Land Rover is considering the development of an independent Defender model line based on the Range Rover along with a pickup based on the standard Defender. However, there are no plans to release a smaller version based on the Discovery Sport.
According to Jaguar Land Rover sources, Jaguar Land Rover believes the Defender has the potential to become another high-profit business like Range Rover, with models bearing distinctive Defender branding to have arrived by 2025. If they succeed, then JLR’s fortunes could be transformed, with at least six of its nine future Land Rover brands generating high-profit margins.
Throughout the past few years, Land Rover has steadily invested in strengthening its Land Rover model families, namely Defender, Range Rover, and Discovery. In the new plan, Jaguar Land Rover could become a kind of supercharged Porsche: selling vehicles with high profits (JLR is targeting a 10 percent margin) and generating enough cash to invest in new models while paying down its debts. When it comes to the Defender, the stakes are particularly high since an expansion of this revered model line could put JLR in the best conceivable financial position in its history.
While JLR has not explained in detail the Defender plan to the media sources, we understand a high-spec range-topper is being designed in conjunction with the new MLA platform. At the end of this year, a highly sophisticated platform called MLA will be used underneath the all-new Range Rover. The platform will also be used for Land Rover’s next-generation Range Rover Sport and Velar as well as Discovery 6.
JLR’s MLA platform is a ‘flex’ platform with a strong electric bias that allows the underpinning models to be equipped with electrified or even all-electric drives. A high degree of off-road capability has been designed while at the same time providing exceptional road refinement.
A new Defender based on the MLA chassis will undoubtedly be a luxury car. According to rumours, the interior will have a less rugged look than that of the upcoming Range Rover. A full-electric model using the MLA platform could be able to compete with Mercedes-Benz’ EQG in the coming years; however, the Land Rover Range Rover and Velar are likely to be prioritised for an EV version on the MLA platform.
It is expected that JLR will develop its engine lineup after the launch of the MLA-based Defender, but the 3.0 litre straight-six petrol and diesel engines will be the primary powerplants in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. Since the plans to expand the Defender family are quite recent, the new luxury flagship version won’t be in showrooms until late 2024 or early 2025.
The Defender 130 is scheduled for release in 2022:
In 2022, Defender will expand its lineup with the introduction of the eight-seat 130. A majority of the extra length is incorporated into the vehicle’s rear overhang, making it significantly longer than the 110 models.
The new Defender 130 is expected to be 5.1m long and targeted primarily at the crucial Chinese and US markets, where there is a high demand for large SUVs. This new vehicle will help expand Defender’s target market and cement the Defender model line as a spin-off brand, alongside the long-mooted pick-up. The 130 will likely have an additional seat over the 110 and be available with the full range of Land Rover powertrains, such as a petrol hybrid or supercharged V8.
Land Rover India:
The Land Rover Defender was launched in India in October last year in both Defender 90 and Defender 110 body styles initially, though the 110 was not available in India. Defender 90 was just introduced earlier this year.
The carmaker plans to update and streamline its model line-up through 2021 with a facelifted Discovery and updated versions of the Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque.