The Ford Bronco was not the only new off-road specialist awaited with bated breath by outdoors enthusiasts this year. 2020 was also the year the Land Rover Defender was returning to the market. The Defender, which is being produced in two sizes - 90 and 110 versions - is one of the major new models for 2020.
The British manufacturer's plans have had to be altered due to the coronavirus. While delivery of the long-wheelbase model (Defender 110) has started with consumers who have been waiting for theirs for up to a year, the big day will have to wait for the short-wheelbase variant (Defender 90).
Land Rover has postponed the launch of the three-door 90 version.
Automotive News reported on a statement that appeared discretely in small print on the manufacturer's consumer website: “Defender 90 production and first customer deliveries have been delayed as a result of Covid-19-related supply-chain constraints. Please contact your local retailer to place an order and timing of deliveries.”
In an email response to Automotive News, Land Rover spokesman Joseph Stauble explained that the Defender 90 "is not available as a Model Year 2020. It will be launched as a Model Year 2021, expected to be in market early 2021”. This represents a four- to six-month delay in relation to the company’s initial plans.
Jaguar Land Rover's plant in Nitra, Slovakia, handles assembly of Defender models for all world markets. It operates with a single team and is working hard to fill an order book that already has more than 20,000 Defenders sold. The plant is also responsible for spitting out Land Rover Discovery models.
As a result, the Defender 90 is not expected to be produced in very large quantities next year. The company will have to manage a particular situation and adapt according to demand and the progress of the pandemic. Land Rover plans to launch 500 First Editions models of the Defender 90 next year.
The company did not mention when it might be able to add work crews to its Nitra plant to increase production.