2010 Land Rover Defender 90 and 110

Could the same factors that killed the Defender in the U.S. back in 1997 finally sink the Defender for good almost 20 years later? For the 1998 model year, new regulations that required air bags and more stringent side impact standards became active. The Defender was not able to meet the new standards without major changes. Now, the Defender is facing similar hurdles in Europe. Emissions, fuel economy, and safety regulations are staring the Defender in the grill, and in the automotive world 2016 isn’t all that far away.

In an exclusive interview with Auto Express, Land Rover UK’s Managing Director Colin Green outlined three possible scenarios as to what could happen to the Defender. The first option is to fit the Defender with EU6 rated engines, which would increase its lifespan. The current engine in the Defender meets EU5 specifications and is good until 2016. The second option is to redesign the vehicle and base it on the Discovery platform, which also underpins the Range Rover Sport.

The third, and most ominous, option is that Land Rover abandons the vehicle.

“A third [option] is that we abandon that section of the market. It’s our least preferred choice because we have serviced that customer base for a long time, but there’s no point in servicing the customer and not the business. We have to make money and all three options are on the table,” said Green.

We speculate the Defender will be around for long after 2016, and here’s why. Forcing an update to the Defender would mean the Defender could be brought back to the U.S. market after a nearly 20 year absence. Bringing the Defender to the U.S. is on our Land Rover Wish List, and this could be the perfect opportunity to see it happen.

2010 Land Rover Defender 110

2010 Land Rover Defender 90

[via Motor Trend, Auto Express, et al.]

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July 28, 2011


Corporate News, Defender, Land Rover Models, Land Rover News

Defender, Emissions, Safety

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