By on August 5, 2011

How do you replace a classic? That’s the question puzzling Tata-owned Land Rover, as it begins considering replacement strategies for its iconic Defender SUV. According to Autocar, a concept is coming to the Frankfurt Auto Show this fall which will point the direction for a new Defender, but all the details remain up in the air. One option is to redesign the whole thing from the ground up with a bespoke platform, for maximum off-road ability. The other option:

using a cost and complication-reduced Discovery chassis

According to Autocar’s reporting, a production version is expected in the 2015 timeframe, with 60k-80k annual unit volume targeted. The key issues are the ability to offer multiple body types and to be repairable even in remote locations, and dealing with the first issue will require a decision on whether or not to build a pickup version. Brand director John Edwards says

that Land Rover is keenly watching the progress of the Argentina-built VW Amarok pick-up – some inside JLR argue that VW may struggle to make money because the pick-up market is so competitive. He believes that whatever solution Land Rover finally picks, ‘it won’t please everyone’, because with so many fans and opinions it will be difficult to avoid disappointing some. The challenge is to please most of them and more importantly, attract new buyers to a vehicle of which only 18,000 were made last year.

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5 Comments on “Land Rover Mulls Defender Replacement, Pickup Version...”

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “The key issues are the ability to offer multiple body types and to be repairable even in remote locations”

    I haven’t checked Tata’s offer, but this sounds like they want to compete with Mahindra’s offer. Also with Toyota.

    Toyota also serves that market in some countries with the FJ70 Land Cruiser, which in its current form and diesel V8 is awesome.

    I would bet they’re pointing to both commercial vehicle (read mining and “trooper carrier”) and off-road enthusiast markets.

  • avatar

    They could do worse than study the way Chrysler updated Wrangler for the JK generation. It was an amazing success overall. On one hand, an entirely new platform, on the other hand, a large carry-over of design and production methods with a potential for gradual evolution. So they offset the design costs with production costs. I heard that overall Wrangler was profitable, even had volume to elbow with cross-overs despite the poor fuel economy.

  • avatar

    Land Rover gave away the Defender market to Toyota years ago.
    They need to understand that the end users in Markets where Defender is required need comfort, performance, a radio and a good A/C. Most Aid & Project drivers do not go over challenging obstacles and as such do not require the off-road capabilities that a Defender has to offer. More important is the dealer network, availability of cheap spare parts, absence of electronics, and rigid axles.
    Going the turbocharged diesel small displacement route (Tdi, Td5) killed Defender in rest of the world markets (ROW). Compared to a Toyota atmospheric large displacement diesel, Land Rover engines which required regular maintenance could not survive the abuse or the complete lack of maintenance seen in the field. The turbo on Land Rover engines is the first thing to go in ROW markets. Toyota engines just keep ticking over with or without an oil change.
    Toyota also took care of NGO/Fleet mechanics by visiting them regularly, training them and gifting special tools. Land Rover did not and as a result found itself being a “bit of an odd proposition.”
    Defender is a bit of a dirty word in the “new” Land Rover company (Victoria Beckham, anyone?). I expect the second generation Defender to be halo car that would mirror the FJ Cruiser. Chance are it won’t be a workhorse.

  • avatar

    I like the porthole headlamp treatments … very nice!

  • avatar

    If the defenders were marketed for the haves then the have nots just cant afford it.
    Just impossible to reach the market at both ends.

    very same reason Porsche left the Veedub show room.

    yrs ago Mercs were widely used as taxis in Fragrance harbour aka Hong Kong,

    then after a while they stopped selling the mercs as taxi fleets, as it does decimate the posh image she was trying to build. probably by mid 60’s Mercs cannot with the Nissan dsls, they were full sized, light, easy on fuel lastly dont dig deep in your pocket book.

    Defenders probably cost 2:1 with Toyo trucks.

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