Land Rover is considering a diesel variant of the Evoque crossover for the U.S. market.
“Nothing is confirmed yet, but as we continue to investigate options, that’s definitely something that’s being considered,” Jaguar Land Rover North America marketing vice president Kim McCullough said during an interview at the Paris Motor Show.
Currently the company’s affordable compact crossover is only sold here with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine from Ford, but that could change in the future. The Evoque is also sold in other parts of the world with a 2.2-liter diesel engine, but that won’t reach the U.S. because of emissions regulations.
Jaguar Land Rover has announced a £500 million (over $804 million) engine manufacturing facility in the U.K. Volume production at that facility will begin early next year starting with a 2.0-liter diesel engine. After that, the plant will start building turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder engines in time to launch the new Jaguar XE sedan in the U.S. The first copies of the XE being sold in this market will be gasoline powered, but Jaguar plans to follow up with a diesel model roughly two months after that.
McCullough said that JLR sees strong demand for diesel models in the U.S. because of the recent push by German luxury manufacturers.”There’s a much greater acceptance for diesel in the U.S. market,” she said.
That could play a crucial role for Land Rover in working toward the coming waves of increasingly steep average fuel economy requirements by the U.S. government. Range Rover owners are partial to their supercharged V8s, but the company will likely try to balance its output of thirsty powerplants.
Emissions standards are of great concern for the company, which is why it is entertaining a variety of model and powertrain combinations for the future. Last year, the Evoque was Land Rover’s third-best seller behind the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
“You’ll see diesels eventually coming in on both brands,” she said. The new family of Ingenium engines will allow that plan to move forward. Currently, JLR’s diesel powertrains won’t meet U.S. emissions standards, which is one of the main reasons Land Rover’s diesel hybrid Range Rover isn’t on sale here.
The Evoque is a huge hit for Land Rover. Despite being on the market for three years, McCullough said 80 percent of its U.S. customers are new to the brand. For the 2014 model year it switched from a six- to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Even if a diesel engine doesn’t make the cut, it’s only a matter of time until Land Rover drops the Ford-sourced turbo four cylinder in favor of its own in-house turbocharged four-pot. McCullough declined to confirm timing for the engine switch citing a company policy not to comment on future products.
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