Even though it’s still three years away from becoming a reality, Land Rover believes the next-generation Defender will be the automaker’s best-selling vehicle. Land Rover Global Brand Director John Edwards told Autocar that the automaker has the Toyota Hilux in its figurative cross-hairs and is looking to imitate the Japanese off-roader’s success. Last year, the Hilux moved 549,000 units worldwide while Land Rover’s Defender found 20,000 new homes in 2011.
This doesn’t faze Edwards and the rest of Land Rover though, as the British company is “encouraged to look at [projected sales figures] as a 20-year plan with global potential.” In other words, Land Rover believes it can dominate the global off-roading market with the help from a revitalized Defender model, something the world will get in 2015. The latest Defender is being fleshed out with a “wide appeal and low cost base” in mind and Edwards continued to tell Autocar that Land Rover’s ambitions are “to become a global maker, not a UK maker selling globally.” What can be taken away from this is that Land Rover is looking to manufacture vehicles all over the world, and some will even come with a low base price. This also suggests that the Defender will be pieced together outside of the United Kingdom, though no other locations have been hinted at as of yet.
Land Rover also appears to be unsure what the all-new Defender will be built on. The first production plan involves the DC-100 concept which was first unveiled last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show and was warmly received by almost all who saw it. The second production plan involves building the DC-1oo concept on an Evoque platform and letting it compete against the likes of the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke, since all will share similar wheelbases.
Land Rover is at a crossroads with the Defender and DC-100 concept. There’s a chance each could be combined into one model, but the British automaker has also said it plans on launching 40 new vehicles over the next five years. Edwards has said people thought the DC-100 concept would command a price tag of $59,000 when in reality it’ll be closer to $26,000 to $33,000, roughly half that price. With all of these new models, Land Rover plans to add more sportiness, sharp styling as seen on the Evoque, and more car-like interiors to heighten the public’s interest.