The Land Rover Defender is one of the oldest true blooded off-roaders available today. The iconic British vehicle is soon going to be assembled in Sri Lanka, a country where high import duties keep cars out of reach of many. The local assembly will be done by Sathosa Motors, which is investing $1 million (Rs. 5.4 crores) in setting up a CKD unit in Hambantota District. SML Frontier Automotive will be the exclusive sales and distributor partner of Land Rover in Sri Lanka. SML Frontier Automotive is a 50:50 joint venture between Sheran Fernando and Sathosa Motors.
The company has already commenced work on the assembly plant and will start local assembly within the next few months. There is no word on the price of the locally assembled Defender but one can expect it to be quite aggressive as buyers will no longer have to pay high duties levied on fully imported cars. More than future buyers, current buyers will also benefit from this decision as after sales service will be made available to them, with spare parts available at cheaper cost.
A new workshop is being constructed in Vauxhall Street which will offer after sales support for all Land Rover vehicles. This will see an investment of $500 million (Rs. 2500 crore). With Land Rover now going the CKD route for the Defender in Sri Lanka, we wonder what’s stopping them from locally assembling the rugged SUV in India, as they already have a plant in Pune, where they locally assemble the Land Rover Freelander 2 and Jaguar XF. Probably Tata Motors will manufacture the next generation Defender in India.
Source – DailyNews.lk