The idea of a pickup truck based on the new Land Rover Defender isn’t exactly new as we’ve heard executives from the company talk about it on a number of occasions. There have been hardly any solid signs that one is actually under development but the Defender’s chief engineer recently spoke to media representatives and claimed this is indeed a very good idea. The model hasn’t been given the green light yet, however.
“It’s something that I would personally like to do because I think the Defender brand would lend itself to a ute very much so. And we’ve seen that in the history of Defender in particular,” Stuart Frith, chief engineer for the Land Rover Defender, told Drive. Unfortunately, Frith said a Defender truck (or a ute as they call them in Australia) isn’t something the British automaker is currently planning.
Gallery: 2023 Land Rover Defender 130
More than two years ago, shortly after the launch of the revived off-road icon, Nick Collins, JLR’s executive director of vehicle programmes, also suggested the Defender would eventually grow to become “a family.” Since then, Land Rover has added the long-wheelbase Defender 130 model to its lineup but we don’t know whether Collins was referring to it or something else back in February 2021 – a Defender truck, for example.
With or without a cargo bed at the back, the Defender is in demand. The automaker recently added a third shift to the model’s assembly line in Slovakia, which means the off-roader is now produced on a 24-hour schedule. Frith told Drive the automaker has finally achieved “the right balance of supply and demand” with the Defender, which probably means it has solved all supplier issues, at least for now.
“There is always a balance between capacity to produce and demand. If you overcommit on capacity or you have too much capacity, you have got a fixed overhead that is difficult to manage. And if your demand exceeds supply, then you are disappointing customers. There is a healthy balance there, which is the trick to a healthy business,” Frith told the Australian publication.