The Defender has been Jaguar Land Rover's top-selling model for seven quarters in a row.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has decided to add a third shift for the popular Land Rover Defender at its production facility in Slovakia, according to Automotive News Europe. Already the company's best-selling model, the extra shift will help to clear a backlog of orders for the off-roader. Available in three body styles and with powertrains that include everything from a four-cylinder diesel (not available in the USA) to a brawny V8, the Defender lineup provides plenty of choice. In fact, it's been JLR's best-selling model for seven quarters consecutively. In the fourth quarter of 2022, wholesales (sales to dealers) amounted to 23,816 units, and of the 214,000 JLR orders, the Defender makes up about a quarter of that. These numbers are only expected to rise when an all-electric Defender is unveiled in 2025.
"As we move to three shifts, you will see increasingly a lot of our orders on Defender will start [to] fall and retails [sales] increase," said interim CEO Adrian Mardell on an earnings call when the company announced its quarterly results. Along with the Defender, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport make up JLR's most profitable models.
If you discount the cars from the company's joint venture in China, these three Land Rover models alone make up three-quarters of JLR's wholesale figures. Elsewhere, sales of the smaller Evoque (under 10,000) and Discovery Sport (6,230) last quarter were more disappointing. In general, it's the company's larger models that are performing the best.
Land Rover has kept momentum going for the Defender with several new features, powertrain options, and special editions since its launch. Last year, Land Rover celebrated its 75th year with a Defender 75th Limited Edition finished in a unique shade called Grasmere Green. In 2021, the Defender received a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 making 518 horsepower - although it's thirsty, the V8 packs a mean punch, especially in the smaller and lighter body of the Defender 90.
More recently, the Defender 130 joined the lineup and adds a more practical third row. But regardless of the body style or powertrain, it's the new-generation Defender's remarkable off-road prowess that links it to its boxier predecessor and has garnered it thousands of fans around the world.
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