JLR Debuts Range Rover House in India
JLR Debuts Range Rover House in India

The British luxury SUV brand also took the opportunity to debut its history-making made-in-India Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models

After its big success around the world, Range Rover House made its debut in India last weekend at a private villa in Alibaug, the leafy coastal town across the harbour from Mumbai that is better known for its sprawling mansions that are used as weekend hideaways by city millionaires and billionaires. Organised by JLR India, the invite-only RRH was essentially a day-long retreat for Range Rover clients and associates, where they could indulge themselves in a variety of sumptuous experiences that touched upon each of their five senses. All of this in the presence of some of JLR’s top executives including Range Rover Managing Director Geraldine Ingham, JLR Chief Commercial Officer Lennard Hoornik, JLR India Managing Director Rajan Amba and for brief while at the press review on the first day, N Chandrasekharan, chairman of Tata Sons, the owners of JLR.

 

Starting with an hour-long luxury private yacht ride from Mumbai, followed by the drive to the RRH Villa in chauffeur-driven Range Rovers, the day at the House was divided into activities such the Fragrance Lab in the form of a scent-making workshop; Tasting Vault for a Single Malt and Tequila appreciation sessions; a range of culinary experiences, followed by, for those interested, a personal tete-e-tete with the owner of one of India’s leading cigar maker ; Luxe Atelier for a walk-through on bespoke fashion and wardrobe building; and finally a Wellness Sanctuary to experience relaxation though of variety of sessions including sound healing, reflexology and massages. The experiences were conducted by some of the best-known specialists in their respective areas including Vinayak Singh and Swati Sharma of The Dram Club, Raahul Kapoor of Sibling Cigars, Sandeep and Sarah Gonsalves of SS Home, Priyanka Patel of Sound Healing India and others.

 

Range Rover House Alibaug_Entrance

 

The sensory experiences were interspersed with sessions where the invitees were given a birds eye-view of Jaguar Land Rover's rich heritage and contemporary services –the Provenance gallery which showcased a sleek 1970, 3-door Range Rover Velar specially flown in from the UK for the occasion; an interactive basic automobile sketching experience at the Design Studio; and the Bespoke Studio where experts took the clients through the wide range of Range Rover bespoke services that are on offer currently . "The idea behind Range Rover House is to engage with our clients at a deeper level," said Lennard Hoornik, Chief Commercial Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, "It has been a success around the world, and I am sure our Indian clients will also enjoy the experience and keep coming back to it." 

 

Professor Gerry McGovern OBE, Chief Creative Officer at JLR, emphasized the importance of this initiative: "Creativity is best expressed in an enriching, immersive space. Range Rover House is a literal embodiment of Range Rover - an opportunity for our clients to explore our modern luxury vision, transcending the traditional exchange within a showroom." 

 

Range Rover House Alibaug

 

JLR also took this opportunity to debut their made-in-India Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models, with which India becomes the first country, outside the United Kingdom to manufacture these iconic vehicles. By producing these models locally, JLR aims to cater to the increasing demand among Indian customers for high-quality, luxury SUVs while reducing wait times and enhancing the overall ownership experience.

 

“This is a proud moment for all of us in India,” said Rajan Amba, the Managing Director of JLR India, while making the announcement. “As we become the first country to locally manufacture the iconic Range Rover. It is a testimony to the quality standards we have successfully achieved in local manufacturing in India.” 

 

The first of the vehicles will roll out in mid-August. The locally made version of the hugely successful Range Rover 3.0L Petrol Autobiography will be priced at Rs 2.6 crore (ex-showroom), and the diesel version at Rs 2.36 crore, a price drop of around 18 to 20 % as compared to the currently sold imported versions. A similar drop in prices will be seen in the smaller Range Rover Sport models, which will be priced at Rs 1.4 crore (ex-showroom).

 

Man's World India had the opportunity to speak with Lennard Hoornik, Chief Commercial Officer of JLR, during this landmark event. Hoornik shared insights into the conceptualization of Range Rover House, the strategic importance of local production, and the future vision for Range Rover in India, highlighting the challenges and triumphs of strengthening ties with India.

 

Lennard Hoornik_Chief Commercial Officer at JLR

 

Man's World: Can you briefly explain what the Range Rover House is? What's the idea behind it? How was it conceptualized? 

