India-made next gen Defender could be Land Rover's X1 in 2015
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Economic Times has reported that Land Rover is studying various sites in India to erect a manufacturing plant that will roll out the next generation Defender SUV in 2015.
JLR's current assembly plant in Chikhli began operations rolling out the Freelander2 in mid-2011.
The second facility could come up either near the first one or in Sanand, Gujarat, where the Tata Nano is manufactured. An engine plant will also be installed in the premises. A decision on the plant could be taken during the second half of this year.
Very recently Tata Motors finalized plans to manufacture vehicles in China through an agreement with Chery Automobile.
Sources have told ET that the plant could have an annual capacity of 40,000 units per annum. The capacity will be used to manufacture the next generation Defender (code - L660) for all parts of the world. Around 60-80 % of plant's output is earmarked for exports.
The Defender is Land Rover's answer to the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and the like. Unlike these cars which are assembled using kits shipped from Europe, the Defender's strategy is quite the opposite. It will be manufactured completely using local content and exported out of India.
A locally-manufactured 2-litre diesel engine codenamed AJ200 could go under the new Defender's bonnet delivering 170-250hp to the wheels.
Images - Land Rover DC100 Concept
[Source - EconomicTimes.IndiaTimes.com]