2020 Land Rover Defender Is On Sale, but Getting One May Be Tricky

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
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2020 land rover defender is on sale but getting one may be tricky

Months ago, I was supposed to board a plane to Old Blighty to drive the new Land Rover Defender.

Given the vehicle’s heritage and importance to the brand, I was excited to see if it was a worthy successor to the famous series of SUVs that came before. I was also excited to go to England for the first time. My Austin Powers impression would be so much cooler if performed in the Old Empire (narrator voice: It would not).

Before I could even finish the paperwork for an international excursion, my flight — and everyone else’s — was canceled. As you know, the pandemic killed off new-car launches for the foreseeable future, although JLR merely “postponed” this one.

My sadness about not seeing the English countryside for the first time pales in comparison to the sadness of the Defender buyer who plunks down a deposit only to have to wait for his ride. And keep waiting.

See, the pandemic has crippled production at the plant in Slovakia, just as it has screwed with production at so many other plants across the world. That’s a problem, since technically, you can buy a Defender right now if you’re so inclined. It’s officially on sale in these United States.

Sure, you can buy one, but will it be in your driveway? That depends on supply, which according to Automotive News is limited right now.

The AN story is paywalled, but Autoblog sums up the situation: The plant in Nitra, Slovakia (a sister city of my hometown, not that you care) was shuttered for eight weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s just now getting back on the grind.

The plant could produce up to 150,000 vehicles a year, but the Defender shares the lines with the Discovery. Not to mention that JLR is planning to sell the Defender in 100 markets – and every last unit will emerge from Nitra. There are 188 Land Rover dealers in America.

Apparently, “several hundred” Defenders have been shipped out to American stores, and each dealer expects at least one Defender for its showroom before this month ends. Autoblog did some inventory searching and found a tick over 100 Defenders for sale on sites like Autotrader and Cars.com. Intriguingly, most appeared to be listed at MSRP, with little indication of price hiking due to short supply.

If you want to drive the Defender before signing on any dotted lines, you may also have to wait. The lack of supply means Land Rover is moving units around from store to store to provide test drives, so it’s a matter of timing – will your local store have a demo on hand that you can take for a spin? We’d suggest calling and finding out.

As for us, we hope to drive the Defender somewhere before too long. Obviously, plans are pandemic-dependent. Once we get our mitts on one, whether it’s from the official junket (should it still happen), a dealer-provided test drive, or a loan at home, we’ll give you our thoughts.

If you have Defender dreams, be patient. A dream deferred is usually better than a dream denied, after all.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Lie2me Lie2me on Jun 08, 2020

    There's one within a 50 mile radius of me with a "call for price", yeah sure. I now see where the new Bronco gets a lot of it's look

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Jun 09, 2020

    What, TTAC didn't get to go to that Namibia junket? Everyone else did. Just Google "land rover defender namibia review" and read twenty odd reviews. Seems like a pretty solid vehicle. They should have invited Hummer.

  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.