Land Rover Discovery not being “cannibalised” by Defender

Land Rover Discovery sales have taken a hit since the Defender came on board but the company says demand remains strong.

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William Stopford
William Stopford
Journalist
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Jaguar Land Rover Australia says there’s still strong demand for the seven-seat Land Rover Discovery, even with the arrival of its flashier sibling.

The new Land Rover Defender, which has been on sale in Australia for almost 12 months, has gotten off to a strong start while Discovery sales have been on a downward trajectory.

“The fears that we might have had about whether the Defender might cannibalise Discovery at the moment are certainly not bearing out,” said Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director Mark Cameron.

“Moving Discovery with a much higher level of standard equipment and into that $100-120,000 RRP range with a six-cylinder engine both petrol and diesel, it really has found its own space there.

“Yes of course there’s some crossover with Defender but it’s found its own niche there and it’s one of the car lines we have lengthy advanced orders for.”

Last year, Land Rover sold 795 Discovery SUVs, down 34.6 per cent, which had it fall behind the BMW X7 (866), Mercedes-Benz GLS (813) and its Range Rover Sport cousin (1642) but sit above the Lexus LX (343).

The real threat to the Discovery may be coming from inside the house.

To the end of June 2021, Land Rover has sold 243 units of the Discovery but 912 of the Defender.

That disparity could grow wider with Land Rover expected to introduce a longer Defender 130, featuring a more spacious third row.

It’ll reportedly use the same 3022mm wheelbase as the Defender 110, though the total length will be extended from 4758mm to 5100mm.

The Discovery measures 4956mm long.

Sales of the Discovery have been down compared to its predecessor, though the numbers aren’t completely grim.

In 2016, the last full year of the previous generation model, Land Rover sold 2470 examples while the current generation’s best year thus far has been 2018, with 1833 examples sold.

Last year’s tally was undoubtedly affected by lockdowns and supply issues, with all Land Rover products experiencing double-digit declines. The Range Rover Velar, for example, was down 45.3 per cent.

The Discovery received an update for 2021 that saw its base price soar by $27,000, though JLR claimed it offered more than $32,000 in enhanced specification.

It now opens at $101,875 before on-road costs, a similar price point to entry-level variants in the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 ranges and still significantly cheaper than the entry-level X7 and GLS.

Land Rover ditched the turbo-diesel four-cylinder and twin-turbo diesel V6 engines for a pair of turbocharged inline six-cylinder mild-hybrid powertrains: one diesel, one petrol.

It also received freshened exterior styling plus JLR’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system with a larger, 11.4-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

MORE: Everything Land Rover Discovery

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William Stopford
William Stopford
William Stopford is a Journalist at CarExpert.
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