When Land Rover Philippines launched the all-new, fourth-generation Range Rover at its elegant Bonifacio Global City showroom, the distributor went for the dramatic: They drove the luxury SUV through a makeshift pool of water, obviously driving across the point that nothing can stop this vehicle. No less than company executive director Marc Soong performed the stunt--he even had his wife ride with him.
Soong said the stunt was his idea and that he designed the set with the help of his off-roading friends.
It will take more than flashy gimmicks, however, to ensure that the brand's official importer will always be the preferred seller of potential buyers. "They will face stiff competition from the gray market," acknowledged Land Rover Club of the Philippines (and Top Gear Philippines off-road editor) Robby Consunji. "The gray market can price the new Range Rover about P1 million cheaper. Marc and his team should aggressively communicate the fact that their company can provide buyers with proper after-sales support, which is their main advantage over gray-market vendors."
And just how much will the all-new Range Rover sell for?
Because Land Rover Philippines doesn't divulge the exact pricing of its vehicles to the media, we asked Consunji for an estimate. "It will likely sell for P9 million to P13 million, depending on the variant," he told us.
The unit present at the launch last weekend--the one driven through water--is a 5.0-liter Supercharged V8 gasoline variant. Other engine choices include a 3.0-liter V6 diesel, a 4.4-liter V8 diesel and a 5.0-liter V8 gasoline.
"Range Rovers are truly special," Soong said during the presentation. "Each model lasts for at least 10 years before being replaced." (The first-generation model, for the record, was produced for 26 years, from 1970 to 1996.)
The Range Rover is the top-of-the-line luxury model of British carmaker Land Rover. It offers the best mix of luxury and off-road capability in the world of SUVs. For the latest iteration, Land Rover highlights four main features that set the all-new Range Rover apart from the competition:
* Terrain Response 2, which is "designed to monitor driving conditions and automatically optimizes the vehicle's settings to suit the terrain, giving you the ultimate in ride comfort on all surfaces including grass, gravel, snow, mud, ruts, sand and rock";
* Four-corner electronic air suspension, which "automatically switches between two ride heights when the off-road setting is selected. Maximum ground clearance is increased by 75mm above the normal ride height at speeds no less than 50kph";
* Dual-view touchscreen, which "enables the driver and the front passenger to view completely independent displays, so the passengers can watch TV while the driver follows navigational instructions, for instance"; and
* Park Assist, which "identifies parking spaces and helps you parallel-park in tight spots."
If you're interested in the all-new Range Rover, a display model should now be available for viewing at the Land Rover showroom.
Photos by Vernon B. Sarne