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Land Rover Defender 90 launch delayed by COVID-19

Land Rover has quietly pushed back the launch of the new Defender 90, the smaller, three-door version of the rugged off-road vehicle.

This notice appears in small print on Land Rover's consumer website: "Defender 90 production and first customer deliveries have been delayed as a result COVID-19 related supply chain constraints. Please contact your local retailer to place an order for Defender 90 and timing of deliveries."

The Defender 90 "is not available as a Model Year 2020. It will be launched as a Model Year 2021, expected to be in market early 2021," Land Rover spokesman Joseph Stauble told Automotive News in an email. That's a delay of four to six months from original launch plans.

Jaguar Land Rover's plant in Nitra, Slovakia, which builds Defenders for all of the company's global markets, is running on just one shift and is working to fill a backlog of more than 20,000 sold Defender orders. The plant also builds the Land Rover Discovery.

It's not clear how plentiful the Defender 90 will be next year. Land Rover is planning 500 First Edition launch models.

JLR has not said when it will add shifts to the Nitra plant. Only the five-door Defender 110 is available now, but those models are in short supply as dealers deliver them to customers who have been waiting more than a year. Several 110s are listed on eBay Motors for over sticker price.