Redesigned Land Rover Defender Delayed

We previously reported that the design work on the replacement for the Land Rover Defender, code-named “Project Icon”, was underway within Jaguar Land Rover. However, it appears as if development of the project has hit a snag, according to UK automotive site Autocar. Among the reported delays are the logistics for engineering and production. Among the changes in design are a reported departure from the previously rumored T5 (LR3/LR4) chassis for production, with no replacement chassis rumored to take its place.

These delays are easy to understand considering each Defender is produced by hand on the assembly line at Solihull. The tedious hand-built Defender production line is a stark contrast to the state-of-the-art, highly automated production line for Range Rover, which was put in place during the BMW/Ford years. Surely in order to maximize profitability for the next generation vehicle, a new more efficient production line will have to be put into place. It is also reported that the huge variation of commercial applications will be paired down in the next generation Defender. Click here for a glimpse into the staggering number of variations available from the factory beyond the well-known station wagons, pickups and Hi-Cap Defenders.

Parent company Tata Motors has fully signed off on funds for the new vehicle, but delays in engineering are expected to push the long-awaited Defender replacement back to 2014.

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