Velar production is now underway in Solihull

Velar production is now underway in Solihull

Land Rover is both the vehicle volume and profits powerhouse of not only JLR but Tata Motors Limited too. Thanks to a spark of genius which saw the L538 project take on Range Rover branding and pricing, what became the Evoque changed everything for Land Rover. Now comes the hard bit: new generations of the Evoque, Sport and Range Rover are being developed. Can Land Rover remain TML's biggest money spinner?

From 2008 LRX cabrio concept to a segment in itself

Expanding the Range Rover line-up was probably the cleverest thing which Land Rover has done this decade. No-one knew if a big, expensive and historically low volume 4x4 could become a brand in itself. The master stroke was TML's leap of faith to believe in the potential for a family of Range Rovers and then give JLR the funds to make it happen. This was doubly inspired given that much of the world was falling apart economically in 2008. Tata's people put the company's money in and gambled that eventually, the global market for high-priced SUVs would recover. It did recover, as we know, and in what has since become a spectacular fashion.

Now, Land Rover is building on its enormous success by not only tweaking its line-up of Range Rover and Discovery models but adding extra SUVs and laying down plans to reinvent the Defender. As of now, there are three families of models: Defender, Discovery and Range Rover, although the first of these is on hiatus, pending reinvention and eventual expansion. Think of them respectively as rugged, family and luxury.

Massive sales success slowing?

Could the era of seemingly never ending global sales expansion be coming to an end? July's worldwide sales total appears to reflect that, though a six per cent year-on-year gain needs explaining. For reasons unknown, JLR has allowed the Range Rover to be approaching five years of production without a styling refresh. Admittedly, this will have been a tricky thing to do, given how universally admired most of the model's details still are - a Range Rover just looks right. And just think about the controversial tailgate styling and narrow stance from some angles that the new Discovery has. Updated or replacing a seemingly perfectly proportioned and big selling vehicle is an almost impossible job. The trouble is, Land Rover has a habit of creating SUVs which people fall in love with at first glance. Witness the strikingly futuristic Velar. This model alone will likely propel the brand's worldwide sales to new heights once production, which commenced recently, ramps up.

The only worry which JLR must have for its SUV division is that Velar could steal sales from the larger and more expensive Range Rover Sport. Especially as that model is also overdue for a mid-cycle update. The relevant changes for the two largest Range Rovers should appear either soon or in 2018. Which leaves the Discovery, Discovery Sport and Evoque to also maintain the brand's momentum. Discovery is still new to the market and its global roll out continues. That also applies to the Velar.

As for the Discovery Sport, it is facing a welter of new rivals but holding up nonetheless. Even after six years of production, the Evoque is still selling well but considering how inexpensive it must be to manufacture and how high its pricing is, JLR might be foolishly tempted to leave it in production for too long. The lesson of Volvo owning the first generation XC90's segment with six figure sales year in year out and then losing it due to aged product is there for anyone to see. A seven, maybe eight-year production run would be best. 

Another concern is the lack of anything to challenge the Jeep Renegade (1 Jan-31 Jul sales in USA: 61,885) worldwide or the Haval H2 which led the B-SUV class in China for the year to the end of June (July totals by model not yet available). Great Wall delivered 116,271 of these in H1, supporting the country's long time best selling SUV, the Haval H6, registrations of which numbered 226,567 between 1 January and 30 June. More on that below.

Current and future vehicles by architecture

Land Rover has two core platforms, one a legacy architecture from the long-ago years of Ford ownership, as well as a more advanced design developed by JLR engineers. The fundamental differences are that the older one, which was derived from Ford's EUCD (2006-2016 CD340 S-MAX, CD345 Mondeo etc..), mainly uses steel and is for front- and all-wheel drive applications. The newer JLR design has aluminium as its basis and is RWD-AWD. Each has or will have several derivatives. In some ways it's fair to call certain of these unique designs. EUCD, in modified form, is known as D8 within TML and JLR, while there is said to be a further evolution under development. The code is said to be D10, with this architecture being for lower cost models, including the future Land Rover L851 and certain Tata brand SUVs.

The basic aluminium platform for larger vehicles started life as PLA, which stands for Premium Lightweight Architecture. It is also known as D7u. The Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Discovery are D7u models, while the newer Velar uses D7a, a variant. There will be other models for both plus of course each is or will be used by Jaguar.

