New Defender not expected until 2019!New model to be offered in five body styles
New Defender: It should come as no surprise to anyone that the current Land Rover Defender will soon cease production and if you haven’t already placed an order for one of the last ones you are definitely too late. The prospect of enduring two fallow years being Defender-less was a bad enough prospect for some as it was but it looks like we could actually have to wait until 2019 to get behind the wheel of whatever Solihull HQ roll out as the Defender replacement.
Rumour, counter-rumour and massive speculation will certainly keep the Defender legend alive in the meantime but there are, at least, a few details that we know for definite about the New Defender:
Five Body Styles
It looks pretty certain that Jaguar Land Rover will offer the New Defender in five different body styles: two short-wheel-base variants, one long-wheel-base station wagon and two pick-ups, one long and one short-wheel-base
DC100 Concept killed at birth
The highly promoted and showcased DC100 concept (as seen in the sketches above) were only ever meant to be a concept. Well that’s the official line anyway. JLR devoted a huge amount of time and resources building a small fleet of these and dragging them all over the world to be shown at various car shows and media events. Then, possibly as a result of the overwhelming reaction of “No thanks!” from almost everyone who saw them they were quickly demoted to ‘concept-only’ status. Phew!
Although Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s Design Director, promised us that “people will recognise it is a Defender” we can be 100% certain that current Defender fans will gladly argue this point until the end of time. The new Defender will not be a rugged, utilitarian, go-anywhere, unstoppable beast that we associate with the current Defender. It will obviously be a superb off-road vehicle and will be very versatile but as a product it will sit somewhere alongside the Discovery in terms of style, features and build process. The term ‘Hardcore’ has been ditched in favour of increasing sales. There is also the prospect of ever-restrictive standards that must be met by every manufacturer. Safety, emissions and sustainability targets are impossible to meet with the current Defender and these standards are only ever going to get tougher to meet.
Build them quick, sell them fast
It has to be admitted that as good as the Defender is it only sold around 15,000 units per year world wide. In motor manufacturing terms it was a niche-product and JLR made absolutely no money from it. The new Defender will have a target of 100,000 annual unit sales . Jeep sell more Wranglers in a single month than JLR sell Defenders in a whole year.
No vehicle ever to wear the green oval has ever been anything but awesome off-road but the new Defender will definitely be more comfortable on-road. Lets just hope they leave enough flexibility in the design for people to fettle them to be more appropriate for what they need
There is always going to be good supply of Defenders and no shortage of opportunities for specialists like Nene Overland to refresh an older model and build a vehicle to match your exact requirements. But maybe this is a good opportunity to take a look at offerings from other manufacturers? The Jeep Wrangler has a heritage longer than the Defender and is arguably more versatile. It is certainly hugely popular the world over (remember those sales figures I mentioned above?) and there is no shortage of modification options and aftermarket kit to create your perfect truck.
Jeep has announced that a brand new diesel lump is in the pipeline for the Wrangler and 2016 should see the introduction of a factory option pick-up variant to keep business and utility users happy. Jaguar Land Rover’s headache is that they’re allowing the likes of Jeep to get two or three clear years to attract potential customers to jump ship and win them over. Unless the New Defender is a groundbreaking truck it is unlikely that people will go back.
If you want to discuss building or refreshing your perfect Defender then please contact us!