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Land Rover swallows up Bowler

Saved from administration, Bowler will now be part of the JLR Special Vehicles empire

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Nothing like a bit of good news just before the festive break, is there? And that's what we have here, Jaguar Land Rover having acquired off-road experts Bowler for its Special Vehicle Operations branch.

Bowler will complement SV (more performance and luxury in production cars), vehicle personalisation (which does the one-offs) and Classic (the old stuff) in the SVO portfolio, Jaguar Land Rover describing the fourth business under the umbrella as a "natural fit". Makes sense, too, given Bowler was always best known for its wild Land Rover derivatives like the EXR-S, and there already having been a previous brand partnership with the Defender Challenge of a few years back.

SVO MD Michael Van Der Sande said: "For almost 35 years the Bowler name has stood for innovation and success, with a reputation forged by its participation in the world's toughest off-road motorsport competitions. It's exciting that we're now in a position to participate in and lead the Bowler brand's future as part of Jaguar Land Rover."

The focus for now is, understandably, on maintaining some stability for Bowler customers and staff during the transition; that's more crucial than ever in this instance, given reports that the acquisition saved the firm from administration.

After that, though, who knows? It would great to see Bowler, with its reputation, given some of the more extreme SVO projects to run with and realise - the cancelled Discovery SVX surely being the most obvious one.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves for now, though; the news, and the very good news, is that Bowler has been saved from a very perilous situation by surely the best manufacturer for it. With a new decade imminent, let's hope the new partnership can realise its considerable potential in the 2020s - we'll bring you more soon!


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