British off-road vehicle specialist Land Rover is reportedly planning to start manufacturing its SUVs in India. Emerging reports indicate that its Indian subsidiary Jaguar and Land Rover India already started discussions with the component vendors and the company is also planning for exports.
A report in ET Auto claims the firm is studying on a mini version of the Defender in India by 2019-20. Despite being owned by Tata Motors, Land Rover SUVs are not manufactured in India. JLR vehicles for India are currently imported as completely knocked down (CKD) units and manufactured at Pune plant. The move from Land Rover to manufacture SUV in India is also due to the higher demand for utility vehicles in the country. In addition, this will also help the company to take annual sales to a million units by the turn of the decade as targeted.
After Tata Motors took over JLR in 2008, the firm did a feasibility study on manufacturing SUVs in India. The move did not bear fruit over part supply issues. "When compared to 2012, when the company had conducted the feasibility of introducing the new Defender, this time around they feel the vendor fraternity has matured on the quality front," ET quoted a person with knowledge of the matter.
Reports state that the mini-Defender project is code-named L860. Earlier this year, Land Rover stopped production of the Defender at Solihull plant after 68 years in service. However, the model will get a re-birth -- expected in 2018 -- as a completely new model with new features, engine and technology. The mini-Defender will be family member of new Defender range.