By on April 9, 2012

The Land Rover Defender may be in for a substantial “reboot”, from utilitarian niche vehicle into the brand’s volume seller, when an all-new version goes on sale in 2015.

According to an article in Autocar, one Land Rover exec is quoted as saying that the new car’s focus is to be “functional, durable and affordable”. The article also suggests that production will be in countries outside of Britain, and sub-Saharan Land Rover owners are a focus for the new vehicle’s development. Sounds like the polar opposite of the Evoque, and a return to Land Rover’s roots. No complaints here.

The current Defender is set to die in 2015 as changing environmental and safety regulations call for a total re-design of the car. The next-generation Defender will abandon the Barbour-jacket set in favor of global volume. Land Rover is looking at the Toyota Hilux, a basic, uncomplicated utility vehicle, as a model for the new Defender. The Hilux sold 549,000 units worldwide last year, and Land Rover is looking to cash in on the brand’s strong reputation both as a luxury product and as one of the few vehicles tough enough to handle extreme conditions.

In North America, the Defender took a path similar to the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen and the Hummer H1, as a tarted-up military vehicle sold at an exorbitant markup despite the vehicle’s spartan, low-tech underpinings. By virtue of its British heritage and expensive price point, the Defender has become a bit of a status symbol (see the Louis Vuitton ad above if you need further proof). In the rest of the world, the Defender still has some cachet as a rugged, all-terrain vehicle, but without any of the elitist snob connotations that it carries here amongst the insufferable Anglophile division of the car enthusiast world. Prices of used Defenders will inevitably stay high, as the snob set will remain unable the cope with not just the idea of an Indian-built, reliable Defender, but the idea that the commonfolk will be able to buy one.


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42 Comments on “Land Rover Aiming For Toyota Hilux With New Defender?...”

  • avatar

    Or you could just buy a Lexus GX and get more or less the same thing (a fully capable luxury trucklet), except that it won’t cost a fortune and will probably never appear in a rap video.

    • 0 avatar

      Do the GX and the 4 runner both share the Land Cruiser Prado platform or is the 4 runner a Tacoma underneath. I believe the FJ Cruiser is a Prado underneath too.

    • 0 avatar

      The Land Cruiser Prado (aka Lexus GX) doesn’t exactly fit the picture of a simple, rugged vehicle, even if we leave out “inexpensive”. To get that, you need to go back to a 105 series or an 80 series Land Cruiser that’s built like a rock (sorry, Chevy) and is missing the electrogadgetry of the Lexus.

      • 0 avatar

        I have a 93 80. Even as one of the most stripped down US models around it still has too much stuff. I really want a 70 series but yet again, we don’t get them. We don’t get the 105…all our 100s are independent front suspension.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Defender in a rap video or for that matter in any music video.

      If Land Rover is planning on making it “functional, durable and affordable” I probably never will.

      The new Bentley on the other hand…

  • avatar

    US won’t get it.

  • avatar

    I’m not positive, but I think the car in the pic is an Austin.

  • avatar

    Was Defender _ever_ sold in the U.S.? I heard rumors of Feds stealing and crushing gray-market Defenders. Lots of old Discoveries around, but no Defenders except visitors from Canada.

  • avatar

    Land Rover is already assembled outside of the UK via CKD(complete knocked down) packs, which are parts pre-assembled in UK crated and shipped to foreign locations, and then are re-assembled.

    Often times CKDs aren’t that much cheaper producing the car whole, but they are necessary for sale of Defenders to foreign governments and military, as well as getting around tariffs.

    Land Rover will never approach Hilux sales even if they make it affordable. Hilux has a much more robust global supply chain. Built in China, Pakistan, Philippines, Africa, Thailand, etc. with a real supplier network.

  • avatar

    for a short time…1994 to 1997 I think for official imports, only the 3.9 V8 and mostly two door models

  • avatar

    Those Defenders and Discos people still pay 20K for would have gone to the crusher years ago unlamented, if they’d had any other badge.

    Rover as a consumer product was never about the truck, it was the safari mythos. Pith helmets and lions and oil wells and painted savages.

    Left out of that mythos was the reason Rover was the truck in those places. Not because they were the most well traveled vehicles on earth. Not because of the vehicle at all. But because those unpaved backwaters had been crown colonies and Rover was the home team.

    Anywhere buyers had a choice, it was which Jap truck.

    • 0 avatar

      Spoken like a man who’s never driven an early series Land Rover; the aluminum bodywork alone makes them a better choice than the vast majority of off-road vehicles. Yes, it’s become just another “heritage” story to flog pricey vehicles to people who will rarely, if ever, go off road, but the ruggedness and simplicity of early landies is very real.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        Land Rovers have never had Aluminium bodies- they’re made from an alloy called ‘Birmabright’.

