Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
April 10th, 2012
The next-generation Land Rover Defender has some pretty big shoes to fill, according to Autocar. Besides the fact it has to meet or exceed the renowned off-road capabilities of the current model, Land Rover is targeting the sales figures of the insuperable Toyota Hilux pickup which moved 549,000 units globally last year. According to Land Rover’s global brand director John Edwards who spoke to Autocar recently, when the new Defender arrives in 2015, it could very be the brand’s best selling model.
In comparison, the current Defender only managed to move 20,000 units and that pales in comparison to the Hilux’s 500,000-plus figures. Land Rover isn’t expecting to see those sales numbers over night, though, and Edwards says the company is instead looking at the new model as a “20-year plan with global potential.” Edwards also adds that he would like to see Land Rover become “a global maker, not a UK maker selling globally” which probably signals that the Defender would be built in locations outside of England to achieve those targeted numbers.
Besides taking aim at the Hilux’s sales numbers, Land Rover is also taking steps to ensure the new Defender will be affordable to buy, cheap to maintain, and durable just like the old one. “We’re talking to sub-Saharan African buyers about cost of ownership and ease of maintenance,” Edwards said. “That it’s functional, durable and affordable are central to our thoughts. The engineers and designers are really getting engaged.”
Although Land Rover hasn’t confirmed anything, some claim the Defender will be returning to the United States after a 15 year absence when the model was discontinued in 1997 because it didn’t meet federal safety requirements. After all, Land Rover did roll out the DC100 concept said to preview the new Defender at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show and, when it did, John Edwards kept talking about the new model having to appeal to everyone, including Californian surfer dudes. If Land Rover is serious about bringing a low-cost, no-frills, tough off-roader here, I say bring it on.