What should become the smallest Land Rover is said to have the development code of L851. It will likely be linked in some ways to the Jaguar E-PACE, which is that brand's forthcoming B segment SUV, not the electric Jaguar that people keep talking about. That one we know will be the I-PACE but these names are already causing confusion.

The littlest Land Rover - sized and linked in many unseen ways to the E-PACE - will likely not be a Range Rover but instead part of the Discovery line-up. Think of it as a 'Discovery Junior' and something with which the brand can attract those who might otherwise choose a Renegade. There is the chance that this could change, should Land Rover believe that the Range Rover name would be able to bring in big sales numbers worldwide in this segment.

The platform for L851 is believed to be D10, which is rumoured to be a shortened, re-engineered and low-cost version of the D8 architecture. As for where production will be, again this is not yet known but build might well take place not only in England but at existing facilities in China, India and perhaps even Brazil. Slovakia is another possibility but is considered less likely. A seven-nine year production cycle should commence in 2019.

The larger C segment is where Land Rover has had its largest success story in terms of volume for almost six years now. The Range Rover Evoque sells at the annual rate of between 100,000 and 130,000 which is extraordinary, especially given its age. The convertible was added from the first quarter of 2016 and in fact, this car took more than eight years to reach production, having debuted as the Land Rover LRX concept at the Detroit auto show in January 2008. The Evoque Cabrio is likely to remain in production until 2019, which would be around 12 months after a successor for the hatchbacks goes on sale.

Typing hatchbacks seems strange as the three-door car is rarely seen - on UK roads at least - unlike the five-door, which is seemingly everywhere. Land Rover refers to the two body styles as the Range Rover Evoque coupé and 5-Door Range Rover Evoque.

All three Evoques come down the same line as the Discovery Sport at Halewood on Merseyside.

The all-aluminium Ingenium TD4 engine, 20-30kg lighter than its predecessor with stiff cylinder blocks and decoupled injectors (claimed to offer low levels of vibration and noise intrusion) is available in two power outputs: 150PS offering fuel economy of up to 68mpg (4.2 l/100km) and CO2 emissions of 109g/km, while the 180PS unit offers 59mpg (4.8 l/100km) and CO2 emissions from 125g/km. The 150PS unit is said to be 18% more fuel efficient versus the Evoque's previous diesel engines.

In May 2010, Jaguar Land Rover management said that certain vehicles would be built in China and assembled in India in the future. Then in October 2012, reports out of China indicated that the Freelander 2 would be the first Jaguar Land Rover model to be made at the Chery-JLR plant for China. The first Freelander had originally been expected to roll off the line in July 2014, with capacity of 43,000 per annum said to be planned (plus 34,000 units of the Range Rover Evoque, 30,000 units of a Jaguar sedan and a further 23,000 units of an unspecified Chery model).

The Chery JLR joint venture's longer term plan is reportedly to increase annual vehicle sales and production from the initial 130,000 to 250,000 units. Speaking at the Delhi motor show in February 2014, JLR CEO Ralf Speth said the JV's commercialised production would begin in 2015 rather than in 2014, because of delays concerning machinery and equipment. However, the first vehicle, a white Evoque five-door, rolled off the line at a ceremony in May 2014 - this was a trial production car.

The first series production Evoque for the Changshu plant was built in October 2014. Its debut was at the following month's Guangzhou motor show. Only the five-door car is made in China but the three-door remains available as an import. The Changshu plant will later in 2017 have its capacity raised to 210,000 vehicles a year. Chery and JLR are funding a new body shop and building a second trim line, Chen Xuefeng, the deputy president of Chery Jaguar Land Rover told the media in November 2016.

In December 2013, JLR announced plans for an assembly plant in the city of Itatiaia, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. Capacity at its opening in June 2016 was 24,000 vehicles per annum, with the Discovery Sport and Evoque the initial products. The plant is located quite close to Nissan's Resende factory. Jaguar Land Rover stated at the time of the plant's opening that it sourced major components such as the seats, cockpit, exhaust, chassis and powertrain assembly from local suppliers including Benteler and IAC. The company was unlucky with the timing, although the local market is now bouncing back after its crash and JLR might well soon announce a second phase expansion for Itatiaia.

