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Land Rover gives press fleet of new Defenders to Red Cross

Land Rover’s brand-new Defender will be pushed into service much sooner than previously thought, doing some important work for the Red Cross.

On Twitter, Land Rover revealed it would lending its second press fleet of Defender SUVs to the Red Cross, as COVID-19 spreads around the world. The first press fleet was sent to Africa months ago for testing.

This second fleet would normally have been shared among automotive journalists for them to review the new off-roader, but we think you’ll agree journalists driving trucks are pretty much irrelevant at this point.

The new Defenders will be pressed into service as emergency vehicles, a role Land Rovers have filled well for the last 70 years. The rugged SUVs have seen a lot of service around the world, and it’s only fitting the tough truck help with one of the toughest situations the world has ever seen.

On top of those efforts abroad, Land Rover Canada is helping in the fight, too, supplying vehicles and drivers to services delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks to Toronto hospitals. The automaker is hoping to roll out that program across the country, if it can.

Working with the Red Cross is not new for Land Rover — the brand has been involved with the humanitarian network for over 60 years, and even invited its representatives to prototype drives so it could get their feedback during the Defender’s development.

Not only is this actually helpful, it’s good press for Land Rover. The brand’s been associated with rugged, tough vehicles in the past, but has more recently taken on the unenviable reputation of “Chelsea tractor,” named after an upper-class area of the U.K. where rich people buy the trucks purely for social status.

Hopefully this removes some of that image and returns Land Rover back to the tough truck it once was.