Indian Range Rover buyers find more value in customisation

    Since most features can be added individually on imported models, buyers opt for lower variants and customise.

    Published On Jan 06, 2023 08:00:00 AM

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    When booking the flagship Range Rover SUV or the new Range Rover Sport, Land Rover lets you choose from pre-set variants, but also lets you buy individual features a la carte, as per your liking. An interesting development is that many Indian customers are buying the base variant and optioning only the features they want, as they feel it gives them better value.

    1. Range Rover among several CBU-imported JLR SUVs
    2. Customisation doesn’t affect waiting periods
    3. ‘Base’ SE model is well equipped even without add-ons

    The range-topping Range Rover (the one with no suffix in its name) is available in regular and long-wheelbase forms, with three engine options and multiple seating configurations spread across five trim levels. This means it has a staggering 37 variants to choose from! This, understandably, can be quite daunting and expensive as one moves up the ladder. The new Range Rover Sport largely consolidates this with just seven variants on offer.

    However, even after you’ve picked a variant, these SUVs can be further built to order by customers in India. This is not unusual at this end of the market, where most models are CBU imports and customisation is not only common, it’s encouraged. But while some brands go down the pre-set variant route and others take the customisation route, Jaguar Land Rover lets you do both.

    Most personalisation in luxury cars is largely cosmetic – paint shades, alloy wheels, upholstery, interior trim and finishers. Some then offer add-on packs – such as driver assistance (ADAS features), communications (connected car tech, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto), and even mechanical enhancements like a handling pack (torque vectoring, active steering, sports suspension).

    Imported Range Rover models have variants as well as options

    The imported Range Rovers, and in fact all JLR CBU products in India like the I-Pace, Discovery and Defender, do offer all of the above, but also let you pick many features individually. Things like rear entertainment screens, rear window blinds and off-road modes, can be added separately, and in some models, 4-zone climate control, wireless charging, more-advanced digital headlamps, premium audio systems, a heads-up display, and even cupholders can be specified. 

    The best part is, JLR India says customising your car doesn’t add to the waiting period, which at present stands at around 12-15 months for the Range Rover. This is because customisation is offered globally and is an intrinsic part of the production process for these models.

    As a result, more and more buyers in India are reportedly choosing the lower-spec models and simply adding only the features they want, foregoing unwanted add-ons that might come from choosing the higher variants. The result is being able to create a specification virtually the same as a higher trim level, while actually paying less for it.

    When customisation works (and when it doesn’t)

    When a car has to be personalised or customised, it means the production line cannot move as quickly as a mass-produced product would. Individual orders have to be fulfilled, and the more options ticked, the more it deviates from the base specification, and the longer it will take to build. It also means the order has to come before the vehicle is produced, and not vice versa, hence the term ‘made to order’. This is why it works best for higher-end products, where production numbers are fewer, much of the process is done by hand, and buyers don’t mind longer waiting periods.

    Mass-produced cars, on the other hand, are built with fixed variant specifications, with only the colour being a variable factor. This allows manufacturers to build stock in advance, ready to be delivered as soon as customers make their purchase. Then, with time, once customer preference is gauged, the production mix can be adjusted based on demand – preferred colours, variants and powertrains being produced in higher numbers. Nonetheless, this is far more efficient than allowing customers to individualise their car.

    Also see:

    2022 Land Rover Range Rover review: Super sized luxury

    New Range Rover Sport review: More than just good looks

    New-gen Land Rover Discovery to spawn an EV derivative

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