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Land Rover Starts Work On A New Defender

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On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 4:19PM | By: Chris Weiss

Land Rover Starts Work On A New Defender

While Land Rover has been watering itself down a little of late with offerings like the Evoque three- and five-doors, it still plans to live up to its rough-and-ready image in the future. In fact, the company plans to have products in the three SUV segments: luxury, leisure, and utility.

At the helm of the utility segment will be a new version of the company's Defender, its most hardcore, off-road-ready offering. Land Rover has begun work on a variety of body styles and intends to introduce the first of the new series within two to three years.

Land Rover is currently just working on a strategy for the new Defender, with engineering and design work to follow. It's thought that the British SUV-maker plans to ready a concept version by 2013, with production beginning by mid-2015. The new Defender will be built on a new platform. Like the current generation Defender, the next-gen version will include several body styles such as pickup and station wagon variants.

The new Defender will be positioned to boost Land Rover's share of the utility SUV market. Though the British marquee helped to define that segment, it has since let its grasp slip, with competitors like the Toyota Land Cruiser filling in the gaps. A new Defender will be important to both Land Rover's image and its share of utility sales, which are expected to grow by 25 percent over the next six years.

Land Rover's parent company, Indian automaker Tata, is reportedly all behind the new Defender and plans to sink the necessary funding into the project. According to Autocar, insiders have described the Defender project as the "most ambitious ever undertaken by the British car maker."

It's not clear if part of Land Rover's expanded sales strategy will come from the United States. Land Rover stopped selling the Defender in the United States back in the 1990s due to conflict with U.S. airbag regulations. But a redesign offers the possibility to address these problems and ready the Defender for U.S. sale.


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