As well as marking the milestone of having built 600,000 Evoques, Land Rover announced its model year 2018 Evoque in June. The main news was fresh engines. The 240PS 2.0-litre GTDi petrol was replaced by JLR's own Si4 Ingenium unit. This has the same capacity and power but is 15 per cent more fuel efficient than the Ford-supplied GTDi.

All engines are now Ingenium units as follows:

  • 2.0 Si4, 240PS & 340Nm
  • 2.0 Si4, 290PS & 400Nm
  • 2.0 Td4, 150PS & 380Nm, single turbocharger
  • 2.0 Sd4, 180PS & 430Nm, two turbochargers
  • 2.0 Sd4, 240PS & 500Nm, two turbochargers

We are now about a year away from the arrival of the second generation Evoque. L551 is thought to be based on an updated version of D8. As the Coupe, the three-door body style, has not been a strong seller, it is not likely to be replaced, though there should be a successor for the low volume but high margin cabriolet, roughly 12 months after the arrival of the hatchback(s). There may well be an electrified powertrain, which is believed to be a PHEV petrol Ingenium rather than a PHEV diesel or fully electric set-up.

The Evoque might be Land Rover's current major model in the Compact class but another C segment vehicle is said to be due out in 2018. Other than the L590 code, few facts are known. Magna Steyr has been contracted to build one or more JLR vehicles at its Graz plant. One of these might be a plug-in hybrid or even fully electric Land Rover, sized and positioned below the 4.7m long I-PACE, Jaguar's electric SUV. L590 may be either a Land Rover or a Range Rover: it is not known which.

One size up, the Discovery Sport is still only two and a half years old so has many years of production left. At 4,590mm, this front- or all-wheel drive SUV is 91mm longer than the Freelander which it replaced. This model also uses L8 and can be thought of as a major re-engineering of the Freelander with a fresh body. Changes included the creation of bespoke rear suspension: so as to maximise interior space and allow a 5+2 seating layout, there are no strut towers. Aluminium is used for the roof, tailgate, bonnet and front wings.

As well as being built in England and China, L550 is assembled in India (since August 2015) and Brazil.

This model's public debut was at October 2014's Paris motor show. From launch in the UK (early 2015), the Discovery Sport was powered by a 190PS 2.2-litre SD4 diesel. Both nine-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions are available. A two wheel drive eD4 diesel engine joined the range later that year with CO2 emissions from 119g/km. In certain markets, including North America, a Ford-sourced 240hp four-cylinder petrol featured.

JLR's Ingenium engines became available in certain countries from September 2015. There are 150PS and 180PS versions of the Ingenium 2.0-litre 'TD4' engine, which, in markets where the EU6 regulations are mandatory, replaced the Ford-sourced 2.2-litre diesel.

Land Rover announced its model year 2018 Discovery Sport in June. The main news is the replacement of the Ford-sourced 240PS GTDi 2.0-litre petrol engine by JLR's own Ingenium units. The engine line-up is identical to that of the MY2018 Evoque, and therefore now as follows:

  • 2.0 Si4, 240PS & 340Nm
  • 2.0 Si4, 290PS & 400Nm
  • 2.0 Td4, 150PS & 380Nm, single turbocharger
  • 2.0 Sd4, 180PS & 430Nm, two turbochargers
  • 2.0 Sd4, 240PS & 500Nm, two turbochargers

The second generation Discovery Sport is due in 2023, but before then, there will be a facelift for the current vehicle in 2019.

Size-wise, the Range Rover Velar is the next model to be looked at. It is also the first Land Rover in this report to be based on a different architecture. This is called D7a and it is has been in existence since its introduction by the Jaguar XE in 2015, followed soon after by the XF. While JLR says that the two SUVs were developed in isolation, the Velar is nonetheless of a similar size to the Jaguar F-PACE and it does share that SUV's architecture and certain powertrains.

Despite the aluminium construction, the least hefty variant tips the scales at 1,804kg, while the V6 diesel weighs from 1,959kg. Unlike the larger Range Rover Sport and Range Rover, the standard 4WD system does not have a low-range transfer case or central differential. The body is said to have 81 per cent aluminium content. Meanwhile, the tailgate is composite but the boot floor is steel.

As well as being built in England from earlier in August, the Velar might also be assembled in India commencing in 2018. There could also be production in China in partnership with Chery Auto and perhaps even some assembly at a Tata facility in India.

