It was a long time coming for Land Rover, which ended production of its old but much-loved Land Rover Defender in 2016.
The firm then had an uphill battle to create a new Land Rover Defender which met all the demands of a 21st century vehicle while still retaining its old charm, rich legacy and tradition.
Land Rover battled through a three-year development cycle, improving the Defender’s off-road ability, everyday usability, refinement, packaging and customisation options in a bid to widen the SUV’s appeal and finally after three long years it unveiled the New Land Rover Defender.
Business Insider SSA got in touch with Jaguar Land Rover Marketing South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa office through the Kenyan Inchcape Office to understand more about the new iconic car.
In 2018, Inchcape Plc took over the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) dealership in Kenya after buying out the operation from RMA Group.
Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.
The launch of the New Land Rover Defender has certainly been a long time coming for you guys, could you kindly tell us how the journey has been like from the time you decided to create the new model to its unveiling?
Since 1948 the Series Land Rover and Defender models have built reputations as iconic terrain conquerors. The journey to the reveal of the New Defender was a challenge for designers and engineers who have successfully created a vehicle relevant to today’s world while still capturing the essence of the originals. The New Defender is respectful of its past, but isn’t harnessed by it. It’s a vehicle with compelling design and engineering integrity at its core.
When Defender production ceased in 2016, it had none of the advanced driver assistance systems fitted as standard to New Defender. The move to a new model was absolutely necessary in order to provide customers an all-new version of the iconic vehicle which is fit for the 21st century. The New Defender offers new levels of safety, reliability, comfort and technology.
How has the reception of the new Land Rover Defender been like across your markets?
The New Defender will only become available in South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa in 2020, but the response from media, customers and enthusiasts has been overwhelmingly positive since the reveal of the new model at the Frankfurt Motor Show on 10 September, 2019.
What is Land Rover doing to ensure it continues to retail its unique identity and reputation it has built over the years in the fast changing 21st century.?
Land Rover is committed to developing products relevant to the current world and experiences customers love for life.
We continue to invest in our UK facilities, including recent announcement about plans to build three new electrified models at our Castle Bromwich facility; enhancements to develop state-of-the-art flexible manufacturing for the new Range Rover Evoque at our Halewood plant as well as the creation of a new Battery Assembly Centre at Hams Hall.
These actions coincide with the company’s ongoing transformation and growth programme, including the electrification strategy and commitment to delivering a wide portfolio of electrified products from 2020 onwards.
When will the new Defender be available in the Kenyan market and how much would it be retailing at?
The Defender 110 will be introduced to Kenya in the first half of 2020, and the Defender 90 is scheduled to arrive in the second half of 2020. Pricing has not yet been finalised.
What next after the launch, what is Inchcape doing to build awareness and traction of the New Land Rover Defender especially in the Kenyan, East African Market?
Inchcape will continue to lead the way when it comes to engagement by offering interactive New Defender experiences - be it through the online platforms, visiting the Inchcape Showroom or by the class-leading Experiential activities that will be available.
These activities will afford the Kenyan and sub-Sahara Africa region the opportunity to truly interact and understand the New Defender.