Land Rover Women's Panel Makes Its Stamp On Future Product Design

The Land Rover Women's Panel is becoming increasingly active, completing two in-depth product appraisals so far this year, a clear sign of the importance of female influence on future Land Rover designs.

The panel, comprised of Land Rover employees from across the company, has a formally recognised role in the future development of Land Rover's four strong vehicle line-up and is intended to reflect the broad spectrum of the company's female buyer.

Panel members scrutinize all areas of the vehicle's interior and exterior to ensure it meets the practical demands of women. Areas as diverse as switchgear functionality, on and off road handling and all round vision have been explored since the group's inception in May 2001. In particular, women offered valuable input on improving the positioning of items under the bonnet. Regularly used fluid reservoirs were placed near the front corner of the engine bay, avoiding the need for people to lean against a dirty vehicle to reach them. Evaluation by the Women's Panel also led to dipstick routes and angles being modified to improve access, while labelling and colour coding was introduced to identify service items to be used by the customer.

Sharon Thomas, Manager, Product Development Operations, said: "Piloting vehicles with the Women's Panel helps us gain a broader insight into our buyer profile, ensuring the needs of female customers are catered for at every stage.

Developing vehicles that are appealing to both women and men helps Land Rover maintain a competitive edge."

RAC statistics show that women buyers take up a 39% share of the new car market with 44% of the used car market occupied by the female customer. The Women's Panel initiative underlines Land Rover's commitment to appeal to women buyers as much as men.

Land Rover leads the UK 4x4 market, having sold in excess of 47,000 vehicles in 2003, a record for the company in its domestic market.

Published 18 February 2004 Melanie Carter

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