A convertible Range Rover Evoque has not been ruled out by Land Rover bosses – and a green light for the drop-top could be given in a matter of weeks.
> In an exclusive interview at the Frankfurt motor show, Land Rover global director John Edwards said the convertible Evoque was still very much on the cards.
As the Evoque approaches 18 months on sale in the UK, there is a need for innovation to keep the model up-to-date. And with Edwards admitting the looks don't need any work, lopping the roof off could be one way of keeping it fresh.
"We have a few tricks up our sleeve for this car in the not too distant future," said Edwards. "I am very hopeful we will confirm the convertible one way or the other very soon. It's certainly not been ruled out.
"It is a stunning car, there's no doubt about that, and it's one of the ways we could keep the model fresh."
However Edwards explained that although a convertible would go down very well in the UK, Land Rover has to make decisions with a global view as it sells cars in 177 markets.
"Convertibles don't travel well – you sell convertibles in the UK, Germany and the US, but we're a company that has a big geographical footprint and in China, for example, they are not so concerned about them and would prefer we invested our money elsewhere," he added.
The Evoque convertible was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012, but has been noticeable since by its absence. So what's causing the delays – engineering struggles?
"All cars have challenges, but engineers love challenges," Edwards told us. "The feasibility of a convertible model is not in question at all – it's not about that, it's more about whether it is the right place for us to invest our money.
"These are difficult decisions to make – they always are – and convertibles are particularly polarising."
With European sales overly depressed by Eurozone troubles, Land Rover held off making the decision on whether to give the Evoque convertible the go-ahead.
"The biggest market for Evoque is in Europe and that drives our decisions. If Europe had been more buoyant it would have made those decisions easier, but the good news is that market is starting to come back.
"It's not a no for the convertible that's for sure and we are on the balance now and about to make a decision. We've got to that time in the process where we have to make a call. We haven't been sitting on hands doing nothing with it – it's got to the stage where we need to start investing money. And we'll be making that call very soon."
More from the Frankfurt motor show:
Tested: Evoque with mind-boggling NINE gears
Our Top 10 cars of the Frankfurt Motor Show
JLR: We can't find enough engineers to fill our new jobs