Next Land Rover Defender to be built in India?

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When Tata's purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover began to appear inevitable, the question "Would you buy a Jaguar made in India?" was oft repeated. Yet it looks like Land Rover will be the first of the two brands to try to benefit from this kind of Anglo-Indian synergy: a report in Autocar states that the 2015 Land Rover Defender will be built at Tata's plant in Pune, India.

The Defender is a truly old school body-on-frame SUV that sells in small numbers compared to the rest of the Land Rover line. But it has benefitted from technology, some regulatory gymnastics and exemptions and, like the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, a warm place in people's hearts. If it's going to be around, though, LR would like to move more of them. Building the next generation model in Pune – with final assembly of some examples in England, a reverse of what's done now with products like the knockdown Freelander 2 (read: LR2) – could give the Defender's bottom line the boost it needs, as well as close proximity to Middle Eastern and Asian markets.

It is expected that the next Tata Aria SUV will be close enough in dimensions and manufacturing to share the same facility with the the 2015 Defender. They will remain two distinct vehicles – the Defender will likely go on the T5 ladder chassis that underpins the Discovery/LR4 and Range Rover Sport, and is predicted to have the general features of the DC100 concept. The current Defender is slated to remain on sale until 2017, and will likely be built in Solihull, England until then.

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