Land Rover Defender wins the Large SUV Autovista Group Residual Value Award 2023

29 June 2023

The Land Rover Defender has won in the highly competitive Large SUV category as part of the Autovista Group Residual Value Awards. A star among its peers, the Defender carries over a strong brand identity from its predecessor.

Known for its iconic silhouette, the design of the new Defender makes it look less rugged while maintaining a robust and pragmatic charm. The vehicle has proven to be one of JLR’s biggest success stories, helping create significant value for the brand and those who carry the asset risks for the model.

The residual value (RV) awards recognise extraordinary automotive value retention. Powered by Autovista Group data, key automotive players such as fleet operators, leasing companies and manufacturers are certain to find the results of great interest.

Amazing line-up

The Large SUV award category featured models from the D and E-segments, including all powertrain types. The Defender faced fierce competition, not least from German brands. Mercedes-Benz was a top contender among the top five finalists, with the GLE Coupé, the GLE SUV, and the G-Class ranking second, third and fourth respectively. BMW’s X6 also performed solidly, landing in fifth place.

‘There is an amazing line-up in this segment – 38 models made it to the top five rankings in terms of value retention in at least one of the 17 countries,’ said Christof Engelskirchen, chief economist at Autovista Group. ‘There is plenty of choice and the segment enjoys strong RVs. More contenders are also getting in shape to populate the segment in the near future – mostly BEVs.’

For now though, BEVs do not play a major role in terms of value retention in this category, which is open to all powertrains. Instead, premium brands largely dominate with their internal-combustion engine (ICE) SUVs.

But JLR is eager to accelerate its electrification efforts, aiming to become an ‘an electric-first’ manufacturer by 2030. Its Halewood plant in Merseyside, UK, will soon become an all-electric production facility.

Strong residual values

The UK luxury carmaker recently rebranded, swapping over to an abbreviated version of the Jaguar Land Rover name – JLR. The company hopes this change will help amplify the uniqueness of its four distinctive British marques – Range Rover, Defender, Discovery, and Jaguar. This should build long-term high equity for each brand, all of which enjoy notable residual values.

‘When New Defender was launched, we were confident our clients would be able to rely on strong residual values and it is hugely rewarding to see these forecasts being exceeded by actual resale values,’ Mark Cameron, managing director, Defender at JLR, told Autovista24.

‘This is a result of unprecedented demand in both new-vehicle showrooms and on the used market, showing our modern luxury vision for New Defender has resonated with clients across the globe. It is a worthy successor to the iconic original and its instantly recognisable silhouette, unstoppable off-road capability, award-winning Pivi Pro infotainment and breadth of choice inspire the same level of emotional response as the vehicles that helped to forge the Defender name in the past,’ Cameron added.

High UK performance

Christian Schneider, project lead behind the awards, explained how Autovista Group experts identified pan-European RV champions like the Defender. Data from 17 different European countries were examined.

This includes Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

The Defender emerged as the winner in its category after Autovista Group analysts studied used-car market data from February to April 2023, with forecast trade RVs of 36-month-old cars at 60,000km.

Vehicles with extremely high or low horsepower and price points were excluded. This approach ensured a focus on mainstream models. Autovista Group analysts found the version of each vehicle with the highest RV, represented as a percentage of retained list price (%RV).

By market, models were indexed by dividing their %RV by the average %RV in the specific category. The winners were identified using the category’s average indexed %RV. This was weighed against each market’s new-car sales volumes, ensuring that outstanding findings from high-volume markets were represented in the results.

The Defender recorded the strongest indexed %RV performance in its domestic market, the UK. With the Large SUV category average represented as 100%, the vehicle scored an extraordinary 150% in the country. The large SUV did well in France too, where it hit 134%. This performance was followed closely by Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy.

Electrified future

In the UK, the Defender is forecast to retain 92% of its value after 36 months and 60,000km. France, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and Slovakia also saw impressive forecast trade %RVs for the vehicle.

JLR highlighted that the Reimagined Defender was its best-selling model in the 2022-2023 financial year. In line with its all-electric strategy, the company plans to launch a BEV version of the Defender in the coming years.

‘Demand for our exceptional modern luxury vehicles remains strong and with a pipeline of ultra-desirable electrified models on the horizon, I am excited and confident for our future,’ said interim CEO, Adrian Mardell.  

The Autovista Group Residual Value Awards 2023 featured eight categories, from Small Cars to Compact and Large BEVs. Catch up with all the RV awards announcements on Autovista24. Stay up to date with the latest automotive analysis via the Autovista24 daily email and LinkedIn.