Report: Could The Next-Gen Land Rover Defender Split Into Two Models?

Land Rover is considering two very different paths with two new vehicles: the next-generation Defender will be extremely rugged and targeted at the successful Toyota HiLux pickup truck, while the DC100 concept could be put into production as a compact crossover.

The next Land Rover Defender is scheduled to arrive by 2015, and the company wants extremely strong sales for the new model. The Toyota HiLux, long a model of off-road prowess and durability, reportedly sold 549,000 units globally last year. That will apparently mean making the Defender “functional, durable and affordable” enough for buyers even in remote parts of Africa, helping the Land Rover become a “market leader” that has a low entry price and broad appeal.

The next Defender also will reportedly be built on a larger global platform, which hints that the SUV will be produced in more locations around the world. The Defender will return to the U.S. market.

At the same time, Land Rover may take a slightly different tack and build a production vehicle based on the DC100 concept. Whereas we’d been told the DC100 previewed the new Defender — the letters stand for Defender Concept — it now appears that the DC100 will become a compact crossover. At about 169 inches long, it could fight the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke.

Response to the concept model has been so strong that Land Rover wants to build the DC100. It would likely be produced on the Range Rover Evoque platform and would slot under the Freelander (known as LR2 in the U.S.) as the entry-level Land Rover. The company also is considering building the model on a version of the next Defender platform, but that could reportedly limit its appeal in chic “affluent urban” markets.

In fact, Land Rover claims plans to launch 40 new vehicles over the next five years. Those include in the short term a new Discovery (sold as LR4 here), a new Range Rover, and a larger version of the stylish Range Rover Evoque.

Sources: Autocar 1, 2