Tata Motors-owned British luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to revive its four-wheel drive sport-utility vehicle (SUV) Freelander as an electric vehicle in China with support from its Chinese joint venture partner Chery.

JLR and Chery signed a letter of intent to license the Freelander brand to Chery Jaguar Land Rover for making battery electric vehicles in China.

This comes nearly a decade after JLR stopped the production of the Freelander and replaced it with discovery Sport in 2016.

Chery Jaguar Land Rover will pivot its product range with the rebirth of the Freelander brand, with a new portfolio based on Chery’s EV architecture, manufactured in its existing manufacturing facility in Changshu, Tata Motors says in a statement.

The upcoming launch builds on the two companies’ 12-year relationship. The new model of collaboration leverages fully both parties' complementary strengths – with Chery holding a leading automotive market position in China while JLR has unrivalled heritage and design strength – creating mutually beneficial prospects for the future, the statement says.

Under the proposed new licensing agreement, the CJLR joint venture will pivot to produce an advanced portfolio of electric vehicles based on Chery’s EV architecture, exclusively under the Freelander name.

Freelander will become a brand reborn under licence from JLR as part of a new value creation system independent from both Chery’s existing portfolio and JLR’s luxury brands.

“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. 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,” says Adrian Mardell, JLR’s chief executive officer.

Freelander vehicles were produced between 1997 and 2015. In reborn CJLR form, Freelander will offer a range of mainstream electric vehicles, initially sold in China through a distinct network but over time destined for global export, the automaker says.

The vehicles will be designed in collaboration with both Chery and JLR’s creative teams to create a new positioning in the rapidly growing China mainstream New Energy Vehicle (NEV) market.

JLR clocked record revenues in the financial year 2023-24. Tata Motors, which acquired JLR from Ford for $2.3 billion in 2008, is on track to make the British luxury carmaker debt‑free in FY25. The turnaround is driven by JLR’s focus on high-margin SUVs including Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Defender.

JLR plans to spend 15 billion pounds over the next five years to transition to EVs. The luxury carmaker plans to launch six Land Rover BEVs by 2026. The Jaguar brand will become all-electric by 2025 with prices starting from 100,000 pounds.

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