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  3. Freelander Is Back but Not as a Land Rover: A New Chapter as a Chinese EV

Freelander Is Back but Not as a Land Rover: A New Chapter as a Chinese EV

26 Jun 2024
  • What are the potential benefits and challenges of Land Rover and Chery reviving the Freelander name for a new line of EVs?

The automotive landscape is witnessing a notable revival as the iconic Freelander nameplate makes a comeback, but with a twist. This time, it will not be as a Land Rover but as a series of Chinese electric vehicles (EVs). This move marks a significant shift from its traditional identity, ushering in a new era for the once-celebrated model. Before the Discovery Sport, Land Rover's entry-level offering was the Freelander. Introduced in the late 1990s, the Freelander was Land Rover's first model built with a unibody structure, setting it apart from the brand's other, more rugged models. During its second generation, it was rebranded and sold in the United States as the LR2. Despite its popularity and innovative design, production of the Freelander ceased in early 2015 after a 14-year run.

The Rebirth of the Freelander

The Rebirth of the Freelander

Land Rover, in partnership with the Chinese automaker Chery, is resurrecting the Freelander name for a new line of electric vehicles. This collaboration is not new; the two companies have maintained a successful relationship for over a decade, operating the 50:50 CJLR joint venture since 2012. This partnership has previously brought to market models such as the Discovery Sport, Evoque, E-Pace, and stretched versions of the XF and XE sedans.

The new Freelander EVs will be assembled at a factory in Changshu, China, utilizing a Chery-developed platform. Initially, these vehicles will be sold exclusively in China, with plans for global exports in the future. This strategic move aims to cater to the growing demand for mainstream, affordable electric vehicles.

Interestingly, the reborn Freelander lineup will be marketed independently from both Land Rover and Chery. This decision involves creating a distinct retailer network, effectively establishing a new sub-brand. This approach allows the Freelander EVs to stand on their own, potentially attracting a different segment of consumers looking for cost-effective, eco-friendly transportation solutions.

While specific details about the new Freelander EVs remain scarce, it is known that the vehicles will benefit from design and engineering input from both Land Rover and Chery. This collaboration aims to combine Land Rover's expertise in premium vehicle design with Chery's advancements in electric vehicle technology. There are reports suggesting that these new EVs might share mechanical components with Exeed, a Chery sub-brand that plans to launch in Europe by 2026.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is not the first global automaker to deepen ties with Chinese brands. Recently, Volkswagen announced a partnership with Xpeng for several China-centric EVs, while Audi revealed a similar collaboration with SAIC. These partnerships highlight a broader trend in the automotive industry, where established brands are joining forces with Chinese companies to leverage their market knowledge, manufacturing capabilities, and technological advancements.

The return of the Freelander nameplate as a series of Chinese electric vehicles marks a significant milestone in the evolution of the automotive industry. Through the collaboration between Land Rover and Chery, the new Freelander EVs are poised to capture the growing market for affordable, mainstream electric vehicles. As this new chapter unfolds, it will be interesting to see how the reborn Freelander will shape the future of eco-friendly transportation and redefine its legacy in the automotive world.

Wael Nakhle

BY Wael Nakhle

Wael is an automotive content writer specializes in creating written content for Motor 283. Producing a wide range of content, including blog posts, articles, product descriptions, reviews, and technical guides related to cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles, with an unprecedented passion for cars, and motorcycles.

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