Do you want one? Get in line.
The wait for the all-new Land Rover Defender is finally over. The reborn SUV debuted last September and the automaker had a production plan all ready to go to satisfy what was expected to be huge demand. Fast forward to today and the demand is there but the product isn't. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
Automotive News reports that following an eight-week shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the JLR factory in Slovakia is finally cranking out new Defenders but demand is already higher than current dealership inventories. The first US market Defenders, estimated to be only "several hundred," arrived just last week but the factory is also building the SUV for over 100 other markets. Land Rover has since confirmed Defender supply will be short all summer at its 188 US dealers.
"While the plant was shut down for Covid-19 and production was impacted, every effort is being made to ramp up production throughout the summer to meet demand," said spokesman Joe Stauble.
Another problem caused by low inventory is that dealerships won't have a Defender to display in their showrooms or even for test drives. To its credit, Land Rover realized demand was likely going to be higher than initial supply even prior to the pandemic, so it initiated a fleet of traveling demo models. The plan was for dealerships to inform interested buyers when the fleet was going to be in town for available test drives and to answer any other sales-related questions. But the lockdowns immediately put a halt to that.
For now, patience is key until more Defenders are built and shipped out.
Just to give you an idea of the Defender's level of popularity, dealerships and private buyers are not even listing them on eBay at the moment. Contrast that with the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, where dealers and private buyers listed them for thousands of dollars above sticker. That's not currently happening with the new Defender though it could once inventory increases.
The best Land Rover can promise for now is to have at least one new Defender at every one of its US dealers by the end of this month.