Land Rover Defender pickup could be back on, but still unlikely for US

Previously thought to be off the table, a new Land Rover Defender pickup truck could still be in the works, Top Gear reported Wednesday.

The original Defender was offered as a pickup truck (among other configurations), but a pickup version of the new Defender was thought to have been scrapped. However, Nick Collins, the new head of the Defender project, offered some encouraging words when asked about a new Defender pickup.

“It’s structurally possible,” with the new Defender’s unibody platform, “and there is demand,” Collins said.

“We won’t comment on future plans,” Collins added, “but watch this space.”

2020 Land Rover Defender 110

2020 Land Rover Defender 110

Land Rover was reportedly developing a four-door pickup based on the upcoming long-wheelbase Defender 130 model, but in 2019 Australia’s Car Sales reported that Land Rover had nixed the idea.

Chances of a Defender pickup being sold in the United States would have been slim, anyway. The Defender is built in Slovakia, so a pickup version would have been subject to the so-called “Chicken Tax,” which slaps a 25% tariff on all foreign-made trucks.

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The price increase Land Rover would need to make the Defender pickup profitable in the U.S. would likely be too high for customers to accept, and it’s unlikely Land Rover would set up local assembly for such a niche model.

That leaves the two-door Defender 90 and four-door Defender 110 as the only body styles likely to be available in the U.S. for now, but we may get the stretched Defender 130 at some point. Land Rover is also expected to add plug-in hybrid and V-8 powertrain options, alongside the current turbo-4 and turbo-6.

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