Will it be all-electric?
Aside from being in extremely high demand, the Land Rover Defender has done something else: cannibalized sales of the Discovery. Both premium SUVs share a platform and are built alongside each other at the automaker's plant in Slovakia.
To give you a better idea of just how much the Defender is crushing it against its platform mate, a total of 16,963 units were sold in the first quarter of this year. The company can't keep up with demand. The Discovery? A measly 3,691, making it Land Rover's slowest-selling model. It doesn't stand a chance at this rate and will take another hit once the long-wheelbase Defender with seating for up to seven passengers hits the market. Fortunately, Land Rover is doing something about this.
Automotive News Europe reports the decision has been made to separate the two SUVs by switching the next-generation Discovery to the new "battery-native" Electric Modular Architecture (EMA). Meanwhile, the next Defender will be underpinned by the Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) along with the new Ranger Rover and Range Rover Sport, both of which are due to arrive within the next 18 months.
What's interesting about the MLA platform is that it allows for both pure battery-electric and combustion engine powertrains. This doesn't necessarily mean the next Defender will only be offered as an EV, but Land Rover certainly has that option. Chances are a combustion engine will remain part of the Defender's future for as long as possible as buyers are more reluctant to give up combustion.
As for the next Discovery, the EMA setup will see it sold as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid with a four-cylinder engine, or an all-electric model. It could also go even more upscale as an additional way to differentiate it from the Defender, though the automaker will still need to ensure it won't dent Range Rover and Velar sales. Getting the Land Rover brand just right is a must for Jaguar Land Rover.
CEO Thierry Bollore's plan will see Jaguar's future all-electric model lineup dramatically reduced in numbers as it'll become ultra-luxurious with the aim of taking on Bentley. Land Rover, therefore, will consist of the bulk of sales though no firm date has been set for it drop combustion engines.