The highly-anticipated new Land Rover Defender debuts next month — likely in multiple sizes and body styles. Unlike past versions of the vehicle, as of now there are no plans for a Defender pickup to go along with the SUV variants. But Land Rover isn’t ruling out the possibility of a Defender-branded truck in the future.
Last week, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Australia Mark Cameron told Australia’s Wheels a pickup version of the Defender “is being considered.”
It seems like an obvious layup for the brand Full-sized pickups are the best-selling vehicles in North America, while midsize pickups are the hottest segment outside three-row SUVs. Australia and the Middle East would likely be interested as well. There should be a strong global sales case for a Defender truck.
The biggest hurdle, however, would likely be the cost for Jaguar Land Rover to produce one. The new Defender is switching to unibody construction — so to make a body-on-frame pickup, Land Rover would need an all-new platform. Development money at Jaguar Land Rover right now is tight, given the company’s current financial situation. So it seems likely Land Rover would have to acquire a platform through a partnership similar to its new engine deal with BMW in order to roll out a Defender with a truck bed. Even if plans were a go, we would still be years away from the first grainy camouflaged testing spy shots popping up on Reddit.
So odds are good we won’t be seeing such a pickup anytime soon. But, seeing as how Land Rover isn’t ruling it out, a new Defender truck remains a possibility.
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