LAND ROVER TO OFFER NEW DEFENDER IN THREE SIZES

Land Rover will offer three variants of its new Defender and four personalization options to widen the appeal of its iconic off-roader, according to people familiar with the project.

The variants will include an eight-seat version while the personalization options will target a range of customers from off-road fans to buyers looking for a high-riding urban runabout.

The three variants will be:

– The three-door Defender 90. This will have five-seat and six-seat versions and will grow in length to 4323 mm (170 inches) from less than 4000 mm in the previous generation.

– The five-door Defender 110. This will have five-, six- and seven-seat versions. It will increase in length to 4758 mm (187 inches).

– The Defender 130. This variant will be a five-door, eight-seat passenger vehicle that is 5100 mm (201 inches). Previous the Defender 130 was sold only as a double-cab pickup.

The Defender’s 90, 110 and 130 naming system originally referred to the wheelbase length of the various versions in inches.

The Defender 90 was described in a leaked Web presentation as the “halo” model that remains closest to the Defender’s original iconic boxy shape. It will be aimed at customers who are “young, affluent, fun-seeking and individual.”

The 110 is the “definitive Defender” aimed at adventurers, couples and self-employed people. The range-topping “Premium Explorer” 130 will be pitched at families with an “active lifestyle.”

Land Rover built more than 2 million units of the previous Defender, which became an off road icon before its 67-year production run ended in 2016.

The second-generation Defender will be unveiled on Sept. 10 at the Frankfurt auto show. The 90 and 110 variants will go on sale next year, followed by the 130 about 12 months later.

The new model will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s new plant in Nitra, Slovakia. It is underpinned by the D7u platform already used by the Discovery, which is also built in Nitra.

This means the new Defender will become an all-aluminum unibody vehicle. The original Defender, launched in 1948, featured an aluminum bodyshell bolted on a steel ladder frame.

Wider appeal
Land Rover needs to win new customers beyond fans of rugged off-roaders for the new Defender to bring in profit.

To reach a broader customer base than pure off-road enthusiasts, the new Defender will have four personalization lines with different accessories and features, a source close to the company told Automotive News Europe.

These will be:

– Country for weekends in the countryside.

– Adventure with features making it something like an SUV “grand tourer.”

– Urban for cities and the suburbs. It is expected that this option will be popular for the three-door 90 model.

– Explorer with features that make it a “go anywhere” off roader.

The four accessory packs could help to win back business lost to vehicle modifiers who offer many options for Land Rover vehicles, particularly the previous generation Defender.

The Defender will be launched with conventional and mild-hybrid versions of JLR’s Ingenium range of engines. A plug-in hybrid model will join the range after its launch, JLR has said.

Broader reach
Besides Europe, the new Defender will also be offered in the United States and China, two regions where the previous generation was not officially distributed.

The U.S. is Jaguar Land Rover’s largest single market. JLR’s U.S. sales rose 8.1 percent to 139,800 vehicles in its fiscal year that ended March 31, according to company data. China sales fell 34 percent to 98,900. Sales in Europe, excluding JLR’s UK home market, declined by 4.5 percent to 127,600 units. UK sales rose by 8.4 percent to 117,900.

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