No need to wait 25 years for the new Defender to clear the import ban.
American fans of the Land Rover Defender had a pretty tough life for many years because it wasn’t easy to satisfy their fantasy of actually owning one in the US. Examples of the Defender 90 and 110 were only available between 1993 and 1997, after which new regulations went into place that the Defender was unable clear. Given that the nameplate remained intact for 67 years with the same winning formula, Land Rover wasn't about to change things up to make it readily available in the US.
Americans who wanted one either had to move out of the States, get a used example, or buy one that was more than 25 years old to clear the import ban. However, Automotive News claims that things will be different when the Defender’s replacement debuts in 2019. Hallelujah and hooray because this is news we’ve all wanted to hear. As one of the first cars to conquer the globe, it only makes sense for the Defender to be a global vehicle. It's also a smart move for Land Rover as well because it’s doubtful that US drivers would hold back spending money on yet another SUV, especially one that will supposedly feature retro design elements that harken back to the original.
Better still is the fact we can expect the Defender to come in multiple body styles including a two-door soft top and four-door hard top wagon model. Both gasoline and diesel power plants will be made available, likely using Jaguar’s new line of Ingenium engines, but it's unclear whether or not the diesels will be sold in America given our widespread aversion to oil-burning engines. The most apparent difference between the old school Defender and its modern interpretation will be the body and chassis. Though the old Defender was famous for having aluminum body panels that prevented corrosion, it still rode on a stamped steel frame. This time around Land Rover will make the Defender an aluminum unibody vehicle.
Fear not if you’re going to miss the rugged body-on-frame Defender because if the current unibody Range Rover has proved anything, it’s that world-beating off-road capabilities are still possible on a unibody SUV. As long as it looks and performs the part, it should sell just fine.