With success and plenty of awards being flung at the company’s compact luxury SUV, the Ranger Rover Evoque, volume sales seem more reasonable for the British brand than they might a few years ago.
Still, the new Defender will have a steep hill to climb if it is to overcome the mighty Toyota Hilux, which recently became the first vehicle to conquer the Magnetic North Pole.
Perhaps spurred on by popular sales figures for the Evoque, Land Rover boss John Edwards said he hopes the company will grow into a global brand instead of a brand being sold globally. That statement might seem a little bold in the face of only 20,000 defenders selling next to the 549,000 Hilux units sold in 2011.
Part of doing that will be offering more than one popular seller, which the Defender might be — if the company can settle on a design. The Defender DC100 concept got its North American debut last week in New York, but it’s still not clear if that model will make it to production.
Land Rover will also have its reputation for dubious reliability to contend with, especially if it hopes to challenge Toyota, a brand built on its dependability image, despite recent controversy.