What is Jaguar Land Rover SVO? - JLR's Special Vehicle Operations explained
The SVO brand continues to expand within the JLR group, but what is it and what does it do?
Well, the SVO brand does exactly what it says on the tin; it engineers and develop JLR's more specialised vehicles, versions that sit outside of the mainstream ranges, whether they be luxury or performance focused.
Re-launched in 2014, the SVO brand has been set up to bring all of JLR's specialist, low volume products and services under the one roof, with the plan to continue expanding in order to create an AMG-like halo brand overarching the entire JLR group.
The importance of SVO is such that JLR saw fit to build a new 20,000sqm technical centre, housing a specialist manufacturing facility and paint shop supporting 200 SVO specific staff.
What SVO does within Jaguar Land Rover
So far, SVO develops its vehicles into various sub-brands, each with their own distinct ethos. SVR was the first to appear, and is used for high-performance flagships. SVRs are developed with a sporting angle and must adhere to the pre-requisites of offering a more powerful engine with less weight and improved driving dynamics.
So far we have seen two cars with the SVR badge, with the Range Rover Sport being first to undergo the transformation. The results were impressive as the RR Sport SVR gave traditionally more dynamic rivals like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X5 M a good run for their money while maintaining Range Rover’s unimpeachable off-road ability. The SVR is differentiated from lesser Range Rover Sports by a more powerful 542bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine, unique styling, upgraded interior and a set of significant chassis upgrades.
This duality of nature was also infused into SVR’s second model, the F-Type SVR. The car utilised Jaguar's most potent V8 engine and performance orientated chassis set up, while not compromising on the grand touring aspirations of the F-Type.
But SVO is not just about performance engineering; the second badge to appear was the SV Autobiography moniker on high specification Range Rovers. Here the game isn’t just performance (although the Range Rover SVA is available with the upgraded engine from the Range Rover Sport SVR) but also and the ability to create a product befiting of a £180,000+ price tag. SVO has attempted to do this by focusing on cabin materials quality and offering features only usually seen in long-wheelbase luxury limousines.
The final badge will be SVX, destined for upcoming Land Rover models to signify that they have been engineered to offer the most extreme off-roading capability possible, but again without compromising on-road competence. Land Rover is expected to use this badge on the new Discovery launched this year, although it has confirmed the use of SVX on future products like the new Defender expected closer towards the end of the decade.
SVO will also have a hand in the development and production of limited run specials like the Jaguar F-Type Project 7, but is adamant that future limited run models will be built in the hundreds or thousands, rather than tens.
On top of the development of these halo models, SVO also offers JLR buyers bespoke personalisation of certain models with unique interior and exterior finishes - it will build armoured versions of flagship models like the Range Rover, too. These can all be specified within the ‘Commissioning Suite’, a space within the SVO factory were potential buyers can specify their perfect Jaguar or Land Rover to whatever specification they want.
SVO's role in the future of Jaguar Land Rover
So what can we expect from SVO in the future? Well without the ability to engineer and develop engines from scratch like AMG or the M Division, SVO will have to work with what JLR can give it as a base on upcoming models, but the talent and breadth of engineering capability that the SVO division has should produce some pretty interesting variants indeed.
Development mules for upcoming high performance versions of the Jaguar F-Pace and upcoming Range Rover Velar SUVs have been spotted around the UK giving us a clue to SVO’s immediate future. Be in no doubt, JLR intends to turn SVO into a vital component of its future growth and success.