When it comes to the all-new Defender, speculation is rife and nothing gets in the way of a good story. It’s one of the motoring world’s best kept secrets, with no-one outside of JLR having seen it and very little being known about it.
Word on the street now suggests that production could be pushed out from 2016/17 to 2019, as JLR is said to be struggling with a few major decisions, like where it will be built and what exactly it needs to be to succeed.
JLR officials are said to have admitted that no-one would feel good about proceeding without a Defender in their model line-up, so this seems unlikely, but building a solid business case for a relatively cheap, low-volume vehicle comes with it’s own unique set of challenges.
What we like to think we know is that a new Defender will, like other JLR models, feature an aluminium monocoque and skin to keep weight down. There will likely be two wheelbase sizes and a number of body styles available, although far less than the ‘bolt together’ outgoing model.
Power will likely be provided by a choice of one or more of JLR’s new Ingenium engines. Fully independent suspension will replace the old solid-axles and a low range transfer case should still be a feature.
It is believed that design director Gerry McGovern knows what the new Defender looks like but is yet to sign off on the final details.
According to Autocar, there has been “strong debate” about where the new Defender will be manufactured. It was generally believed that a new factory in Slovakia was going to be the Defender’s next home, but awareness has been growing within JLR that the Defender is ‘British’ and UK capacity “could be found”.
We dunno… Build it right and the buyers will come.