Is Land Rover Planning to Attack the Ford Raptor With a Badass Defender?
On Wednesday, Jaguar Land Rover announced that the carmaker has bought Bowler, a British company that produces badass, off-road racing-spec versions of Land Rovers like this Defender 110 from the James Bond film Spectre and the demonic EXR S. Bowler will become part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations, the unit responsible for high-performance vehicles such as this Jaguar F-Pace.
This development seems sure to spark excitement and speculation within the off-roading community. Land Rover has already suggested it will go the Range Rover route with the Defender, extending that nameplate over several different vehicles. Adding Bowler to the lineup makes it seem far more plausible that one of those vehicles could be a full-bore, Baja-caliber Defender designed and destined to take on specialized (and profitable) off-road vehicles like the Ford F-150 Raptor.
Having an in-house modifier to produce parts, accessories, and special editions has become a profitable necessity for automakers, even for non-off-road-centric companies like Honda. Well-heeled buyers love their add-ons, especially the aggressive kind. Land Rover building up that portion of the business makes sense. Even if the Raptor-fighting Defender is not imminent, something like a more aggressive and enhanced off-roading edition of the Discovery could still be pretty great.