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Land Rover Diverts Defender Press Fleet to Red Cross

  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Mar 27, 2020

 

new land rover defender british red cross

 

Next week was supposed to be the New Defender press launch in Britain, and Land Rover had prepared dozens of trucks for the event. But Covid-19 had different plans, and the launch is off for now, alongside just about every other event in the UK. With a massive pool of idle brand-new trucks and a national crisis on hand, Land Rover swiftly switched tactics and is currently dispatching the entire press fleet across Britain to assist the British Red Cross.

The first batch of 57 vehicles, including 27 press Defenders, is heading out now across Britain, with the primary intent of helping them serve remote, vulnerable, and isolated people during the crisis. A further 65 vehicles have been given to Red Cross Societies in Australia, Spain, South Africa and France, with even more vehicles coming online in the UK and elsewhere soon. Jaguar Land Rover is also manufacturing face masks for the UK's National Health Service.

 

Land Rover Defender COVID Support Fleet

 

Land Rover released some photos of the Defenders being prepared and sent out on car carriers to be dispersed across Britain. Since they were originally a press fleet, they are not all a single specification or color -- Red Cross drivers may find themselves behind the wheel of anything from a basic four-cylinder model to a luxurious Defender X top-trim model with a mild-hybrid straight-six motor. Some models are totally stock, others are loaded with accessories roof racks and side gear carriers.

This will create an unusual situation for a car launch -- the general public will be able to drive the Defender before most of the press can. (High-level press drove the Defender on an expedition in Kaokoland, Namibia in February, which led to the first driving impressions being released this week. Some other media has driven the vehicle in England.) At this point, the press launch is likely delayed for several months, At that point, there may even be vehicles in the hands of regular buyers, depending on how the coronavirus impacts the reopening of the Nitra, Slovakia factory where Defenders are made. In fact, for our British readers, the best way to get behind the wheel of a Defender right now is probably to volunteer with the British Red Cross. You might even be able to get a byline in the automotive section of the local paper!

 

Land Rover Defenders being loaded onto a car carrier

 

Land Rover has a long partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) around the world and has donated hundreds of vehicles to them over the years for their missions around the globe. The IFRC was involved in testing the Defender in the deserts of the United Arab Emirates, and in 2018 Land Rover created a special edition Discovery with a drone in its roof to help them with search and rescue efforts. Although these particular Defenders will probably make their way back to Land Rover once the Covid-19 crisis passes, there will surely be many more doing work for the Red Cross and Red Crescent in years to come.

 


  • Written By
  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Adventure addict. '90s Land Rover daily driver. Historic preservationist. Personal vehicles: 1994 Discovery I, 1994 Range Rover Classic, 1961 Series II.
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