The new Defender has found its way to new owners in America, as the first deliveries began last week. After delays from Covid-19 shutdowns at the Nitra, Slovakia plant where they are built, they made it onto ships, across the Atlantic, and are now making it to their new homes. But if you want to get one, don't expect it to be an easy feat any time soon -- they're in short supply due to demand and the shutdown-related shortages.
The first Defender 110 delivery was made on June 3rd at Land Rover North Dade, the #1 dealership by volume in the country. Since then, proud new owners have been sharing pictures with their new trucks on social media, and dealerships are promoting their latest product.
Land Rover intends for each of their 188 American dealers to get their hands on at least one Defender by July. The first ones will go to customers who have been on waitlists for the vehicle; some of them put down speculative deposits years ago, maybe even when the old Defender was still in production for other global markets.
Because production was stopped for eight weeks just as it was about to begin, there's going to be a trickle of Defenders into America the next few months. That's also going to make test drives very difficult, for both genuine buyers and the curious green oval lovers. Dealers will probably try to keep one truck back for display and test drives, but there may not be a guarantee that you'll be able to test drive the engine and specification you're interested in buying. Land Rover also plans to have a floating fleet rotating around dealerships to expand test drive opportunities.
As a side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Defender 90 has been delayed, due to issues in the supply chain. Though only a limited number of "First Edition" vehicles were due in North America in 2020, those may take longer to get built and arrive now.
It's likely that the demand for the Defender -- absent from American shores for 23 years -- combined with the Covid-19 complications will cause shortages in supply throughout 2020. Certainly, anyone who has a 2020 Defender will have one of the most significant and rare mainstream North American Land Rovers ever produced.
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