Land Rover appoints sustainability project head

Land Rover has made global brand communications director Julian Whitehead responsible for “sustainability” in a bid to shed its image as one of the worst polluters in the car industry.

Whitehead, who was promoted to the global brand communications role from UK sales director two years ago (MW May 26, 2005), will lead the Ford-owned marque’s sustainability programme on top of his brand responsibilities.

A Land Rover spokesman says: “This is something we have been focusing on for two or three years but we needed someone to co-ordinate all our efforts. Julian’s new role stretches beyond pure marketing.”

It emerged last month that Land Rover was considering launching a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle as regulatory and consumer pressure grows on carmakers to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Land Rover is already taking steps to lower emissions from its existing line-up and runs one of the car industry’s largest carbon-offsetting programmes. However, the smallest vehicle in its range, the Freelander compact sports utility vehicle, emits 194g of CO2 per km compared with a target of an average of 140g per km being proposed by the European Commission.

Geoff Polites, who runs Land Rover and sister marque Jaguar, said recently: “Part of the process will include downsizing and smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.”

Ford is “reviewing opt-ions” for the two brands, which is widely expected to lead to a sale.Two former Ford chief executives, Sir Nick Scheele and Jac Nasser, are thought to be in the running to buy both manufacturers.

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