Land Rover Is Shipping Fewer New Defenders This Summer Due to COVID-19

The SUV is finally in the U.S., but the coronavirus interrupted production

The new 2020 Land Rover Defender SUV off-roading
Good luck finding a new Land Rover Defender this summer.
Jaguar Land Rover

A week ago, automotive outlets started ringing the bell: “The Defenders are coming! The Defenders are coming!” The new Land Rover Defender, the reboot of that legendary British SUV, had finally reached the U.S. after being unveiled back in September 2019.

Now that the dust has settled on the welcome wagon, it turns out the celebration was premature. As Automotive News reported, because the COVID-19 pandemic led to an eight-week shutdown at Jaguar Land Rover’s Defender factory in Nitra, Slovakia (the only place where the SUV is produced), the U.S. will be getting fewer vehicles than originally planned.

“Land Rover officials would not say how many Defenders were on the ground, and though the supply of vehicles from the plant was starting to ramp up, it will be in short supply all summer, Land Rover confirmed,” wrote Automotive News.

While the automaker is reluctant to give specific numbers, they did tell the outlet that only “several hundred” have been sent to its 188 U.S. dealers so far. According to the dealers themselves, some haven’t seen the off-roader show up in their lots yet, and others said the shipments they received are already being delivered to customers who preordered. In other words, don’t bother popping by a Jaguar Land Rover in your area to get a test drive — the chance they’ll have one on hand is slim to none.

The outlook for the rest of summer isn’t promising, either. Automotive News wrote that dealers “will receive at least one Defender by the end of the month,” according to Jaguar Land Rover. 

If you want to get your hands on a new Defender this summer but haven’t put in a preorder, go ahead and give the dealers in your area a call and check in on the waiting list. If the lists are longer than your local reopened patio on a Friday night, there’s not much else you can do. Sure, some will pop-up on the resale market for absurd prices sooner or later (remember, these already start around $50K), but it’s not worth it. 

You’ll just have to wait it out, which might be for the best anyway. Hopefully by then you won’t feel as guilty about road tripping to far-flung locales during a pandemic.

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