The Velar's introduction expands the Range Rover family as follows:

  • 4,390mm long Range Rover Evoque
  • 4,803mm Range Rover Velar
  • 4,850mm Range Rover Sport
  • 4,899mm Range Rover
  • 5,199mm Range Rover LWB 

The engine line-up for the introductory range, each variant of which is all-wheel drive, is as follows:

  • D180: 180PS (132kW) & 430Nm turbocharged 1,999cc I4 diesel, ZF 8HP45 eight-speed automatic
  • D240: 240PS (177kW) & 500Nm sequential bi-turbocharged 1,999cc I4 diesel, ZF 8HP45 auto
  • P250: 250PS (184kW) & 365Nm turboocharged 1,997cc I4 Ingenium petrol, ZF 8HP45 auto
  • D300: 300PS (221kW) & 700Nm turbocharged 2,993cc V6 diesel, ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic
  • P300: 300PS (221kW) & 400Nm turbocharged 1,997cc I4 Ingenium petrol, ZF 8HP45 auto
  • P380: 380PS (280kW) & 450Nm supercharged 2,995cc V6 petrol, ZF 8HP70 auto

A Velar SVR, likely to be powered by a supercharged V8, is expected to be revealed later in 2017. A petrol-electric Ingenium petrol plug-in hybrid should be added during 2018. There should then be a scheduled facelift in 2021 and a second generation Velar in 2024, 2025 or 2026: JLR is yet to establish a consistent number of years for its vehicles' production runs. Therefore it is too early to know how long the Velar's life cycle will be. L319, the old Discovery, was manufactured between the fourth quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2017 and yet L320, the previous RRS, was built for eight years.

For those who want a Range Rover but must have more than five seats, the Range Rover Sport is the only choice. The second generation of this big SUV had its global debut at the New York auto show in March 2013. Codenamed L494, it replaced the L320 series model, which had a Ford platform. L494 shares its aluminium architecture (and wheelbase dimension) with the Range Rover, but unlike Land Rover's most expensive model, and the first generation Sport, the current model can be ordered with seven seats.

Until the arrival of the 2017 model year range, there were eight engines - three supercharged petrol units (340PS 3.0-litre V6, 380PS 3.0-litre V6, 510PS 5.0-litre V8 and 500PS 5.0-litre V8) and two diesels (a 3.0-litre V6 with 258PS or 292PS). A 339PS 4.4-litre V8 diesel ('SDV8') became available in relevant markets during 2014 and a Federalised version of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, the specially named Td6, was new for North America's 2016 model year: this car premiered at the Detroit auto show in January 2015 alongside the 2016MY Range Rover Td6.

ZF's 8HP70 eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard for all Range Rover Sports, as is stop-start. In July 2014, revisions for what Land Rover termed the 2015 model year were announced. These included 40Nm more torque for the 4.4-litre V8 (now 740Nm) as well as a revised torque converter for the eight-speed automatic transmission. Emissions and official EC consumption numbers were unchanged.

The fastest and most powerful Land Rover yet went on sale from early 2015. A prototype of this, the SVR, was revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June 2014. It is powered by JLR's 550hp supercharged 5.0-litre 'AJ133' V8.

The 380PS HST had its world premiere at the New York auto show in April 2015. It is powered by a supercharged petrol V6 and is available in North America, China, Russia and the Middle East. The HST is fitted with Stealth Pack lamps front and rear, which feature non-reflective surrounds and combine with a contrasting black roof and spoiler. This variant's distinctive 21-inch alloy wheels feature a dark satin grey finish. These draw attention to uprated brakes, which are identified by red brake calipers. The bonnet and front wing vents, grille and fog lamp bezels all feature a glossy black finish, echoed by the RANGE ROVER lettering on the edge of the bonnet and tailgate. Body-coloured lower door panels and additional vent detailing on the bumpers are also fitted. In common with other Dynamic Range Rover Sport variants, the HST has a red Sport badge at the rear, complemented by HST badging on the front wing vents.

The L494 series RRS entered series production at Land Rover's main Solihull plant in May 2013 and the first vehicles reached UK dealers two months later. A diesel-electric Hybrid followed for relevant markets from early 2014. This variant and the Range Rover Hybrid have an identical powertrain, which comprises a Ford-sourced 3.0-litre SDV6 and adds an electric motor which produces 170Nm of torque. The CO2 average is 169g/km. Together, output of the engine and motor is 340PS at 4,000rpm with 700Nm of torque between 1,500-3,000rpm.

