Land Rover Defender 2020 shoots for volume with multiple body styles
Land Rover has let details relating to its upcoming Defender slip, a vehicle it says is particularly suited to Australia’s “adventure-oriented” buyer.
Speaking at the Australian launch of the second-generation Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar Land Rover Australia’s managing director, Mark Cameron, said the brand hopes the Defender will be one of its “highest selling cars” and will offer “multiple bodystyles” and “new ideas”.
That’s a big deal, as the rugged off-roader could hardly be called a top-seller in its previous, more niche configuration.
Also significant is the fact Cameron confirmed the new-generation Defender will come to Australia in more than a single four-door wagon body.
The brand recently released official images of a camouflaged two-door (set to be dubbed ‘90’, to the four-door's ‘110’) rumoured to be joining the four-door for its 2020 arrival.
Commenting on the upcoming Defender’s target audience, Cameron said it will achieve its “highest selling” role by appealing to all audiences from a “volume buyer” to a more traditional Land Rover customer seeking something more personalised.
Responding to questions focused on the four-year plus gap since the last Defender rolled off the line (in January 2016) Cameron said it was necessary to ensure the Defender is “exactly what we want it to be.”
He followed on by taking aim at competitors like the Suzuki Jimny and Jeep Wrangler by saying emissions technology and safety technology will be critical to the new Defender's success as Land Rover needs it to be a “global model” and achieve sales success not just in Australia and the US, but an increasingly heavily-regulated Europe.
When quizzed about potential drivetrains and local pricing, Land Rover representatives said it was too early to clarify that information for our market, but interest in the vehicle had seen some dealers already taking deposits from keen punters.
While it was promised the new Defender will be “the most capable” vehicle the brand has ever built, it is also expected to have to balance that alongside the storied brand’s renewed push toward hybrid and fully-electric vehicles in a post-'dieselgate' world.
Cameron lamented that customer confusion about diesel and hybrid powertrains, stringent WLTP testing in Europe, and changing governments worldwide contributed to the brand’s multi-billion-dollar losses and staff layoffs in recent times, although things were looking up as the brand’s platform-sharing strategy was coming to fruition with the new Evoque and Discovery Sport range.
Land Rover’s local operation has previously confirmed the Defender will arrive in Australia some time in 2020.
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