It’s been a long wait for a new Land Rover Defender to make its way to the United States, but pandemic-related delays mean bad news for anyone hoping to get behind the wheel of one soon. In a recent statement to Automotive News, the company confirmed that production of the highly anticipated SUV has been accelerated to meet commitments with dealers and customers, but explained that availability will be severely limited for at least the next few months.
The four-door Defender 110 started making its way to buyers in North America last week, though Land Rover officials declined to elaborate on delivery numbers.
“While the plant was shut down for COVID-19 and production was impacted, every effort is being made to ramp up production throughout the summer to meet demand,” said Land Rover spokesman Joe Stauble to Automotive News, adding that the automaker is combatting the scarcity by circulating a small fleet of demo vehicles to its dealerships for customers to try out.
The program has reportedly been active since March, but stay-at-home orders have made it difficult for would-be buyers to get out and drive the new Defender.
The company’s eight-week coronavirus shutdown is to blame for the shortage, as is the fact that just one factory in Slovakia is working to produce the new Defender. The plant can crank out 150,000 vehicles per year, but that’s for over 100 global markets, and not to mention that the tally includes the Discovery SUV as well. Production finally started back up in late May after having been completely stopped since March 20.
Land Rover says that every one of its 188 dealers in the United States will receive at least one vehicle by the end of June, so it will prove pretty difficult to meet demand one way or another. If you’re hoping to snag one, get your finances in order: the Defender 110 starts at $50,925 and tops out at over $100,000. A more expensive two-door Defender 90 should hit our shores later this year, possibly followed by a rumored Defender 80 in 2022.
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