The Jaguar Land Rover is counting on the 2020 Land Rover Defender to bring in new buyers that might not have considered buying a Land Rover in the past.
The Defender last appeared in the U.S. 22 years ago but has lived on in memories of die-hard fans who loved the vehicle’s iconic squared-off looks. The new model has been crafted to appeal not only to die-hard off roaders and “experts” who use it for various kinds of adventures, but also “everyday” buyers looking for a vehicle that is both unique and capable, according to Finbar McFall, Land Rover director of marketing.
“It’s home anywhere,” McFall said of the new Defender, which is making its North American debut at the annual Los Angeles Auto Show. “We think it can be one of our best sellers.”
Joe Eberhard, JLR’s North American president, noted that the Range Rover Sport is now Land Rover’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. with sales of about 24,000 units annually. JLR believes the Defender could match those sales, he said.
The Defender will be available in both a three-door version, with a shorter wheelbase, and a longer-by-a-foot five-door version. The pricing for the three-door starts at $50,000.
Available in Spring 2020, the Defender 110 will be priced from $49,900 in the U.S., while the Defender 90 First Edition will be available in Summer 2020 priced from $65,100. The full range of Defender 90 models will be available in Fall 2020, priced around $50,000.
Gerry McGovern, the design director for Land Rover, said the upright design of the very first vehicles to carry the Defender name 70 years has been re-shaped by the brand’s new design language used for the Ranger Rover Velar that first appeared in 2017.
“It’s a simple shape. Modernity is a philosophy of reduction,” he said.
The same philosophy carries through to the short overhangs at the front and rear and the simple, geometric shapes are used for front and rear lights.
Marc Wilson, director of Land Rover engineering, said the new Defender “was tested to the extreme,” to make sure it was the most rugged and capable vehicle both on and off road ever built by Land Rover. Thus, it can climb a 45-degree slope and also has a completely new electrical system capable of supporting the 48-volt battery in the vehicle, provides extra power, Wilson said.