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LAND ROVER SOFT TOP MAY COME TO U.S.; DEFENDER 90 MODEL WOULD BE ULTIMATE IN OPEN-AIR ADVENTURE

 NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Encouraged by the surging popularity of its products, Land Rover North America, Inc. announced it is developing the Land Rover Defender 90 soft top for possible import as the next phase of its product expansion plans in North America.
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 The success of the limited edition Land Rover Defender 110, which was introduced in August 1992, prompted the move.
 "We have received countless requests asking us to bring in the two- door Land Rover Defender 90," Charles R. Hughes, president, Land Rover North America, Inc., said today at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention. "So, to satisfy this demand, we are developing a very special soft top version of the Defender 90 to tackle the North American market."
 The Defender 90 under consideration for the U.S. will be mechanically similar to the limited edition Defender 110 previously imported. With a 3.9-liter, 182 hp V-8 engine, five-speed manual transmission, power steering and four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front), the vehicle will be highly capable on and off-pavement.
 Outside, the Defender 90 will feature a two-door, convertible body style with half-height doors for true open-air motoring.
 As an option, a unique roll-up soft top with integral "safari cage" support is being developed to keep out the elements.
 Built on a 92.9-inch wheel base, the highly maneuverable Defender 90 features Land Rover construction hallmarks including permanent four- wheel drive, rigid ladder frame construction and lightweight aluminum body panels.
 A two-door Land Rover was last sold in the U.S. in 1974. Many examples are still running and commanding premium resale prices. The U.S. model is a descendant of the Land Rover Ninety Series that is world-renowned for its sturdiness and versatility.
 No official launch date was announced, though Hughes did say the new model would be available in limited numbers primarily through existing Land Rover Defender dealers.
 Hughes, who unveiled an artist's rendering of the proposed Defender 90 at the NADA press conference, said that a pricing target of "around $30,000" has been set for the vehicle. Defender 90 will be supported by a full array of accessories to allow an owner to outfit the vehicle as desired.
 The limited production run of 500 Land Rover Defender 110s launched in the U.S. last August, is virtually sold out, according to Hughes.
 The Defender 110 has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $39,900, although the last vehicle of the limited edition was sold at a charity auction to benefit AIDS research in November 1992, for $51,000.
 Land Rover North America, Inc. is a member of the Rover Group of Companies, importing vehicles manufactured by Land Rover in Solihull, England.
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 /NOTE: A color photo of the proposed Defender 90 is available without charge on your photo receiver. Have photo editor dial in to 212-967-1293, 212-643-2005 or 212-643-2006, and ask for PRN0208DE1D. CONTACT: Bill Baker or Jeff Curry of Land Rover North America, Inc., 301-731-9041 or (fax) 301-731-9054/


CO: Land Rover North America, Inc. ST: Maryland, Louisiana IN: AUT SU: PDT

DH -- DE004 -- 3915 02/08/93 08:12 EST
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Date:Feb 8, 1993
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