Land Rover wants next Defender to become volume model
This will enable the brand to turn into "a global maker, not a UK maker selling globally."
The next generation of the iconic Land Rover Defender is expected to bow in 2015, enabling the current model to go into a well-deserved retirement. While Land Rover has yet to decide on what the car will look like, the brand already knows what kind of sales figures it is going after.
According to John Edwards, Land Rover's global brand director, the next Defender will have" a wide appeal, and a low-cost base." This likely means that much like the current model, the next-gen Defender will be available in several different body styles. All of them are expected to ride on the same platform.
Edwards hopes that by offering a diverse lineup, the Defender will become a volume model for the niche automaker. This will enable it to morph into "a global maker, not a UK maker selling globally."
In terms of sales for the new model, Land Rover is targeting the Toyota Hilux. A look at some simple statistics reveals that Land Rover is embarking on a very ambitious quest: in 2011, Toyota sold 549,000 Hilux trucks all around the world. That same year, less than 20,000 Defenders found a home.
If Land Rover wants the next Defender to sell as well as a Hilux, it has to make sure that it is as tough as one, too. To achieve that, part of the car's development is being carried out in Africa.
"We're talking to sub-Saharan Africa buyers about cost of ownership and ease of maintenance," said Edwards. "That it's functional, durable and affordable are central to our thoughts. The engineers and designers are really getting engaged."