Lennard Hoornik: The concept of the Range Rover House began around three years ago when we launched the Range Rover at the Royal Opera House in London. That was one of my first presentations. Our chief creative officer, Gerry McGovern, had some excellent ideas about special editions and bespoke vehicles for individual clients, especially through our Special Vehicles division. However, we noticed that not everyone wanted to go down those routes. Some preferred the exclusivity of special editions, where we only make a limited number of vehicles.  

We were in California, creating a special Pebble Beach edition with unique colors inspired by the local driftwood and sea. This sparked the idea for the Range Rover House—a celebration of the Range Rover brand and its customers. It’s about more than just selling cars; it’s about sharing the full Range Rover experience. We offer unique activities, from perfume workshops inspired by the sea to design discussions explaining the iconic design of the Range Rover, characterized by its sloping roofline, continuous beltline, and a rising sill line. 

 

Range Rover House Alibaug Wellness Session

 

MW: Does it happen in the same country every year? 

LH: Yes, mostly. We sometimes change locations, trying to host it in beautiful, unique houses. If we need more space or if the event grows, we may need to find new venues. We also have winter and summer editions. Recently, we created a special edition in the Middle East, inspired by pearl diving, with unique interiors reflecting the colors of the sea. We've held about 25 events so far and plan to do around 42 this year worldwide. Each event fosters a mix of clients, influencers, journalists, and staff, all united by their love for Range Rover.

 

Luxe atelier at Range Rover House Alibaug

 

MW: What should attendees expect from the India chapter? 

LH: The local team is working hard to make this first event in India a great experience. Attendees can expect discussions about the car, sensory experiences like creating custom scents, and a variety of interactive activities. The principles of the Range Rover House are applied universally, ensuring a memorable experience everywhere we go.  

This event is significant as it marks the first time, we will produce the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in India. This is a huge milestone for us and reflects India's growing importance in the luxury SUV market. Producing these complex vehicles locally is a testament to India's advancing manufacturing capabilities.  

We aim to elevate Range Rover as an even stronger luxury brand. It's not just about the cars themselves, but about being part of the brand and the community. There is a sense of exclusivity and reward in being part of Range Rover. The ability to meet like-minded individuals during our events is a significant aspect of this experience. 

We are now using these events to announce our local manufacturing efforts, which is a celebration of both Range Rover and India. We are incredibly excited about this development. Next year, we will introduce two special editions produced locally. This initiative allows us to create unique versions tailored specifically for the Indian market. 

The excitement around this project is palpable, and the potential for creating special editions in India is immense. We believe this will further strengthen our brand's presence and appeal in the region.

 

Bespoke Studio at Range Rover House Alibaug 3

 

MW: What's been the response to the Range Rover House events? 

LH: The response has been excellent. Special editions usually sell out within a day or two. We create these events for people who have been loyal to the brand for generations. It’s a celebration of their commitment to Range Rover, fostering a sense of community among our customers. 

 

MW: What are your business objectives for the Range Rover House in India? 

LH: India is witnessing remarkable growth in its high-net-worth individual segment. Naturally, the premium market is expanding at a faster pace than the overall car market. However, our focus at Range Rover is not merely about tapping into this growth; it's about making our vehicles truly desirable. Our customers don't choose our cars out of necessity, but out of genuine desire. And in India, this affluent group of individuals is growing rapidly. Our journey here has gone through several phases. Initially, we focused on launching our vehicles in the market. The next phase involved working on modern luxury design principles and enhancing the luxury experience with our retailers. We now have 25 retail locations across India, fully embracing these principles. 

The third phase was about building the brand's presence and reputation. As we monitored key performance indicators (KPIs), we saw consistent growth. The fourth phase, which we are currently in, involves local production. This has always been part of our long-term strategy. The timing couldn't be better. Last year, we experienced an 80% growth in retail sales in India. The demand, both in terms of orders and retail sales, remains very strong. India is a vast country with immense potential, and it’s clear that this is the right moment for us to enhance our presence here. 

Our local production initiative is a significant step forward, and who knows what exciting developments lie ahead? While I can't reveal everything just yet, it's an incredibly exciting time for Range Rover in India. 

 

Fragrance lab at Range Rover House Alibaugh

 

MW: Are you worried that the entry level cars are a unit growth hasn't been strong?

LH: I don't like the term "entry-level" because I don't believe we have entry-level cars. All of our vehicles, regardless of price point, offer excellent off-road capabilities and luxury. Not everyone wants the largest car; sometimes they prefer something smaller. That’s why we produce models like the Evoque and Velar locally. 

