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Auto blogThu, 19 Dec 2013 18:02:00 EST
Jaguar Land Rover North America has appointed a new president, Joachim Eberhardt. The German exec, 50, had previously done stints at Chrysler Group, DaimlerChrysler UK, Mercedes-Benz USA and Daimler-Benz.
Eberhardt joins JLR NA in a good, but challenging time for the company. It's fresh off the launch of the Range Rover Sport and Jaguar F-Type, which have been subject to rave reviews, and its overall sales are up 21 percent over 2012. Still, as Automotive News points out, the two manufacturers face a fight to become the equal of A-list competitors like BMW and Mercedes in the eyes of consumers.
"Joe brings a proven industry track record and valuable global leadership experience in luxury sales, service and marketing. We look forward to Joe leading our North American team in working with our retail networks to further grow the business and better serve our customers," JLR's group sales operations director, Andy Goss, said.
Of all the tuners this side of AMG, none are as close to Mercedes-Benz as Brabus. After all, when Daimler needed a tuner to spruce up the Smart car, it was Brabus that it turned to. But Brabus tunes vehicles other than Mercedes - it just uses, let's call it, a pen name. It brands them Startech, like the widebody kit it's developed for the new Range Rover Sport and will present at the Geneva Motor Show next week.
The modifications center around the carbon fiber body panels Brabus (excuse us, Startech) has developed for the British sport-ute that give it over two inches of added width. The wider fender flares encompass 23-inch wheels that are forged, ceramic-coated, skinned with low-profile rubber and fitted to a lowered suspension. The front and rear bumpers have been redone in plastic and can be fitted with or without the wider fenders, and there's a three-piece roof spoiler at the back.
Startech is also offering an upgrade for the 3.0-liter twin-turbo-diesel V6 that squeezes out an extra 31 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque for a total of 323 hp and 501 lb-ft, dropping the 0-62 time from 7.2 seconds to 6.9. The German tuner also has a wide array of interior modifications on offer, details of which you can read about in the press release below and scope out in the high-resolution image gallery above.
At the Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend, Land Rover previewed its upcoming performance version of the Range Rover Sport. Only instead of wearing the R-S badge that adorns the most hardcore of Jaguar models, the performance SUV from JLR's Special Operations unit introduced the letters SVR. And now, it seems that badge is here to stay.
Following the Range Rover Sport SVR, a new report from Motor Authority now says that Jaguar Land Rover will use those letters to distinguish the top-of-the-line performance models from both marques moving forward. As such, we might expect SVR models of the upcoming Jaguar XE compact sedan and Land Rover Discovery Sport, as well as potential new performance models based on the new F-Type and next-generation XF.
If accurate, the move would seem to separate Jaguar in particular from the R-S badge that has adorned performance models like the XFR-S and XKR-S. Both Audi and Porsche use the letters RS to distinguish its most hardcore models as well (e.g. Audi RS7 Sportback and Porsche 911 GT3 RS). Whether the similarity was a factor in shifting to the SVR moniker, we don't know, but either way, we welcome the arrival of a new generation of Jaguar and Land Rover performance models - especially if they pack the 575-horsepower version of the company's ubiquitous 5.0-liter supercharged V8. Not incidentally, that delicious powerplant gained a couple of new engine bays to call home at Goodwood as well - it's not just found in the forthcoming Range Rover Sport SVR, it's found a home in the F-Type Project 7, too.