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New Freelander EV brand born from Jaguar Land Rover and Chery partnership

Co-developed models will initially be built for China, expanding into global markets later

Land Rover Freelander

Jaguar Land Rover and Chery have announced a letter of intent for the co-development of a new range of electric vehicles for their joint venture, CJLR. These cars be initially tailored for the Chinese market, but will later find their way into more global markets under a new ‘Freelander’ brand – a reference to Land Rover’s former compact SUV.

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The partnership will leverage the individual strengths of the brands, utilising Chery’s production, development resources and scale, together with the design capabilities of Land Rover. All the vehicles will be SUVs built under licence using Chery vehicle architecture and given the Freelander branding. 

This will build on CJLR’s current activities which include production of the Chinese-market long wheelbase versions of the Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar XE and Jaguar XF

Commenting on the announcement, JLR CEO Adrian Mardell said “Today we are taking this important strategic step for JLR, one which underlines our ongoing commitment to China and complements our existing business in China.  We believe that working together to develop new models of collaboration for the world’s largest and fastest-growing electric vehicle market, combined with the appeal of the Freelander brand, promises a very exciting future for CJLR.”

No specific models have been announced as yet, but with the rapid development of EVs in China and their emphasis on tech and connectivity, we expect these new Freelander models to be sleek and futuristic, with large digital interfaces and lots of cabin space. 

Given the rapid timings of EV development in China, and the fact that much of the technical architecture will be taken directly from existing Chery projects, we could expect to see production cars in the next two to three years. 

It shouldn’t take too long for these models to then be introduced into other markets such as Europe or the UK, either. The cars should be able to utilise JLR’s existing distribution and dealer networks, giving the company a new line of more affordable ‘Freelander’ models beyond their existing ‘houses’ of Range Rover, Defender, Discovery and Jaguar.

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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