Jaguar Land Rover on Wednesday announced it has acquired Bowler, which will form a new division of the automaker's expanding Special Vehicles Operations skunk works.

Many readers may never have heard of Bowler but those who have will recognize the British firm as an off-road specialist that manufactures racing SUVs based on various Land Rover models, namely the Defender.

The vehicles are designed primarily for rally raid competitions such as Dakar, but in recent years Bowler has branched out into road-going vehicles.

Jaguar Land Rover and Bowler have worked closely together for decades. Bowler even appointed a former Land Rover chief engineer, Steve Haywood, to oversee the operations back in 2012. With the acquisition, the two firms will now work together in-house for the first time, and fortunately no permanent jobs will be cut in the transition.

Bowler's expertise in all-terrain vehicle dynamics, low-volume production, and proving the durability of components under extreme conditions should be a boon to Jaguar Land Rover, especially for the automaker's oft-rumored off-road performance line. Land Rover tested the waters with 2017's Discovery SVX concept, and while that vehicle is no longer destined for production we're likely to see Bowler help develop something similar. Don't be surprised if Bowler even becomes an off-road performance sub-brand for Land Rover, similar to the existing on-road performance sub-brand SV.