The UK firm could partner up with another automaker to build it.
The impending return of the Defender name is as highly anticipated as it is being met with eye-rolling from the Land Rover hardcore. The issue is that the new Defender will ride on a monocoque platform rather than a sturdier body-on-frame chassis. And while Land Rover is good at building tough-as-nails off-roaders on monocoque chassis, the original Defender was actually truck. An honest-to-God, go-anywhere, do-anything truck. And the fear is that the new Defender, by comparison, will to slip into Land Rover's lineup as a baby Range Rover. But there's still plenty to be hopeful about.
In an interview with Which Car?, JLR's Australian director Mark Cameron revealed he is touting the business case of a proper truck variant. "What I am saying to head office is that it would be a fantastic product in Australia, as the top three selling cars here are pick-ups," he says... much as it is in America.
He also goes on to mention other markets – including the US, which recently got the Jeep Gladiator with which a potential Defender truck would directly compete. That makes us wonder if the idea could go all the way. After all, for Jaguar Land Rover, the idea of throwing down with Jeep on something Land Rover all but perfected before must be a mouthwatering proposition. Along with all those other markets that love trucks as well, of course.
Cameron points out the big obstacle for a truck version of the next Defender is research and development costs, and that's why Land Rover has partnered with BMW over an electric drivetrain in another case. That opens the door for collaboration in building a Defender platform that can take a truck body and the load that requires. And while Cameron is Australian and this was originally reported through an Australian website, Cameron is explicitly clear that a Defender truck would need to present a more global business case – something with which the lucrative US market could potentially help.