Land Rover wants parent company Tata Motors to produce the all-new Land Rover Defender at its manufacturing headquarters located in Pune, India. But as part of a ‘reverse CKD’ operation, it will likely return several models to Europe to have its final assembly in the UK. Freelanders intended for Asia are already being built by Land Rover in India.
In an interview with Autocar, Tata chairman Ratan Tata said that this new Defender plan will have the twin benefits of decreasing the manufacturing costs of a model Land Rover hopes to be affordably priced in Europe and of finding a Defender operation near key Asia-Pacific markets where sales are expected to be strong.
Land Rover decided that the 2015 Defender will have body-on-frame construction instead of the monocoque design that was also considered. Hence, it will retain the configurability of the current models while providing packaging, comfort, controls and dynamics that are more modern. It is probable that the Defender will utilize upgraded, lightened variants of Land Rover’s highly coveted T5 ladder chassis, presently used for the Discovery and Range Rover Sport.
The basic styling of Land Rover’s recent DC100 concepts is believed to be extremely close to what’s planned for the new Defender. However, details like wheels, lights, grilles and interior styling will be changed.
If Land Rover decides to adopt the Pune manufacturing plan, the Defender will have the same major chassis and suspension parts as the revised version of the Indian-built Tata Aria SUV, which is also produced in Pune and is expected to arrive after several years. Actually, these two chassis are not identical but they will have nearly the same dimensions and specifications and so, they will be subjected to the same manufacturing process.