If you’re a Land Rover Defender fan, you’re not going to know what to do with yourself. When the new Defender arrives on the scene sometime in 2018, it will come with five – yes five – different body styles. With such an important decision to make, we’d start thinking about which one you’d like now.
As you already know, Land Rover will stop building the current iconic Defender in January. It’ll be redesigned and a new one will debut as a 2019 model.
The automaker hopes adding more body styles will lead to a mass market hit, too. Right now, it sells around 10,000 Defenders a year. Execs would like to get that number up to 100,000 globally. Of course, part of the sales problem is that the Defender hasn’t been offered in the States since 1997. But that will change with the new model.
In Europe, drivers will have a choice of five models: two short-wheelbase models, a long-wheelbase version capable of seating eight, and two- and four-door pickups. The pickup models aren’t likely to be offered in the U.S., thanks to the Chicken Tax, but the States should see the other SUV models.
Luckily for the purists, Land Rover says the new Defender will look nothing like the smoothed out concept models that it has shown. Remember the DC100 concept shown in 2011? It wasn’t received very well, so Land Rover went back to the drawing board. While the exact design is still under lock and key, the automaker says not to worry. It will look like a Defender.
“Any replacement for an iconic vehicle is tough because the enthusiasts are very vocal,” explained Joe Eberhardt, the CEO of Jaguar-Land Rover’s North American division in an interview with Automotive News. “It’s a huge opportunity at the same time,” he added.
The Defender dates back to 1948. It’s been consistently in production since 1983, that is, until January when Land Rover pulls the plug on the current edition because it can’t meet modern emission standards and safety requirements.
Oh and here’s a fun fact. The Defender is the choice ride of the Queen of England at one of her estates.