Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations: What does the SVO badge stand for?

If you were among the millions of people who watched the royal wedding over the Victoria Day long weekend, you may have noticed the vast number of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles present during the ceremonies. The pre-eminence of vehicles from the two luxury British brands was no doubt a nod to their long-standing association with the royal family. In fact, Land Rover supplied the first bespoke ‘State Review’ car for the Royal Family in 1953, and the brands are the only two automotive companies to hold all three Royal Warrants from Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

A success story

Setting aside nationalistic considerations, one can assume that the Royal Family has come to appreciate Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles for the style, distinctiveness, capability and performance of their products – qualities that have allowed these jointly owned manufacturers to stand out in the automotive landscape. The brands have been able to grow their portfolios extensively over the last few years, with Jaguar expanding into the Sport Utility Vehicle market and Land Rover expanding its Discovery and Range Rover portfolios. There is no denying that the two brands are a combined success story.

Bringing tailor-made to the next level

The appeal and interest garnered by Jaguar and Land Rover has no doubt engendered an interest in unique vehicles that bring capability, exclusivity, distinctiveness and performance to the next level. It is from this demand that Special Vehicle Operations was born. The division is responsible for producing “halo models, limited run collector’s editions and high-specification vehicles,” as well as special task vehicles – for use in diplomatic roles or for the film industry, for example. Of course, projects like this are far from a new reality for Jaguar Land Rover, but Special Vehicle Operations brings the management, specialists, tools and facilities responsible for these projects under one roof.

State-of-the art facilities

The division operates from its own state-of-the-art facility – the Jaguar Land Rover Center of Excellence, located near Coventry, England. The 215,000 square feet facility houses a team of 250 automotive specialists, a world-class paint facility and 40 engineering inspection bays. Special Vehicle Operations is thus able to perform mechanical, design and technological improvements in-house. As stated by John Edwards, managing director of Special Vehicle Operations:

“SVO is about pushing the boundaries and making vehicles that stand out. These are not just great looking cars. We make outstanding cars. Cars with real substance and real integrity.”

SVO: Areas of focus 

A real advantage of SVO is the ability to really accentuate the strengths of a vehicle and focus efforts on maximizing them. As such, Special Vehicle Operations produces three distinct categories of vehicles:

SVAutobiography represents ultimate luxury. So far, the one model to have received this badge is the Range Rover SVAutobiography, available in Dynamic and Long Wheelbase versions.

The SVX badge is used to describe models modified and optimized to maximize all-terrain capability. The Land Rover Discovery SVX, planned for 2019, will be the first model to wear this badge.

SVR describes vehicles optimized to maximize on-road performance. The first vehicle launched from SVO was the Range Rover Sport SVR, which upon its introduction set the lap time record for a production SUV at the Nürburgring, as well as the overall record for a production vehicle at the Pikes Peak hill climb and on the 99-turn Tianmen road in China. Following in the footsteps of the Range Rover Sport, all Jaguar models to be modified by Special Vehicle Operations have received the SVR designation. The 575 horsepower Jaguar F-TYPE SVR was the first creation, and the next model to enter production will be the 2019 F-PACE SVR.

Special Projects

Image Source: Motor Trend

In addition to these advanced models, Special Vehicle Operations is also involved in producing limited run collector’s editions, such as the upcoming XE SV Project 8, which has already beaten a Nürburgring lap record. Furthermore, SVO is responsible for vehicles adapted to very specific tasks. For instance, the Range Rover SENTINEL is an armoured version, well suited to use by diplomatic corps, while the Land Rover Project Hero is an advanced communication concept vehicle equipped with a drone, which will be trialled by the Austrian Red Cross to analyze how it may help speed up response times in search and rescue missions. Seeing as the Bond franchise is almost as British as the Royal Family itself, it is also fitting that Special Vehicle Operations prepared the Defenders and Range Rover Sport SVR that were used in the latest Bond film, SPECTRE, in addition to teaming up with motor racing specialist Williams for the production of the Jaguar C-X75 featured in the movie. 

An exciting future

Special Vehicle Operations may be quite new, but there is no denying that in their short existence they have already succeeded in providing vehicles that bring exclusivity, performance, luxury and capability, while also being able to modify Jaguar Land Rover vehicles to perform and excel in any role. It will be fascinating to see what vehicles are produced in the future by this elite division of Jaguar Land Rover.