In fact, JLR can't even keep up with demand.
Though the company has faced supply issues relating to the chip shortage and the pandemic, Jaguar Land Rover has a bright spot to celebrate in 2021. The Land Rover Defender is officially a smashing success, as the new model has quickly rocketed up JLR's sales charts. In fact, the Defender is the company's second-best-selling model globally, behind only the Range Rover Evoque. JLR sold 17,194 Defenders in Q2 2021, just falling shy of the Evoque's 17,622 units.
Land Rover has struggled to keep up with demand for the Defender, which is why its sales success is even more impressive. Perhaps as the chip shortage normalizes, the off-roader could replace the Evoque as JLR's top seller. Formerly a niche model that wasn't offered in the United States, the Defender will likely expand to become its own sub-brand, like Range Rover.
Land Rover currently offers the Defender as a two-door 90 model or a four-door 110. A long-wheelbase 130 model is rumored to arrive soon, sporting a more usable third row. This idea sounds perfect for the US market, but with JLR already struggling to fill orders, the 130 may have to sit on the backburner for now. JLR currently has around 110,000 vehicle orders, and 29,059 of those are for the Defender.
"I'm absolutely convinced Defender will become a power brand in itself," JLR head of design Gerry McGovern told Automotive News Europe during an investor call earlier this year. Along with the longer 130 model, Land Rover is rumored to be working on a smaller "Baby Defender," similar to Ford's strategy with the Bronco Sport.
With supply struggling to keep up with demand, the Defender has proved it deserved a second-generation following the first-generation's death in 2016. Along with new body styles and separate models, Land Rover will continue to expand the Defender's appeal with new engines such as a supercharged V8 and a plug-in hybrid. The Defender could be the new face of Land Rover, even as the brand moves towards an all-electric future.