JLR launches subsidiary Freelander for electric cars with Chery technology

JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) is reviving its Freelander brand for future electric cars, which will be based on a platform from its Chinese partner Chery. The Freelander models will be built in China and will also be sold there - for the time being.

Image: Land Rover

As was revealed recently, the Freelander will probably be based on the Chery E0X platform, even if JLR does not specify this name in its official announcement. According to media reports from last week, the E0X platform will be used for JLR electric cars, while the M3X platform will be used for future plug-in hybrids.

So far, only the production plan for the electric cars has now been confirmed: the Freelander brand electric cars are to be manufactured in Changshu, China, “based on Chery’s EV architecture”, as JLR writes. The E0X platform was developed jointly by Chery and Huawei. It covers the A to C segment and can be used for both purely battery-electric vehicles and electric vehicles with range extenders (EREVs). The E0X platform supports 800- and 400-volt system architectures.

The vehicles are officially being built for the 50:50 joint venture CJLR (Chery-JLR) and are to be sold in China under the Freelander brand, at least initially. They are also intended for later export worldwide, as JLR adds.

Freelander was a Land Rover model until 2015 when it was replaced by the Discovery Sport in 2016. In the ‘House of Brands’ strategy, Land Rover is no longer used as the official brand name and the company operates as JLR. Instead, the partly iconic model names such as Defender or Discovery have been elevated to brand names.

The fact that the Freelander name, which has not been used for almost a decade, only has an indirect connection to the current JLR portfolio seems entirely desirable. “Marking the beginning of a new strategic phase for CJLR, Freelander will become a brand reborn under license from JLR as part of a new value creation system independent from both Chery’s existing portfolio and JLR’s modern luxury House of Brands,” the JLR announced. Freelander will therefore not be placed on an equal footing with Defender and Discovery.

“Today we are taking this important strategic step for JLR, one which underlines our ongoing commitment to China and complements our existing business in China,” says JLR CEO Adrian Mardell. “We believe that working together to develop new models of collaboration for the world’s largest and fastest-growing electric vehicle market, combined with the appeal of the Freelander brand, promises a very exciting future for CJLR.”

Yin Tongyue, Chief Executive Officer of Chery Group, added: “Chery and JLR are forging an innovative collaboration model that epitomises our growth path for the future. The blend of Chery’s advanced EV technology with the distinctive appeal of the Freelander brand will undoubtedly provide China and global consumers with a unique electric vehicle experience.”



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