Less than a week removed from Land Rover’s fatalistic comments about the future of the Defender, various reports have leaked claiming a new concept Defender will be unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.
Exciting news, if simply for the fact that it confirms the Defender will live another day. The details on the Frankfurt Defender are sparse, though it is believed that Land Rover will be featuring a remodeled Defender. Land Rover spoke openly about their apprehensions with changing the model, so they must feel confident that the new concept will appeal to the Defender audience. Expect to see a traditional body on chassis build with a variety interior improvements; presumably added luxury features to increase the vehicle’s appeal.
A new production Defender could see a boost in sales from Rover’s growing marketing in India and China. What’s more, Mercedes Benz recently announced that it will be discontinuing the G-Class, one of the Defender’s only competitors. Still, the changes made to the new Defender will undoubtedly increase its price, making it difficult to hit sales goals even with the help of new markets.
What sales goals, you ask? Land Rover claims it will need to sell 60,000-80,000 Defenders for the project to be feasible. Last year Rover sold 18,000 Defenders. That’s a lot of ground to cover.
In hindsight, Collin Green’s interview with AutoExpress may have been a clever ploy to drum up buzz around the Defender prior to the Frankfurt Auto Show announcement. However, Defender fans should remain cautiously optimistic. The concept Defender is very promising, but little information has been given regarding new Defender production. Best to wait for the concept Defender and the production “green light” before drawing a conclusion.
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