times at Jaguar Land Rover. A full unveil of the XE,
Jag’s keenly awaited 3-Series rival, is almost upon us, but to tide us over,
some breaking news: the company has formally launched a new division called…
if you want a six-wheeled Range Rover clad in armour-plated unobtanium, you
know who to call.
Headed up by former Land Rover brand director John Edwards, Special Ops is split across four key areas – Special Vehicle Operations, Vehicle Personalisation, Heritage, and Branded Goods. Having covertly supported a healthy cottage industry of classic specialists and high-end modifiers for years, JLR has clearly twigged that it was missing a major revenue-earning trick.
“When things are going well, we want to do something different, something really exciting,” JLR Chief Executive Dr Ralf Speth says. “The top end of our customer base has grown, so we’ve created a specialist team to enhance and personalise the experience our most discerning customers have with our brands.”
Ex-Williams Advanced Engineering man Paul Newsome heads up the SVO division, tasked with developing ultra-fast derivatives of existing Jaguars and Land Rovers. These promise to be so extreme they’ll make even Jag’s current R performance flagships look lily-livered, which is no mean feat.
Beyond even that, expect a series of low-volume ‘collectors editions’, some of which will be available to purchase on an ‘invite-only’ basis. The sky – or perhaps more accurately the size of your bank balance – is the limit.
It’s not an earth-shattering revelation. Aston Martin has its ‘Works’ outfit, and Q division. McLaren gave the world the X1 last year (thanks very much, lads). And Ferrari operates a similar bespoke ‘tailor made’ service out of its Maranello, London or New York ateliers, and also allows clients to commission special project one-offs.
But with a new Special Operations Technical Centre due to open later this year, JLR is clearly thinking big, rolling its luxury, performance, and heritage aspirations into one almighty effort. It’s certainly a step on from the recent announcement about the reincarnation of six original lightweight E-types, all of which were immediately snapped up.
“The importance of lineage and heritage in emerging markets is very significant,” John Edwards notes. The question now is, if anything is possible, what would you have?