Jaguar Land Rover has revealed its first official pictures of the all-new Land Rover Defender.
The pictures, which show a long wheelbase 100 version of the vehicle in heavy camouflage, were released in the USA to coincide with the announcement that the next generation version of the iconic off-roader will be sold there.
The announcement was made by Jaguar Land Rover North America, revealing the all-new Defender will go on sale in both the US and Canada from 2020, making its debut some time in 2019.
The Defender has always had a large fanbase on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean but more recently was not sold there as it did not comply with safety regulations.
Off-road and on-road testing of Defender prototypes will begin in North America in January 2019.
Jaguar Land Rover said the continent was a perfect proving ground for the new Defender, given the wide variety of terrain and surfaces available.
The company said its engineers would subject the vehicle to “rigorous test extremes” to ensure it is “the most off-road capable Land Rover vehicle ever”.
It will be tested in temperatures ranging from -120 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and at altitudes of more than 13,000 ft above sea level.
Kim McCullough, vice president of marketing for Jaguar Land Rover North America, said: “There are a handful of automobiles that are beloved around the world and stand for a brand, a country and a distinct way of life.
“The Land Rover Defender is such a singular vehicle.
“On behalf of Land Rover and our retailers, we are proud to announce the voices of American and Canadian customers have been heard.
“The all-new Defender will be for sale here starting in 2020.
“The announcement is a holiday gift to our Defender fans in North America and a hint of what’s to come in the new year.”
Jaguar Land Rover pledged the new Defender will be “a revolutionary product with even broader public appeal”.
Prototypes of the new Defender have been spotted on Coventry and Warwickshire roads in recent months, including a rare sighting of a Defender 90 prototype by one eagle-eyed CoventryLive reader.
Production of the previous Land Rover Defender ground to a halt in January 2016.
It ended a production run of almost 70 years, which started with the original Land Rover – unveiled at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948.
It became the Series I, II and III before it was renamed the Defender.
Could the new Defender be made in Slovakia rather than Solihull?
There has been mounting speculation that the new Defender will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s new factory in Slovakia.
The car maker recently opened a huge factory in Nitra, and prior to its opening announced it would be shifting production of its Discovery model there from Solihull.
One expert believes the all-new version of the vehicle which got the Land Rover ball rolling 70 years ago will be built in Slovakia – rather than Land Rover’s spiritual home of Solihull.
The video below is amazing footage of a Land Rover open day at the Lode Lane plant, Solihull, in the 1940s
Mike Gould is a former Land Rover employee and now an author, who has written several books on the Land Rover marque.
“I think that is almost certain and I think some of the stuff Ralf Speth said recently is preparing the way for that,” he said.
“I have always understood it is coming off the same platform as the Discovery, so it would make sense to be built in the same place.
“The Slovakia plant has the capacity to produce 150,000 vehicles a year and they are saying it could go up to 300,000.
“Certainly there is the capacity there. It makes perfect sense to put it into Slovakia.
“In addition Solihull is land-locked and Jaguar Land Rover has also talked about it being used to produce electric cars.”