Jaguar Land Rover is reviving the Freelander as an electric SUV to compete with BYD in the world’s largest EV market. The Freelander EV is part of JLR’s plans to revamp the brand as the industry shifts to electric.

The iconic “House of Brands” under JLR, including Range Rover, Defender, Discover, and Jaguar, is looking to find its identity as the industry shifts to electric.

During JLR’s Investor Day 2024 on Tuesday, the brand announced it will revive the Freelander, which has been out of production for a decade, as an EV brand. The Freelander SUV was built from 1997 to 2015 but was succeeded by the Discovery Sport in 2016.

JLR signed a letter of intent to license the Freelander brand in China with Chery Automotive. The brand will expand Jaguar Land Rover and Chery’s joint venture (CJLR), opening a new chapter.

Adrian Mardell, JLR’s CEO, said the new collaboration, “combined with the appeal of the Freelander brand, promises a very exciting future for CJLR.”

(Source: Jaguar Land Rover)

Under the proposed agreement, CJLR will produce EVs under the Freelander based on Chery’s platform. The Freelander EVs will be independent from Chery and JLR’s existing brands.

The new Freelander EVs will be built at CJLR’s manufacturing plant in Changshu. Although it will “initially be sold in China,” the new EV brand is “destined for global export” over time.

2011 Freelander 2 (Source: JLR)

Jaguar Land Rover looks to take on BYD and others in the world’s largest EV market. Although the company has grown steadily in the region over the past six years, China’s premium auto market is moving quickly. The company said the growth is “propelled by premium segment growth coupled with rapid electric vehicles penetration.”

Yangwang U8 (Source: BYD/Yangwang)

Automakers, like BYD, are aiming for the luxury segment with new energy brands like Yangwang.

BYD’s Yangwang brand began delivering its first vehicle in December 2023, the U8 off-road SUV, starting at over $150,000 (1,089,000 yuan). In February, it launched the U9 electric sports car.

Can Jaguar Land Rover’s new Freelander EV brand compete with market leaders like BYD? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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