Is Land Rover about to ditch the Defender? That’s certainly one of the options being considered by the brand’s bosses, as it decides the fate of its iconic mud-plugger.
In an exclusive interview with Auto Express, Land Rover UK’s MD Colin Green explained that coming up with a plan for the 4x4 was a huge challenge. “If we get it wrong we are messing up one of the industry’s biggest icons, and in that sense it’s a tremendous responsibility.”
Other options include fitting cleaner engines to extend the life of the Defender yet again, or a complete redesign, according to Green.
On sale since 1947 and meeting Euro V emissions regulations until 2016, Defender is popular with farmers, rescue services and utility companies. But Green said the issue was how to keep its legendary capability, but expand its appeal to attract new customers seeking a less functional vehicle.
One proposal would see a new version built on the same platform as Discovery and Range Rover Sport, but that chassis is expensive compared to the current one.
“Another option is to carry on the current model using Euro VI engines. A third is that we abandon that section of the market. It’s our least preferred choice because we have serviced that customer base for a long time, but there’s no point in servicing the customer and not the business. We have to make money and all three options are on the table,” said Green.
What do you think the future of the Defender should be? Leave a comment below.