Jaguar Land Rover has announced a new Special Operations division that will focus not only on high performance versions of existing models, but also bespoke commissions, heritage models and a new range of branded products. It replaces the old Engineered To Order team that produced vehicles like the Range Rover Autobiography and Jaguar XFR-S.
The new division is run by John Edwards, former brand director of Land Rover, and will have four sub divisions, concentrating on special vehicles, personalisation, heritage and branded goods.
Most pertinent of the lot will be Special Vehicle Operations, headed by former Chief Technical Officer of Williams Advanced Engineering Paul Newsome, who worked with Jaguar on the C-X75.
The SVO badge will appear on extreme versions of Jaguar and Land Rover models, with a super-fast version of the Range Rover Sport likely to be among the first models launched. Eventually, developments of all-terrain models will be offered, with Edwards hinting that the Defender replacement would be ideal for the SVO treatment.
Speaking to Auto Express, John Edwards said: “We’re focused on enhancing and personalizing our relationship with our most discerning and enthusiastic customers, delivering experiences our customers will love for life.”
Also within Special Operations’ brief will be cars like the lightweight E-Type, the recently announced project to produce six racing E-Types using original plans, methods and with VIN numbers that follow on from the original cars. The first model is already underway and all six already have buyers lined up with Edwards telling us, “we’re selling the cars to people who’ll race them”.
Special Operations will also be offering servicing and restoration to owners of heritage Jaguars and Land Rovers, with a workshop already being used at Jaguar’s spiritual home at Browns Lane in Coventry.
In 2015 Special Operations will move into its own technical centre where around 500 will work on design, engineering and manufacturer of the models. It will have its own state of the art paint shop to enable Jaguar Land Rover to offer a wider range of car colours. It will also have a customer commissioning suite, where buyers can work with the Special Operations team on bespoke models and personalisation.
Also coming under the Special Operations division will be a growing range of luxury goods, and licensed products such as the range of Land Rover Barbour products recently announced. Lindsay Weaver, who headed Bentley’s push into the luxury goods market, will be heading up that team with Edwards saying, “We aim to trump what Bentley has done.”