Land Rover Is Giving Its Luxury Cars a Vegan Upgrade

Updated October 6, 2019. Land Rover is giving some of its luxury Range Rover cars a vegan-friendly upgrade.

Land Rover recently unveiled leather-free and vegan materials designed for the 2020 Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Velar, and Jaguar I-Pace. The cars debuted at the New York International Auto Show in April. The company says times are changing and vegan materials are the future, dictating the shift. As a result, the new materials are made from plastic bottles, eucalyptus fibers, and a leather-free wool blend called Suedecloth.

Massimo Frascella, the vegan creative director of Land Rover, told the Economic Times, that fifty years ago a leather couch “was the height of luxury. Now in the best hotels and homes you’d never see that.”

He added, “it’s a similar process with cars. Going forward, sustainable design is providing the framework for change.”

A new leather-free interior is available for the new Range Rover Evoque | image/Land Rover

Winning World Car Design of the Year

The Range Rover Velar won 2018’s World Car Design of the Year for its focus on innovation and sustainability. It has a fully leather-free option.

According to Business Insider, “The World Car Design of the Year category, and the corresponding award, are meant to highlight new vehicles with innovation and style that push established boundaries.” The winner was decided by a panel consisting of seven “highly respected world design experts.”

“The Range Rover Velar is an outstanding, superior SUV,” Professor Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said. “Compelling modernity, eye-catching design, innovative Touch Pro Duo infotainment technology and a clear focus on sustainability – what a combination. This product speaks for itself.”

Changing Attitudes

When asked about the decision to offer a leather-free interior two years ago, Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern told Drive“The attitude towards animal by-products is changing.That whole world of luxury is becoming more sophisticated,” he said. “And people are looking for ways to reconcile the way we use the world to create these products, things like fabrics that are more sustainable and have a better sustainable footprint.

McGovern concluded his thoughts, stating that he’d personally be “quite happy” to move away from leather “tomorrow.”

It’s a result of his ethics: “I don’t like that we have to slaughter all those cows to create leather.”

Using a Wool Blend

The leather-free Suedecloth interior by Kvadrat includes a wool blend.

While many are aware of the cruelties of the leather and fur industries, few realize that wool is not kind to animals. An estimated one million sheep die each year as a result of cold exposure from being sheared too early.

Other perils faced by sheep in the wool industry include mulesing, a practice used to prevent flies from laying eggs in the skin folds. But mulesing is painful for the sheep. The farmers cut the skin from the animals’ backs and tails without the use of anesthetic. Sheep who no longer produce as much wool are not considered profitable and are typically sold for slaughter.