Land Rover's parent company has filed a trademark application for the Freelander name with the European Intellectual Property Office, potentially hinting at the revival of the defunct compact crossover.
While a trademark application is far from confirmation that an automaker is working on a certain model, they can provide some insight into a brand's future product roadmap. A new Land Rover Freelander is not outside the realm of possibility, either. Crossovers are outselling cars in most markets at an increasing rate and Land Rover is well-poised to capitalize on the demand – so long as it has the right products.
A recent Autocar report indicated Jaguar was looking to introduce two new crossovers called the A-Pace and B-Pace, both of which would use BMW's new front-wheel-drive-based architecture. The report also said these crossovers would spawn a new Land Rover entry-level model that may use the Freelander name. The recent trademark filing seems to support these rumors and bolsters the publication's predictions of a Freelander revival.
The Autocar report also said the new Land Rover Freelander will draw inspiration from the 2011 Land Rover DC100 Concept – a boxy, two-door off-roader with a footprint similar to a two-door Jeep Wrangler. It's expected to go into production for the 2021 model year, so if the rumors are true, Land Rover should have a Freelander-related announcement to make before the end of next year.
A small, front-wheel-drive-based crossover would allow Land Rover to compete with other small luxury crossovers such as the BMW X2, Volvo XC40, and upcoming new Mercedes-Benz GLB. The brand's least-expensive offering currently is the Discovery Sport, which is still quite expensive, with prices starting at $47,400.
The Land Rover Freelander was introduced for the 1997 model year. The second-generation model, marketed as the LR2 in North America, was introduced in 2006 before the nameplate was axed at the end of 2014.