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Future models - Land Rover - Defender

New Land Rover Defender not previewed by DC100

No defense: The Land Rover DC100 concept from last year's Frankfurt motor show will not be the basis for the next Defender.

Next-gen Defender will not look like DC100 concept: Land Rover design boss

Land Rover logo24 Oct 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

LAND ROVER design director Gerry McGovern has revealed the next-generation Defender will bear little resemblance to the DC100 concept that emerged at the Frankfurt motor show last year.

He said the new Defender will spawn a whole family of variants ranging from small and affordable to expensive and luxurious but would not confirm the widely-expected 2015 launch date.

“I can categorically say it will not look like DC100,” he told Australian media on the eve of the Sydney motor show last week.

“We did say at the time (of reveal) DC100 was one of several designs that were being explored (and) we have done more work since.”

Mr McGovern said public reaction to the DC100 since its world debut at last year’s Frankfurt motor show had been overwhelmingly positive.

He promised the final product will be even better than the concept while retaining “certain characteristics” and being a worthy successor to the iconic Defender.

“When we researched (reaction to the DC100), 90 per cent was very favourable towards the design, eight per cent indifferent and two per cent wanted to kill me apparently but I'll get over that,” he joked.

24 center imageFrom top: Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern current Land Rover Defender.



“That isn't the reason why we've changed it, we've just evolved – I think we've got a design now which is absolutely smack on where it needs to be and it's really exciting.”

Mr McGovern said Land Rover was mindful of “falling into the retro trap”, but despite the move to modernity he confirmed the next Defender will keep elements of its roots while being “absolutely relevant for its time”.

“These Defenders have to be premium but durable,” he said.

As reported, Mr McGovern explained that Land Rover products will be divided into families of luxury (Range Rover), versatility (Discovery) and dual-purpose (Defender).

This means there will potentially be several iterations of the new-age mud-plugger from small and affordable entry-level versions to luxurious premium variants.

“There could be a (Jeep Wrangler type vehicle) but there could also be a very expensive Defender as well,” he said.

“I would encourage you not to think of Defender as one vehicle, it is potentially reconfigurable, which is really exciting and you could take it right up there (premium) or right down there in terms of a very affordable cost-space.

“I can see an opportunity for a version of a very small Defender that is aimed at a very youthful market – clearly it has to have capability … but Defender has to have what I call extreme capability.”

Jaguar Land Rover global director of group sales operations, Phil Popham, said the company will reveal “something” relating to the next-generation Defender “way before we launch it”.

He also told GoAuto there was scope for the existing Defender to live on beside the new model in some markets, but that no decision had yet been made.

Replacing an icon like the Defender is no easy task, but the current model’s age-old design falls foul of safety and emissions laws in some of Land Rover’s 174 global markets, forcing it to withdraw the model and limiting sales to around 20,000 units per year.

The DC100 concept mixed modern Land Rover design themes from the Discovery and Freelander with traditional Defender design cues like the shape of its roof, wrap-around rear-quarter windows, upright door mirrors, rear-mounted spare wheel and flat-topped front wings.

An open-top DC100 Sport was also shown at Frankfurt and the concepts were reconfigured around several themes for subsequent motor shows around the world.

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All future models

Defender pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.