With Land Rover
undergoing somewhat of a revolution there is a lot
of speculation and activity about new Land Rovers
and concept Land Rovers. Some speculation is
accurate and some is way off. But it makes for
Well here we go again. The new Land
Rover Defender 2007 has barely hit the streets after years of
speculation as to how, where and why it will continue. This time
the story goes that the deadline is 2013. In
2004 the story went that the
Defender was being re-devloped to enter the American market in
2007 and 2008. Well here we are and that has not happened, the
vehicle is not for sale in the US. Thankfully for some, the
Defender continues on. in more or less its standard form.
The burning question is, what would it
look like and will it be better or worse, than what we
have now. The most passionate Land Rover Owners, and probably
motorcar owners, are the Defender drivers. They drive the vehicle
because it is so functional. It doesn't have bells and whistles,
comfort, 21st century design, or composite materials and that's
why they like it.
Looking at a recent article that
automobilemag.com the future for the Defender does not look so
rosy. They maintain that it cannot fit in with the future strategy
of the Land Rover Group. It is written from an American
perspective which is interesting. It kind of makes sense. Why
would Land Rover re-design the Defender to compete in the US
market when it hasn't been there for such a long time.
Read the details of the aluminum-based
future for Land Rover, according to some long-range product
planners at the Premier Automotive Group.
Autoweek had this view:
When will we get a Defender? Maybe
Sales in the
United States will be critical for the Defender replacement, which
is scheduled for 2013 in Land Rover’s future product plan. To
justify the investment, Land Rover reckons it must double yearly
sales of 25,000 to more than 50,000. It can count on new markets
such as Russia, China and India for some of that increase, but the
United States will be the key.
Front and side airbags will be a prerequisite, and so will an
all-new chassis, because today’s simple setup won’t allow airbag
Land Rover can’t look to its own technology, either. It admits
that the platform under the LR3 and the Range Rover Sport is too
expensive for a vehicle that needs to list from about $40,000 in
the United Kingdom (that figure includes a heavy dose of taxes).
One possibility is for the next Defender to share development with
Ford Europe’s Transit truck, which offers flexibility of
construction, a huge variety of body styles and toughness closer
to the Defender than Land Rover’s other upmarket models.
Autocar.co.uk ran the title: Defender will Soldier on till
The all-new replacement for the
Land Rover Defender is scheduled for launch in 2013, only the
fifth time in 60 years that the iconic model has been renewed by
Land Rover is currently in the
exploratory stages for the new Defender with design, engineering
and marketing teams looking at the early engineering and business
case for the new car.
The significant date, six years
away, is critical because of future emissions standards, rather
than crash legislation. Land Rover is confident it can get the
revised 2007 Defender, a revamp of a car whose lineage goes back
to 1983, through the next phase of pedestrian-impact legislation
What is known about the new
Defender is that it will retain rugged go-anywhere durability and
the styling will be an evolution of today’s look, influenced by
design director Gerry McGovern’s new ‘premium adventure’ styling
It is already clear that the
business case must revolve around a hefty rise in annual sales,
from today’s 25,000 to closer to 50,000 units.
That rise will come from extra
sales in new markets like Russia, China and Asia, but more
significantly North America, where airbag legislation killed the
current model in the late 1990s.
It is also clear that the new
Defender will be built on a dedicated platform. Land Rover could
share componentry with the ‘integrated bodyframe’ structure from
the Discovery, but sources confirm it’s too costly to underpin a
A key issue is whether a future
Defender needs to be offered with today’s range of around 170
different variants such as tipper trucks and fire engines.
Both of these sources had the same
author, Julian Rendell
Rover DC100 and DC100