The popularity of pint-sized off-roaders like the Jeep Renegade and Ford Bronco Sport will lead to JLR (formerly Jaguar Land Rover) jumping on the bandwagon with a compact offering forming part of an expanded Defender family, according to a new report.
Talk of the so-called baby Defender dates back several years, but JLR CEO Adrian Mardell finally confirmed plans for one during a recent investor meeting where he said the company’s new EMA platform designed for compact SUVs would spawn a Defender-badged model, Autocar reported on Monday.
Under a new strategy announced in June, JLR will turn its Range Rover, Discovery, and Defender nameplates into brands, to sit alongside Jaguar. The company has already employed this strategy with Range Rover, which has become a pseudo brand for a family of models that includes the Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar, and Range Rover Evoque, in addition to the actual Range Rover model.
Similarly, a future Defender brand might include the current Defender in three wheelbases, the baby Defender (possibly badged as the Defender Sport), and perhaps a Defender pickup truck.
The EMA platform reportedly set for the baby Defender is being developed for electric powertrains exclusively, as opposed to an earlier plan to also have it support gas engines. The platform will spawn its first vehicle in 2025. The vehicle will be from the Range Rover family and is thought to be the next-generation Range Rover Velar.
The baby Defender will follow around 2026, according to Autocar.
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