      • 0 avatar

        Robert Gordon, from : “Birmabright is a trade name of the former Birmetals Co. […] for various types of lightweight sheet metal in an alloy of aluminium and magnesium. The constituents are 7% magnesium, sometimes 1% manganese, and the remainder aluminium.”

        Seems Land Rovers have always had 92-93 % aluminium bodies.

    • 0 avatar

      You need to educate yourself about this vehicle and its history. I get the “home team” comment, there is some truth to that, but if the vehicle wasn’t up to the task, it wouldn’t have been in such wide and varied use over so many decades.

    • 0 avatar

      Written like a man who wants to considered a racist. How about we find another way of suggesting a vehicle of Japanese manufacture?

      • 0 avatar

        It is the same story with every vehicle like this we get in the States…The Hi-Lux, The Land Cruiser, and the Defender. Everywhee else in the world gets a real off road truck with a diesel and manual trans. We get a petrol guzzling motor hooked to an auto with heated leather seats. And no, I don’t want a jeep…too small and can’t tow.

    • 0 avatar

      20k? More like 35k for one in need of rebuild.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      Land-Rover not Rover.

    • 0 avatar

      How about you apply your intellectual powers on the object of your indoctrination? Or perhaps that may require an intellectually and historical honest understanding of the brand and its competition rather than just a simple bias against Land Rovers.

      In your colonialism theory you (conveniently?) overlooked that there was a total absence of Japanese alternatives to Land Rovers to optimistically the late 50’s or more realistically the mid 60’s.
      Hmm, maybe that might explain why they were the most well traveled vehicle on earth?

      Many buyers had a choice between Land Rovers and Japanese equivalents and chose the former, myself included. In fact where I live Japanese 4×4’s did not overtake Land Rovers til the late 70’s. Nowadays we may be the minority, and there may be good reasons for that, but leave out all the BS and ill-informed generalizations.

      Oh and enjoy your ignorant Japanese truck mythos.

  • avatar

    Wow, I keep forgetting that not everyone lives in the Northeast. There are quite a few on the main line. Yes, the defender was officially sold in the US for several years in the 90s.

  • avatar

    I think that is great idea, however I wonder what engine will LR use(currently the Defender is using s Ford motor)? Without Ford, LR do not have an engine both gas or diesel that is suitable for the job. For it to make it by 2015 I don’t think they have time to do an all new engine. Reason why Toyota do so well with the Hulix/Land Cruiser(LC70)is because they have a great “cheap to build”+”cheap to maintain” engines for them, not to mention the 4WD drivetrain. So I wonder how LR could rearch their objective in such a short time.

    And non of the big player in the industry is willing to sell engine to TATA, because no one want it to make it.

    It will be interesting to see what motors this rig going to end up with when it come out in 2015

  • avatar

    Back when I got out of college and got my first job, I seriously considered buying a New old stock defender 90 (it was ’98 – they acutally didn’t sell all that great in the Bay Area when I was looking). It probably would’ve been simultaneously one of the best and worst car buying decisions I’d ever made. I’d be in the poor house by now for sure.

  • avatar

    ‘Prices of used Defenders will inevitably stay high, as the snob set will remain unable the cope with not just the idea of an Indian-built, reliable Defender, but the idea that the commonfolk will be able to buy one.’

    To that end, has anyone priced a used Land Cruiser in the US lately? 10-15 year old LCs in the Twin Cities with upwards of 200k miles still fetch about $10k. And good luck getting a loan for that due to age (at least at reasonable interest rates).

    A Defender would be cool, I just don’t want to know how much a new one is…

    • 0 avatar

      I noticed that when shopping for a beater SUV. For a better, and much more humorous, comparison- cross shop a Land Rover Discovery or Range Rover with the Land Cruiser. A Rover with 125-150K miles will barely sell at above scrap value, while the Land Cruiser with 200K is still near $10K.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    So will you be able to mount machine guns in the Rover, or will Toyota maintain its monopoly on technicals?

    • 0 avatar

      Nah, Toyota will keep the title for best technicals. They’re found all over the world, in any zone of conflict.

      My grandson emailed me some pics from Afghanistan and what brand was the destroyed technical? You guessed it!

      Another thing, no Land Rover will ever come close to the price of a HiLux either. A Tata maybe. A Land Rover? No way!

    • 0 avatar

      If your life depends on it, which truck would you buy? It’s a no brainer!

  • avatar

    The Hilux is a cheap and tough and reliable as nails truck…neither part of this description really applies to Land Rover products.

  • avatar

    I for one would welcome a back-to-basics Land Rover with a reasonable price tag. Same with the Mercedes G-wagon (although I’m not sure if these ever had a reasonable price tag anywhere in the world).

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