The Land Rover Discovery was first introduced to the world 25 years ago and has been a long standing and a very successful product from the UK based automaker in the luxury SUV segment. However, despite the success rate the luxury SUV witnessed overseas, it couldn’t replicate the same success in India upon launch. While owners across the globe swear by its on and off-road capabilities coupled with a luxurious cabin, the Discovery has not been able to fancy most of the Indian buyers, who choose to opt for rivals like the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes GL-Class in the 7-seater luxury SUV segment.
The Land Rover Discovery certainly packs in a lot of luxury and creature comforts along with potent petrol and diesel engine options; however, compared to its German rivals, the Discovery is still an unknown, unheard brand in India. Very little has been done by Land Rover to promote the Discovery across the target audience. Most prospective buyers in this segment do limit their choices to the Germans that pack in the best in luxury, while also upping the snob quotient. Undoubtedly, the Q7 and the GL-Class are great vehicles with their own pros, but the Discovery is simply an understated product in the same segment.
Moreover, the Discovery is brought into the country as a CBU, while the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes GL-Class are being assembled in the country. This does offer a high pricing leverage to the Germans, as the Discovery just seems to be too expensive, costing Rs. 1.08 crore, compared to the Q7 priced at Rs. 56 lakhs and the GL-Class priced at Rs. 72 lakhs (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). Having been longer than the Land Rover in India, Audi and Mercedes are well established and also have a much better and efficient after sales-service network that makes the Q7 and GL-Class a sensible and trouble free buy.
The Land Rover Discovery is also facing competition from within the company. The new and much younger Evoque makes a much better brand statement, while being modern and vibrant. The Evoque is a segment down, priced at Rs. 65 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the top-end diesel, the vehicle just makes so much more sense despite being smaller than the Discovery in almost every way. It is certainly better looking, packs in the same Land Rover DNA and is competitively priced, thus cannibalising the sales of the Discovery range in the country. The Range Rover Sport at Rs. 1.10 crores (ex-showroom, Delhi) also cuts into the Discovery’s sales as both the models do not have distinguished pricing.
So, what does Land Rover have to do to get the sales going for the Discovery range? Well certainly, price it more aggressively. Most of the current Discovery owners in the country are folks who have owned the SUV overseas or know the true potential of the vehicle. Certainly, the Discovery is a very capable product that can tackle any kind of terrain keeping its occupants in utmost comfort, but seems exorbitantly priced. As a CBU, the Discovery 4 attracts unnecessary taxes that just add up to the asking price of the SUV. However, if Land Rover decides to assemble the Discovery in the country, the luxury SUV might finally see some more attention in the segment.