2015 Land Rover Defender Ltd Ed

While the year 2015 may mark the end of the Land Rover Defender, a replacement is already in the pipeline. Slated for an introduction by 2018, the next-generation Defender is expected to be on showroom floors by 2019, with five different body styles, Automotive News reports.

Similar to the previous-generation’s offerings, the upcoming variations include two two-door models, a four-door variant with an extended wheelbase, alongside two- and four-door pick-ups.

Land Rover seems to be facing a couple of challenges coming up with the new Defender. Labelling it as “tough,” Joe Eberhardt, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said, “any replacement for an iconic vehicle is tough because the enthusiasts are certainly very vocal. They have an opinion on how to do it, but it’s a huge opportunity at the same time,” he disclosed.

That said, the brand will be putting commercial success first over the hardcore ethos of the outgoing Defender, so as to appeal to more buyers. “A lot of people love the idea of the previous Defender, but they never buy one,” Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director said.

He added, “while I’m a designer, and I love designing, I’m also a businessman. We need to build a critical mass in order to sustain ourselves in the long term and reinvest.” According to him, the brand will be looking to sell over 100,000 Defenders per annum globally instead of just 10,000 a year.

McGovern noted that the production Defender, when ready, will not resemble the concepts that the brand has displayed previously. “When this vehicle comes out, people will know it’s a Defender, it’s a modern Defender,” McGovern said.

Drawing on the success of the Jeep Wrangler’s positioning, Ed Kim, vice president of industy analysis at AutoPacific said the new Defender will need to be both rugged and approachable. “I think Jeep has figured out a good balance of staying true to its heritage but building in just enough refinement and conveniences to live with on a daily basis,” he said.

GALLERY: Land Rover Defender Limited Edition in Malaysia