British car brands don’t often get to boast sales superiority - often instead appealing to enthusiasts and those who are looking for something with a certain style of prestige in smaller numbers.
But Land Rover’s SUVs manage to sell in the thousands each year, especially the Discovery historically, making up a significant portion of the cars imported from England - this year so far 10,240 cars have come from the UK, 4276 of which wear a Land Rover badge.
But it’s the new-ish Land Rover Defender that’s really doing the heavy lifting here, perhaps something many punters might not expect. Almost half the Land Rovers that have found homes in Australia in 2023 are Defenders, with 1956 deliveries this year so far.
Not only does that make it the best-selling car under the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR these days) umbrella this year, but it almost makes it the best-selling premium SUV in its segment.
In the 'large SUV over $70,000' segment as defined by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), only one individual model outsells the Land Rover Defender, and not by much - the BMW X5 has shifted 2105 units this year.
Still, in just July alone, Defender outsold the large BMW 336 sales to 309, meaning there’s time for it to catch up by the end of the year.
The next-closest behind the retro-inspired British SUV is the Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV at 1726 sales, but the GLE is also sold as an SUV-Coupe which, if going by the badge name and not the model itself, adds another 490 sales on that.
CarsGuide asked JLR Australia if it expected the Defender to end up being its most popular model, as last year it only managed 1623 sales of the model for the full 12-month period.
“As the chip shortage supply situation improves, and demand remains high globally, a third shift was added to our manufacturing plant at Nitra from March 2023,” a spokesperson said.
“This has seen an increase in supply to Australia and other markets.”
When specifically checking if this has the Defender on track for a record year of sales, they were unable to quickly confirm and will respond if able, but our look back through sales figures suggests it might be.
In terms of which Defenders are the most popular, CarsGuide was told “to date, overall, the 110 body design has been most popular.”
“Each of the Defender’s body designs appeal to different customers, so it is difficult to draw comparisons in terms of sales – especially as the Defender 130 and 130 Outbound have been introduced to the family after the 90 and 110.”