Remember Land Rover’s plans to introduce a new Defender in the next few years? Unfortunately for fans of the iconic nameplate, this has been put on hold, along with the opening of Land Rover’s latest engine plant in India. The original plan was to offer a lightweight Defender model but now, it’s back to the drawing board for Land Rover. The current Defender will still ride off into the sunset in 2015 but, as John Edwards, global brand director for Land Rover said, it’s forced to stay head out of production because of stricter safety and emissions legislation.
That’s not the only reason though. According to Autocar, Tata Motors, parent company of Land Rover and Jaguar, is wary to spend money after the disappointment that was the Tata Nano and Aria SUV. Adding insult to injury, Land Rover has seen its sales in India enter a massive free fall over the past six months. This all culminates to the Land Rover Defender being shelved for the time being, simply because there haven’t been enough profits to help finance production.
It’s believed that the next-generation Defender is three years off from becoming a reality and it will stand on Jaguar-Land Rover’s new all-aluminum chassis. As it stands now, Land Rover’s aluminum body shop can produce 95,000 vehicles a year when running on three shifts. However, there’s some room to add more production, to the tune of 180,000 units. Even with this expanded number, Land Rover is still busy expanding the body shop and when that’s finished, it may be capable of producing four separate models there. Production is also helped by a new agreement Land Rover has to buy aluminum at competitive prices in Saudi Arabia. This would help the British automaker managing costs effectively and enable it to build the vehicle in the United Kingdom.
Like above, it’s not all doom and gloom for Land Rover as it’s expected that a new “premium” Defender will be spawned next to the upcoming Land Rover Discovery–what we know as the LR4 on our shores. Both models will feature a smaller version of Land Rover’s aluminum platform and it’s believed that this mystery flagship vehicle will replace the Discovery, which was discontinued as a name stateside back in 2006. This Discovery replacement will spawn a few different models ranging from those in need of an everyday vehicle to the more adventurous types who go farther than the Whole Foods parking lot. Two new Discovery-replacement models are reportedly being cooked up in the form of a seven-seater and a five seater. There’s also a chance that a smaller model, based on a shortened Evoque platform, and aimed at urban life is in the works, too.
Do you want to see a new Land Rover Defender and have it be available again in North America? Tell us what you think in the comment section.