Will the Defender be Land Rover’s new best seller?

Land-Rover DC100Land Rover is going through a bit of an identity crisis. The company started off as the British Jeep, making tough off-roaders for farmers and the British army. That is hard to believe today; luxury trucks like the Range Rover and LR4 fill Land Rover showrooms, while the utilitarian Defender is a niche model. Over the past thirty years, the company did a complete “about-face,” and according to boss John Edwards, it’s about to do another one.

Edwards is confident that the new Defender, based on the DC100 concept (pictured) from the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, will be Land Rover’s best seller. he said the Defender will help Land Rover break out of the luxury segment, and that a simple, affordable design with many body styles will increase sales volume.

“The leisure market is huge,” Edwards said. “We get a very significant share of the premium SUV market that BMW and Porsche compete in, but the leisure segment is bigger, it’s growing and our share is smaller. Our ambition is to grow here.” He was not very clear on what the “leisure market” is, but if Land Rover wants to expand beyond the stereotypical suburbanite, who only uses their X5 or Cayenne to ferry kids to school, they might be on to something. Plenty of people still use their SUVs to haul bikes, camping equipment, and other recreational gear.

One aspect of the new Defender that will definitely broaden its appeal is the number of body styles Land Rover plans to offer. In addition to the standard, wagon-style, SUV body, there will be two- and four-door pickup trucks. If the new Defender is anything like the old one, there may also be a two-door SUV and a convertible a la Jeep Wrangler, along with other body styles.

Edwards cited the Toyota Hilux as the benchmark vehicle for the new Defender, proof that Land Rover is serious about getting back to its proletarian roots. “It has a good cost base and distribution,” he said of the favorite truck of anti-Qaddafi rebels and Top Gear.

Toyota sold 549,000 Hiluxes worldwide last year, many in countries where Land Rover does not have a significant market share. Hence, going after Hilux customers will give the British company a new foothold in those markets. Land Rover already has a pretty significant presence in the United States, and it hopes to increase its sales here with the Defender, which was last sold here in 1997.

The sport-utility market has become much more competitive since the last Defender left U.S. shores, but Edwards is “massively encouraged’ about the car’s potential appeal. He said people thought the DC100 concept was a $70,000 car, but Land Rover plans to sell the production Defender for a much lower $30,000-$40,000.

A cheaper, more versatile vehicle seems like a great way to increase sales. Not everyone can afford a luxury SUV, and most people don’t need one. With its simple, rugged design and multiple body styles, the new Defender could come close to being all things for all people. Or it might turn out to be marketing hype from an over-enthusiastic businessman. Either way, look for the new Defender in showrooms in 2014 or 2015.

Computing

3DMark’s Port Royal lets you benchmark ray tracing on Nvidia’s RTX cards

UL is adding another benchmarking utility to its popular 3DMark suite to help gamers measure their graphics card's ray tracing performance. You'll soon be able to measure how Nvidia's RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti stack up.
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Computing

Why limit yourself to one OS? Try one of these great virtual machine apps

Buying a new computer just because you want to utilize another operating system isn't necessary. Just use the best virtual machine applications to emulate one OS inside another, no matter what your platform or budget is.
Cars

Bosch is developing a Rosetta Stone for autonomous and connected cars

Bosch and start-up Veniam want to create a common language that autonomous and connected cars can use. The two firms have developed a connectivity unit that transcends the national boundaries of technology.
Cars

Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.
Cars

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.
Cars

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!