burden from its shoulders. On the other hand, BMW likes the idea of sharing components with a partner – even one it considers a rival – because it helps offset the rising cost of developing them.