The long wait for Land Rover's halo vehicle, the Defender, is nearly over. This spring, the reborn off-road vehicle will arrive and ignite — officials hope — record sales of vehicles and accessories. That's a lot to place on the Defender's broad fenders. But Land Rover fans have been clamoring for a replacement for the Defender since 1997, the last year it was offered in North America.
On the Jaguar side, a freshened F-Type sports car arrives this spring, and dealers will work to boost sales of the electric I-Pace crossover as the electrification era gets underway.
Andy Vine, 60, is chairman of the Jaguar Land Rover Retailer Cabinet and dealer principal at Jaguar-Land Rover Louisville in Kentucky. Michael Levitan, 64, is vice chairman of the cabinet and president of Jaguar-Land Rover Long Island in New York. They spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett about the challenges and opportunities the brands' 361 dealers face this year. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: With the U.S. replacing China as the largest market for Jaguar Land Rover, are dealers finding it easier to get the proper mix of vehicles?
A: Vine: It has helped us, since the Chinese market has declined, get the right mix and get them faster, more [Range Rover and Discovery] Sports, more Range Rover and vehicles that really help the dealers' profitability.