Land Rover Australia’s product and planning manager Brett Lewis-Driver has confirmed a new Defender is in the pipeline when asked by 4x4Australia at the recent launch of the new Discovery.
Here’s what you need to know: yes, it’s definitely coming. Yes, there’s a team working on it now. No, it’s not a priority and won’t happen before 2020. Yes, it will be the most off-road capable model in the Land Rover line up.
No, it won’t be built off a new platform and will use an existing platform. And Finally, no it won’t be designed for commercial, rural or military use; it will be a recreational vehicle only.
Also at the launch, Jaguar-Land Rover Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner said “A pickup would be the number-one desired product for us,” not surprising given the booming sales of dual-cab utes currently in Australia.
And utes are also very much in Land Rover’s core DNA, so it’s an excellent product fit as well."
Logically it seems that Defender will come in a few body variants with priority given to a dual-cab ute with other variants to follow.
But given everything also points to the new Defender being built off the Discovery’s aluminium-monocoque platform rather than a separate chassis, having a vast number of models -as was the case with the old Defender -will be very expensive.
After a dual-cab ute, a five-door wagon seems the most likely variant perhaps followed by a short-wheelbase three-door wagon or even an extended-cab ute.
By using those four basic body styles and with a choice of couple of engines, optional wheel and tyre spec you could quickly flesh out a model range. Lewis-Driver also indicated that smaller brakes are being developed to allow a more practical wheel and tyre spec somewhere south of 19s.
Perhaps the best news is the happy relationship that Land Rover appears to be having with Indian owners, Tata.
For what seems like a love of the iconic British brand, Tata is pouring money into Land Rover but at the same time letting Land Rover get on with the job of developing new models like the Defender.