Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and its Chinese joint venture partner, Chery Auto, are reportedly planning to establish a new brand together. The move is a key part of a global sales strategy being developed by the British manufacturer in which it seeks to significantly raise its presence in China, the world’s largest car market.
Chinese media has reported that this new proposed brand is expected to be positioned in the mid-class, with a heavy emphasis on electrification of drivetrains and in-car connectivity. The brand is expected to be conceived along the same lines as Lynk & Co – the brand launched by JLR's rival Volvo and its Chinese parent company Geely, back in 2016.
Our sister publication, Autocar UK, got in touch with an official at JLR, who would not confirm reports if the company is actively seeking to establish a new brand with Chery. However, the official did point out that after a slow start to its joint venture agreement, JLR currently produces four models in China – the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery, Jaguar XEL and the Jaguar XFL. Plans for Chinese production of the Jaguar E-Pace have also been announced.
For now, the details of JLR and Chery’s plans for a new sub-brand are still under wraps. Experts in the Chinese automotive industry suggest that Chery's recent management changes could be seen as laying the foundation for a comprehensive shift in operations between the two companies, which, incidentally, commenced in 2012.
Suspicions about JLR's plans to create of a new brand were raised in the past when the automaker trademarked the Rover name in numerous countries, along with the Rover 55. The 55 was a sedan from the now-dead brand that never made it to production. Considering how popular sedans are in China, it would be a logical place to revive the Rover brand.
"Jaguar Land Rover owns the Rover trademark so regularly files trademark updates to protect the name, as is good practice," said a company spokesman. "There is no foundation to the speculation that we are reviving the brand." The spokesman clarified that no new brand, under any name, is planned.