The new Land Rover Defender will break cover in late 2018 in its final production form and not as a concept previewing the final product.
Codenamed L663, the new Defender will be the centerpiece of Land Rover’s 70th anniversary celebrations late next year.
The company’s decision to skip showing a concept prior to the real thing is because Land Rover is now wary of revealing concept cars in general for fear of their design being plagiarized, Autocar reports.
Back in 2011, Land Rover revealed the DC100 concept pictured here, but the negative reaction was so big that forced them to go back to the drawing board. The bigger reason however for delaying the introduction of a new Defender was the difficulty of building a viable business model for the new off-roader.
The old Defender never managed to sell more than 20,000 units per year towards the end of its career and Land Rover needs to sell as many as 100,000 units annually in order to make the new Defender a viable model.
Land Rover is going to use a toughened-up version of the D7u architecture used in the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery models. Petrol and diesel engines from the Ingenium family will be on offer, helping the new Defender not only achieve the necessary economy of scale in production but also making it eligible for sale in regions like the US and Canada.
Land Rover wants the new Defender to become their most off-road capable model yet obviously and that’s why it’ll have a fully updated suite of technologies based on their latest Terrain Response II system offered in the Discovery.
Sales of the new Land Rover Defender are expected to start in 2019.