This is a tantalising glimpse of the future of Land Rover.

The Solihull-based company yesterday gave a brief showing at the Frankfurt Motor Show of a 'baby Land Rover' which, if given the green light, could be rolling off the assembly lines in four years.

A 32-second film showed the silhouette of the SUV, which will be smaller than the current Freelander or the Discovery, as it pulled out of a car park. Slightly bigger than a BMW Mini, it resembled a Range Rover Sport but smaller.

It is thought a concept is now being developed, part of the company's response to concerns over fuel efficiency and carbon emissions.

The preview came as Geoff Polites, chief executive of Jaguar-Land Rover, said Ford's sale of the two Midland-based luxury marques could help fund a new generation of models.

Speaking at the International Automotive Show in Frankfurt, at which Jaguar unveiled its new XF sports saloon, he said the companies had attractive products already under development and more could follow.

And in a swipe at politicians who have proposed higher taxes for gas-guzzling cars, with the money raised going into tax cuts elsewhere, he said: "I don't know what gas-guzzling means.

"Our view is that climate change involves everybody and everything, just going after cars is not the real solution. We are looking for a solution that involves petrol companies, road transport operators, everybody.

"I don't see people attacking coal burning power stations with enthusiasm they attack cars. This is a global problem. The solution is not the passenger car, it is about a solution that involves all the players.

"At the moment we are making the biggest contribution when we are one of the smallest. We are the easiest political target."

The baby Land Rover is the creation of Gerry McGovern and his team at Gaydon, Warwickshire. The Land Rover design director was also behind the MGF and Freelander One.

It is thought the new model, if approved, could be made from lightweight materials so it is more efficient and environmentally friendly. The company is looking at hybrid technology but it is not known if it would be used in the new car. Mr Polites said his company was working on improving its technology to reduce emissions and boost fuel efficiency.

On the new Land Rover, Mr Polites said: "Land Rover can be lots of things. You should never stereotype Land Rover, Range Rover or us. There are lots of opportunities available to do other things with those products."

He also voiced optimism for the future of Jaguar-Land Rover, despite Ford's decision to sell the two. "It is our job to make it more profitable. There is a future. We have very strong product and a really solid plan," he added.

"My message to the workers is this is a company with a plan, and the ownership thing we can't do anything about. But we have a really strong plan, a really strong management team, and a really strong working team."