Hello ladies and gentlemen of Jalopnik and welcome to Letters to Doug, your favorite weekly column wherein you write Letters to Doug and Doug reads them in his underwear.
If you’d like to send Doug a letter, you can! Just e-mail Doug at Letters2Doug@gmail.com and he will promptly reply! Just kidding. He won’t reply, and he probably won’t feature your letter on the website, but by God if the stars align and your letter is really good and Doug doesn’t hate you, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll see your letter up here with the greats.
Today’s letter is indeed great. It comes to use from a reader I’ve named Theodore, who’s asking a question I’ve received no fewer than 40 million times on Twitter in the last few weeks. Theodore says:
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible
What in god’s name was land rover thinking?
and will you buy one new or used...in a few years? with or without a warranty? SE? HSE?
and do you think the hood will bounce and shudder as much as the nissan? could you possibly get a press car and review?
I have spent a lot of time pondering this very question—What in God’s name was Land Rover thinking?—in reference to a LOT of topics. For example: my Range Rover does not have separate lock and unlock buttons for the doors. Just one button that does both things. This is a problem when you have, say, the driver’s door unlocked and the passenger doors locked, which you often do if you’ve just gotten in the car.
So here’s what happens: you’ve come to pick someone up, and they want to get inside, but the three passenger doors are locked. So what you do is, you press the magic lock/unlock button in order to unlock the doors to let the person in. And what happens next? That’s right: the driver’s door locks in order to get in sync with the other doors. You have to press the button a second time to unlock the doors and let your passenger inside. In every single other vehicle ever manufactured, there is both a “lock” and an “unlock” button. But in the Range Rover, well…
What in God’s name was Land Rover thinking?
Of course, this question can be applied to the Evoque Convertible. In fact, it can be applied to the Evoque in general.
I will never forget speaking to Land Rover dealers, when I worked at Porsche, who told me that Land Rover announced in a dealer meeting before the Evoque came out that they would be making 60 percent of these things in two-door form. Apparently the dealers openly became enraged right there in the meeting during this Powerpoint presentation and began shouting at the presenter. Now something like 80 percent of Evoques have four doors, and the remaining 20 percent are service loaners.
So why would they want a convertible? There is no legitimate, reasonable answer to this question, because every single convertible SUV in history has failed, and every single two-door SUV in history has failed, with only one exception: the Jeep Wrangler. And let’s be honest, folks. The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible is no Jeep Wrangler.
What I think has happened is the same thing that happened with many other two-door SUVs, likely including the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet: some marketer ran some study and discovered that there are people interested in a convertible luxury SUV. Unfortunately, what he failed to realize is that there are precisely 143 of these people, and they will all buy the vehicle within the first month it goes on sale. Then you’re screwed.
This is what always happens with weird vanity projects like this. Take, for instance, the original Honda Insight. Was there a market for those? Of course! And all 47 of those people eagerly paid the list price to buy one the moment it came out. Then, for the next five years, Honda was begging local city governments to buy them at wholesale and use them for parking meter enforcement.
It’s the same story with the Ford Thunderbird, and the Chrysler Crossfire, and the Toyota FJ Cruiser, and the Hummer H2, and the Lincoln Mark LT, all of which had huge momentum when they first came out, and then immediately fell flat the moment early adopters had their cars.
As for your later question, Theodore, of whether I will buy one: the answer is no. But I can’t wait to have one as a service loaner.