The Land Rover Defender has become Jaguar Land Rover's top-selling vehicle for the first time in its history.
JLR sold 16,725 Defenders in the quarter ending Sept. 30, up 70 percent on the same period last year, as the automaker prioritized the large SUV amid the global microchip shortage.
JLR’s traditional best-seller, the Range Rover Evoque, was pushed to second place with 12,613 retail sales.
The Defender is now the brand's best-seller for the year-to-date with 50,882 sales, just ahead of the Evoque.
The second-generation Defender was launched at the beginning of last year, four years after the original iconic off-roader was axed after a production run of 67 years.
The SUV is sold with either a short or long wheelbase and has a plug-in hybrid option.
Land Rover could have sold more Defenders if it had not been for the chip crisis, JLR Chief Financial Officer Adrian Mardell told analysts on an earnings call Monday. He said that of the 128,000 back orders for JLR models, 34,000 were for Defenders.
JLR’s total global vehicles sales fell 18 percent to 92,710 in during the last quarter.
The company posted a 302 million pound ($413 million) quarterly loss as chip supply constraints prevented the automaker from fulfilling customer orders.
The Defender is built at JLR's plant in Nitra, Slovakia, alongside the Discovery large SUV, which struggled in the quarter with sales of 5,409.
The Defender was the only JLR model to post a sales increase for the quarter as the chip shortage curtailed production.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport was JLR's No. 3 seller globally for the period. Sales of Jaguar brand cars fell 30 percent to 19,248 during the quarter, with the F-Pace midsize SUV the best-seller at 6,149 units.
JLR sold 3,762 Defenders in the U.S. in the quarter, according to the Automotive News Data Center, making the SUV the automaker's No. 2 seller in the market after the Range Rover Sport.
JLR will further expand the Defender's appeal in markets including the U.S. with the launch of a longer seven-seat version expected next year.
JLR Chief Creative Officer Gerry McGovern has hinted that more Defender variants are planned. "I'm absolutely convinced Defender will become a power brand in itself," he said on a call with investors in February.