Production and deliveries are back on track.
Due to the global pandemic, US deliveries of the 2020 Land Rover Defender became delayed until recently. An eight-week shutdown at the JLR Factory hurt supplies, but production is ramping up to meet demand. Automotive News Europe reports that Land Rover is finally back on track.
"Overall, we believe Land Rover will ship about 40,000 new Defenders this year, down from the 50,000 that was forecast in the pre-Covid environment," said Denis Schemoul, the associate director at IHS Markit in charge of Europe light vehicle production forecasting.
European and US sales started about three months later than expected, but demand remains strong with a reported order book of 22,000 units and counting.
As of right now, the only Defender model you can buy is the four-door 110 model because the two-door Defender 90 was delayed. The two-door Defender should enter production in late 2020, going on sale in 2021. By 2021, Schemoul expects Defender production to reach 55,000 units per year, despite an expected decline in luxury vehicle sales. The new Defender keeps the impressive off-road ability of its predecessor but comes with far more technology and a steep starting price.
Land Rover kept plenty of cool features for off-road enthusiasts, including rubberized floors, roof access ladder, roof tent, folding fabric roof, and waterproof storage boxes. Its competition will be fierce though, with the 2021 Ford Bronco offering similar capability at a much lower price.
With a starting price of $49,900, the Defender may lose potential customers to the Bronco, which starts at just $28,500. Land Rover has a secret weapon in the form of an upcoming V8-powered Defender model, which will sit above the current four-cylinder and inline-six engine options. The company also mentioned a plug-in hybrid model, the details of which remain unknown. The path to success has been pretty rocky for Land Rover in 2020, but if there's any vehicle that can get through a rocky situation, it's the Defender.