Just this week MotorBiscuit featured a custom one-off Land Rover pickup truck built in Mexico. We questioned then why Land Rover hadn’t jumped into the popular pickup truck parade. Especially when SUVs, which is what Land Rover makes exclusively, were made from (and in some cases still are) pickup trucks. Well, now it looks like Land Rover is going to produce a pickup truck after all.
Land Rover has always downplayed the need for a pickup truck
In the past Land Rover has downplayed the need to produce a pickup truck. There were rumors it might be on during the current Defender’s D7x platform development. But if that had been a consideration it never materialized. A Land Rover source told Motor1, “Why would you buy a dual-cab ute when you see what you can put in the back of one of these? This is already a ute with a roof.” Hopefully, that person is no longer involved with Land Rover product planning.
What’s interesting about this shift is that the Defender is a unibody vehicle when most pickup trucks are body on frame. So this Defender pickup will be more in the realm of the Ford Maverick, Honda Ridgeline, and Hyundai Santa Cruz. Still, a capable pickup can be fashioned from a unibody platform and this just helps give Land Rover a more diverse field while amortizing costs over two vehicles instead of just one.
A Defender pickup would be a nice addition to the “family”
According to Autocar, Land Rover’s executive director of vehicle programs Nick Collins said, “There is customer demand and there are no structural limitations” of the Defender platform. He also said that the Defender would be a “family” of vehicles. We already know that Land Rover is making a long wheelbase Defender 130. A pickup would be a nice addition to the “family.”
As we stated before when you have 80% of a pickup tooled up already why not go the extra 20% for an entirely different vehicle? You could make a business case for a lot of variants once the initial tooling is made. A Chevy Suburban is 80% Silverado.
It’s a hot market and Land Rover has some Defender tooling
The midsize pickup segment is growing. It’s a hot market and Land Rover has some Defender tooling it is not putting to good use. We would expect that if the pickup idea has been a recent revelation it won’t see the light of day until around 2024. If it has been in the works since the Defender was first developed then expect it in 2022.
Either way, the Defender makes a nice looking pickup and Land Rover should be able to sell a boatload of them whenever they finally arrive. Expect the same powertrain availability as with the Defender. There’s no need for lame changes for that. Pricing should be maybe 20%-30% above the price of a Honda Ridgeline and will be marketed as a high-end luxury pickup.