Land Rover Banking On Next Defender To Boost Sales Volume

Land Rover’s current Defender SUV is the stuff of legend. The spiritual descendent of the original utilitarian-and-mechanically-bulletproof Land Rover, the Defender has a reputation for being one of the most capable off-road vehicles in the world.

What makes the Defender great off-road impacts its appeal on-road, however. Its no-nonsense design, Spartan interior and unpleasant on-pavement ride have limited sales of the current Defender model, which will be phased out of production by 2015 or so.

The replacement for the Defender will be based on the DC100 and DC 100 Sport concepts originally shown by Land Rover at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. Where the current Defender enjoys only niche sales, Land Rover sees the next generation Defender as a potential volume leader for the company.

As Land Rover head John Edwards explained to Inside Line, changing the Defender from a limited-appeal SUV to a mainstream product requires creating a range of new-Defender based vehicles that have both broad appeal and a lower price tag than current Land Rover offerings.

How low? Low enough to target the Toyota Hilux pickup, sold in the United States as the Toyota Tacoma, for dominance in the growing leisure market. Worldwide, Toyota moved some 549,000 pickups last year, and Land Rover would be happy with even a portion of that volume.

Expect the next Defender to carry a price tag between $30,000 and $40,000, and expect the United States to factor heavily into Land Rover’s sales projections. We say that’s a good thing, since the current Defender was pulled from the U.S. market for lack of airbags and door beams at the end of the 1997 model year.
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Comments (9)
  1. just name the bloody thing right. If they are intent on using the Defender nameplate (which i still dont agree with), then at least call them the Defender SPORT....its so easy, it will appease all the fans of the original go anywhere no frills 4x4 while also having a recognisable and cool name to utilise without stepping on the toees of the legend

  2. @WizardsLore, I'm with you on that...

  3. its a no brainer. and iff they do it right it will smash the small SUV market and give it a wake up call to make them more desireable visually. and i personally think the Sportage and ix35 twins are trying too hard to have street cred and although look great in a showrooom look really awkward on the road. My soon to arrive Tiguan remains the bench mark for all round in this space till the Defender SPORT arrives.

  4. @WizardsLore, congratulations on the new Volkswagen!

  5. @ Kurt, thanks. Ive picked up the 155, which i think is the SEL in the states. The same engine and power dropped in from the GTI. We dont get Keyless entry here in Oz due to shortages of importing the package, we dont need Nav ass getting lost is half the fun of driving, and i didnt want to pay the premium of nearly $2k for Xenons but i got everything else thats needed. the total price would make your eyes water, but if you were to convert the top end price for the SEL in USD to AUD you wouldnt even get a base 118 manual here !

  6. @WizardsLore, in addition to our FJ, I also own a 2011 VW GTI, which is my daily driver when I'm not behind the wheel of a press fleet car. In other words, I know the VW 2.0 TSI engine well, and I think you made a great choice.

  7. @ Kurt, thanks im really looking forward to picking it up....Black on Black Leather. Got it with the 7 speed DSG too. Might down the track try and get the Mark VI Golf R paddle shift steering wheel retro fitted. im assuming you got the Mark VI GTI? great car, and perfect for cruising or blasting through mountain passes

  8. @WizardsLore, it is indeed a Mk VI. Mine has an APR Stage I tune, and I've ditched the stock wheels and tires for something lighter and stickier. To reduce understeer, I've also added a stiffer rear sway bar.

    It's a surprisingly fast car on the track, but it's still a comfortable car for road trips. In fact, I bought the car to run this year's One Lap of America event, before my budget went to replace the A/C in my house...

    Mountain passes would indeed be fun, but (sadly) Florida doesn't have any.

  9. @ Kurt, the APR Stage 1 tune sounds interesting i have seen it before. I have a set of 20's sitting inthe garage that will actually fit the Tig, they have a 35 offset so no adjustment needed there just need to get some H&R springs to lower it down a tad. currently got the car optioned onthe 18'New York style which to be hinest look brilliant on the car. so im still juggling it. But yea i may very well pursue the APR tune once the missus gets used to the current power of the car.

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