In driver-selectable EV mode the vehicle can travel at speeds of up to 30mph (48km/h) for a range of up to one mile (1.6km) before the diesel engine starts. The hybrid system, including lithium ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor, weighs less than 120kg, Land Rover claims. The Range Rover Sport Hybrid has the same 5+2 seating capacity and luggage space as the standard vehicle.

Neither of Land Rover's hybrids is sold in North America. The main markets are Europe, China, Taiwan, Australia and South Korea. A petrol-electric plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sport is expected to be added to the line-up at the time of the model's facelift in 2018. Whether this will supplement or replace the Range Rover Sport Hybrid is not yet clear.

Land Rover announced the 2017 model year RRS in August 2016. From November 2016, buyers in the UK could for the first time order the car with a 340PS 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6, plus in this market and many others, JLR's Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel engine also became available. In the Sport, the four-cylinder diesel produces 240PS and 500Nm. Vehicles fitted with this 'SD4' engine are distinguished by a single twin-exhaust configuration. Other derivatives retained the existing set-up, with a single exhaust on each side of the rear bumper.

Following the debut of a facelifted series next year, Land Rover is expected to begin selling a third generation Range Rover Sport in mid to late 2022. L461 will use the same modified version of JLR's PLA/D7u architecture as the fifth generation Range Rover.

Exactly 120mm longer than the RRS and lengthier than the standard wheelbase Range Rover too, but positioned in Land Rover price lists below both, is the new Discovery. Build commenced in February and UK market sales soon after. L462 uses a version of JLR's Premium Lightweight Architecture. While the second generation model (2004-2017) had been sold as the LR4 in many countries, the latest one is called Discovery everywhere.

L462 has the same wheelbase as the Range Rover but unlike that model and in common with the Range Rover Sport, there are seven seats. As was the case with the previous vehicle, these are staggered so that those in the second and third rows have a good view ahead. One major change is a tailgate which is not split. It is still top-hinged but where the previous model had a fold-down lower half, in the new Discovery there is instead a horizontal panel which drops down electrically as a tray. This will also move into a vertical position and act as a load divider. As with the Range Rover, the rear screen wiper is now hidden under a panel at the top of the glass. Formerly, it was exposed and had a sweep which followed the unusual shape of the window.

Measuring 4,970mm from end to end, the latest generation of this big 4x4 is 140mm longer than the 2004-2017 shape model and 40mm lower. It is also longer than the Range Rover but shorter than that model's L derivative.

Engines at the UK market launch in March were as follows:

  • 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel biturbo
  • 3.0-litre V6 diesel biturbo supplied by Ford
  • 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol supplied by Ford

JLR's 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine is the obvious omission from the list. Despite the weight loss, the Discovery might well be too heavy for the four-cylinder petrol engine's power and torque outputs.

The new model became available in North America from mid-2017 for the region's 2018 model year. Both supercharged gasoline and turbocharged diesel V6 engines are offered there.

As well as being made in Solihull, the L462 Discovery will be the first vehicle to be built at JLR's Nitra plant, Land Rover announced in November 2016.

At the top of the Land Rover tree sits the Range Rover. The fourth generation model had its global debut at the Paris motor show in September 2012 so the first wave of lessees must have been wondering for a while now when an update will be announced. This should appear either at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance or Chengdu motor show later in August, or else at the Frankfurt IAA in September. Failing that, look to the LA show in the fourth quarter.

Depending on the market, buyers have the choice of a 3.0-litre V6, as well as 510PS and 550PS versions of a 5.0-litre V8 - all three are supercharged - plus three diesels: 254hp 3.0-litre 'Td6' for North America only, 258PS 3.0-litre V6 'TDV6' and a 339PS 4.4-litre V8 'SDV8' in relevant other markets. All come with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The diesels are supplied by the PSA and Ford joint venture. The supercharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 was added during the second half of 2013.

In North America, the current shape model was new for the 2013 model year. The 2014MY Range Rover, announced in February 2013, saw a 340hp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 replace the former naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8.

A then-new top trim level, Autobiography Black, premiered at November 2013's Dubai motor show. A few days later, a long wheelbase body style had its global debut at the LA auto show. This is claimed to have 140mm more rear legroom. The body is lengthened ahead of the rear wheels.