I'm not worried about the growth of these models. While the growth rate might be slightly less because these cars are a bit older, they are still growing in popularity. In a country like India, everything grows, albeit at different rates. What’s interesting is that more people are recognizing the value these cars offer and are willing to invest in them. 

The Defender, for example, is performing exceptionally well. It has the space, off-road capability, and safety features that resonate with the Indian market. It's an incredibly safe vehicle, and it's clearly appealing to the right audience here. Overall, the growth is consistent. The market for our vehicles continues to expand, and that's very exciting.

 

Made in India Range Rover at Range Rover House Alibaug

 

MW: Are you producing for the export market as well? 

LH: No, the focus is on the Indian market, which is experiencing significant growth among high-net-worth individuals. Our local manufacturing will cater exclusively to India, maintaining exclusivity while meeting the increasing demand. 

 

MW: How do you ensure sustainability in such large-scale events? 

LH: Sustainability is a core principle for us. We focus on making great cars with sustainable propulsion systems and use recycled materials. We also have specific targets for reducing emissions across our supply chain. Our efforts include developing unique technologies and promoting efficient energy use. Our sustainability efforts also focus on using recycled materials, efficient transportation, and meeting specific targets for carbon emissions across our supply chain. We recently hosted a major sustainability event to highlight the importance of individual contributions to our overall goals. We are making steady progress and remain on track to meet our long-term objectives. 

 

Locally Manufactured Range Rover with Executive Class Comfort Plus Seats

 

MW: What are your observations on the adoption of electric vehicles and hybrids? 

LH: The infrastructure is crucial for the adoption of electric vehicles. Within the Tata Group, there’s a significant effort to provide the necessary infrastructure in India and globally. The goal is to make electric cars a desirable choice. We already have a waiting list for our new fully electric Range Rover, indicating growing interest in sustainable luxury vehicles. 

By 2039, we aim to be carbon neutral, and by 2030, we plan to have at least six electric derivatives available, alongside our Jaguar models. People still desire great cars and robust infrastructure, and when these elements align, the adoption of new propulsion systems follows naturally. 

Initially, we faced challenges integrating electric propulsion into the Range Rover without compromising quality. However, advancements in technology and significant investment in intellectual property have helped us overcome these hurdles. Currently, around 33,000 people are on the waiting list for our new all-electric Range Rover. This demand shows a strong desire for a vehicle that offers the full space and driving experience of traditional models, with the benefits of electric power. 

To encourage more people to switch to electric vehicles, we must offer compelling alternatives to traditional V6 and V8 engines. Desirability is key, achieved through initiatives like the Range Rover House and other strategic efforts. 

Furthermore, infrastructure development is essential for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Within the Tata Group, there is a concerted effort to provide the necessary infrastructure with a focus on green energy. People should choose electric cars because they want them, not because they have to. This shift will occur when great cars, robust infrastructure, and sustainability are all in place. 

Technology adoption rarely follows a linear path; it progresses in phases, influenced by key events. For instance, advancements in battery recycling are crucial. We recently created a home recycling battery unit using old batteries from our electric models, enabling efficient energy storage and use. 

Ultimately, sustainability is about efficiency. The best way to be sustainable is to maximize energy efficiency. We aim to ensure people can continue to enjoy luxury mobility in the most sustainable and efficient manner possible.

 

Made in India Range Rover at Range Rover House Alibaug

 

MW: What can you tell us about the upcoming Defender Octa? 

LH: Some of my colleagues recently returned from testing the new model in completely different environments. One group tested it in the snowy conditions of northern Sweden. My colleague described how the car effortlessly navigated through snow packs up to a meter and a half high. She was astonished by how the vehicle seemed to handle the terrain on its own, showcasing its advanced software and our growing expertise in off-road driving. 

Another group tested the vehicle in the sand dunes of Dubai a few weeks ago. They compared it with other competitive models, which ended up parked while our car continued to perform. This highlights the unique capabilities of our vehicle, which we will detail further upon its launch. The car combines powerful performance with innovative differential systems and luxury features like the body and soul seats. 

This model also offers a higher seating position compared to the standard Defender, giving you a commanding view of the surroundings. I can't wait for you to drive it. I'm confident you’ll come out with a smile on your face.

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