Land Rover Aiming For Toyota Hilux With New Defender?

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
land rover aiming for toyota hilux with new defender

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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  • Tekdemon Tekdemon on Apr 10, 2012

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

  • Icemilkcoffee Icemilkcoffee on Apr 10, 2012

    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).

    • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Apr 10, 2012

      They did not ever have a reasonable price. And, as many rusted ones as I have seen, they were not good value ever either.

  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !