Autocar is reporting this morning that Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s design director is confident the new entry-level Land Rover could “do for Land Rover what the Evoque did for Range Rover,” by winning awards, reinvigorating the brand, and increasing sales numbers. According to the Autocar article, the new Land Rover, which would replace the Defender, has an expected debut date of 2015.
For a long time, Land Rover had built its profit base on small sales of very exclusive and high-end luxury 4x4s. When the company released the entry-level Range Rover Evoque to critical acclaim, resulting in a massive sales success, it began to re-think its product plan.
That’s where the DC100 concept comes into play.
Right now, in the US, the entry-level Land Rover is the LR2, which has never done terribly well stateside. Elsewhere in the rest of the world, the Defender, Land Rover’s iconic, boxy, hardcore off-roader leads the brand’s charge. In 1996, however, the Defender was pulled from the American market when Land Rove refused to update the vehicle to meet increasing federal vehicle standards.
The new thinking at Land Rover is that a new Defender replacement, like the DC100, chock-full of modern technologies, would make an excellent entry-level vehicle in the US and elsewhere.
Don’t worry, however. The new Defender, while being much more modern, will be just as tough and as capable as the current and previous versions. In the Autocar interview McGovern said of the next Defender, “James Bond needs to be able to kick the hell out of it and it will still be able to get up for more.”
Apparently, when asked about the looks of the DC100 concept, over 90 percent of people have given it a nod. We, however, aren’t sure it’s Land Rover enough to replace the Defender. The current version has bodylines that stretch back to the first Land Rover from 1946, the Series I. The DC100 looks a bit too much like a Toyota FJ Cruiser for our tastes. Given the design genius of the Evoque, however, we’re confident the next Defender that hits US showrooms will be stunning.