PARAMUS, N.J. -- Land Rover will bring the redesigned Defender SUV to the United States as its entry-level vehicle, said Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover.
The Defender could debut as early as 2015 and will be based on the DC100 concept shown at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show. The rugged Defender is currently sold in overseas markets and was last sold here in 1997.
"We will make sure it will be a vehicle for the U.S.," Speth said.
The Defender would be priced below the Range Rover Evoque Pure, a new model for 2013 that is priced at $41,995, including shipping. It is one of several new products Land Rover and Jaguar, which are both owned by India's Tata Motors, are developing as part of a global growth strategy.
Jaguar is expected to launch a small sedan to compete with the Mercedes-Benz C class and BMW 3 series in two to three years.
Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Motors, said BMW's product range, with the 7-, 5- and 3-series sedans, is one Jaguar could emulate. He would not confirm timing for a sedan smaller than the XK, which competes with the BMW 5 series. But he said, "Today a 3-series buyer doesn't get the feeling that he is buying a cheap BMW. We should do exactly the same."
He added: "At no stage should it be conceived of as a Mondeo in another garb," referring to the Mondeo-based X-Type developed under Ford, Jaguar's previous owner.
The X-Type was discontinued in the United States after the 2008 model year. Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata in June 2008.
Tata said Jaguar Land Rover will be "less of a niche player in the coming years as new vehicles roll out.
But he added: "We will not be catering to all customers."