The L is offered with Vogue, Vogue SE, Autobiography and Autobiography Black model grades, with a Hybrid having its world premiere at April 2014's Bejing motor show. What Land Rover terms 'key markets' are China and the USA. These extended wheelbase variants have an L badge behind each wheelarch.

In July 2014, revisions for what Land Rover termed the 2015 model year were announced. These included 40Nm more torque for the 4.4-litre V8 (now 740Nm) as well as a new torque converter for the eight-speed automatic transmission. Emissions and official EC consumption numbers were unchanged. Other revisions were minor and included the availability of 22" wheels for L Range Rovers. The Autobiography Black was also new for North America's 2015 model year. A 254hp Federalised version of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, the specially named Td6, was added for North America's 2016 model year: this car premiered at the Detroit auto show in January 2015 alongside the 2016MY Range Rover Sport Td6.

The 550PS supercharged V8 is available in the SVAutobiography. This had its world premiere at the New York auto show in April 2015.

JLR is expected to add its Ingenium four-cylinder petrol engine to the Range Rover later in 2017, timed to coincide with the mild restyle. The firm's own forthcoming inline six-cylinder engines are said to also be on the way for the Range Rover, as well as a biturbo BMW-sourced 4.0-litre petrol V8. These might not appear until the arrival of the replacement series.

The Range Rover Hybrid is another derivative. It has the same V6 diesel + one electric motor powertrain as the RRS Hybrid. A prototype Range Rover Sport plug-in diesel-electric hybrid debuted at the Geneva motor show in March 2011. The vehicle (the old shape, which was L322), which was called 'Range_e', was claimed to be able to travel 20 miles on electric power alone, with its batteries charged either from the mains or via the vehicle's 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine. No production version of this powertrain has been seen, though.

A petrol-electric plug-in hybrid Range Rover is expected to be added to the line-up at the time of the facelift. Whether this will supplement or replace the Range Rover (diesel) Hybrid is not yet clear.

The fifth generation Range Rover is expected to enter production in England in mid-2021 on a lightened version of the PLA/D7u architecture. Its project code is L460. Land Rover's head of Design, Gerry McGovern, insists that there will not be a seven-seat version, although he has stated that he could well imagine a Range Rover with two large passenger doors, just as the original from 1970 had.

Speaking in another recent interview, McGovern aired the suggestion that there could be yet another Range Rover. It would not necessarily be larger than L460 but instead have a different body and name. Such a model would be intended as a competitor for the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayga. There is as yet no known project code so the existence of an official programme remains speculation. The theoretical market launch likely would not take place until 2023 or later.

A model which until this point was missing from this feature is the next Defender. As Land Rover is so secretive about it, not even the size can be accurately guessed. Will it have the same dimensions as the former Defender or will it have to fit between certain other Land Rovers and Range Rovers? The platform is also unconfirmed. Sources believe however that L663 will use a lower cost version of D7u.

Jaguar Land Rover may well need to be selling 100,000 units a year of a new Defender to be economically viable. The former model averaged fewer than 20,000 units/annum in its final years. Crash safety laws prevented L316 being sold in the US and Canada but L663 is being developed in accordance with the norms for all major world markets.

To achieve the production target there should be multiple variants:

  • standard wheelbase three-door with seating for five
  • long wheelbase five-door with seating for up to eight
  • standard wheelbase pick-up
  • long wheelbase pick-up
  • Mercedes-AMG G-Class rival with similar pricing

Elements of the next Defender's styling were at one stage thought to have been previewed by the Land Rover DC100 concept. This was first exhibited at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2011. However, the thinking shifted and the next Defender should instead be more like the former one to look at.

Land Rover has yet to confirm where the new model will be made but an obvious place if money needs to be saved is the Nitra plant in Slovakia. This would delay the production launch until towards decade-end as that factory will not open until 2018. Nitra will have an initial capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year. It is not known what percentage of that will be made up by Discovery build. What about the old Defender production line? That was ripped out in 2016. You could even call it a hand-assembly operation so human-intensive was the production process.

The new model should also be assembled in India. There has been talk of a variant to rival the Toyota Fortuner, and this is said to have a project code of L860. Again, though, details remain scarce, which only adds to speculation that the entire project is being tweaked yet again so as to become a water-tight source of potential profit.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

Additional data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans, such as code names, production plants and expected annual build, are available in PLDB from QUBE.