Currently reading: The cars that defined Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern's early career
As of late, Gerry McGovern has been responsible for the design of the Range Rover Velar and 2017 Land Rover Discovery - but this is how it all started
Steve Cropley Autocar
2 mins read
5 August 2017

Born in Coventry, carmad Gerry McGovern was so addicted to sketching in school that his maths teacher uttered the immortal words: “How do you expect to get a job if you draw cars all day?”

As a teenager, he met Chrysler design boss Roy Axe, who was first to spot his talent. He studied design in Coventry and London, and then began work at Chrysler Whitley, now Jaguar’s design stronghold.

Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern tells us what motivates him

Here are some of his early successes:


After time with Chrysler in the US, McGovern rejoined Roy Axe, who had become design chief at Austin Rover, and worked on this mid-engined MG, surely one of the most beautiful British concepts ever. The car, never built, was a big hit at the Frankfurt motor show in 1985 and lives today in the British Motor Museum in Gaydon.  


Rover Group’s 1990s desire to re-create the great days of the British sports car bred the MG F programme, with McGovern as lead designer. The influence of Fiat’s X1/9 plus the availability of the Metro’s transverse power pack led to a mid-engined layout. It lasted, in various forms, for 15 years. 



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McGovern designed this pioneering first-generation compact SUV, which showed that a family friendly 4x4 could perform far better than rivals off road and provided Land Rover with much-needed sales success. Launched in 1997, it became Europe’s top-selling 4x4 for the next five years.


When McGovern returned to Land Rover after time at Lincoln in the US, his conviction that Land Rovers should be more prestigious was reflected in his prompt upgrades to the Discovery Mk3, which subsequently performed better on export markets. The philosophy has been adopted by the whole company. 

Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern on the new Discovery

Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern on the new Range Rover Velar

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Citytiger 6 August 2017

The Discovery 4

Was basically a facelifted Discovery 3, I suspect no one expept LR geeks can tell the difference, so you cant really call it a McGovern design. 

MarkII 6 August 2017

The McGovern Effect

Sorry but I don't quite understand the love affair with Mr McGovern.
The examples cited above were all terrible vehicles and neither they nor the designs that followed are ever likely to go down in history as design classics.
Can McGovern's designs eclipse those of Giugiaro, Bertone, Gandini, Pininfarina, Schreyer, Porsche, de Silva etc? I think not! The list would be a long one before I'd rank McGovern.
Being British, I'd love to support Land Rover but McGovern's range of car designs are all, to one extent or another, clones of the FFRR - compressed a bit here, tweaked a bit there, with little individual character to denote their points of difference or demonstrate a genuine flair for design.
Land Rover has the capacity to be so much more than it is at the moment but I remain to be convinced that Mr McGovern's designs hold the key to a bright future, when they are so formulaic.
Land Rover's design dept may be more in charge than it once was but that's not necessarily a good thing, as the current quality and reliability of the company's products wouldn't be acceptable for the kind of utilitarian mud plugger on which the Land Rover name was founded, let alone a range of (so called) 'Premium' vehicles.
When there's a good balance between flair, design language, product identity, engineering excellence, quality & reliability, then and only then, will LR be where it needs to be, so let's not overstate the part one man has to play in it.
reckless fox 6 August 2017

Not very good?

I put down a deposit as soon as orders were open and took delivery of one of the very first MGF VVC's (the higher powered one) in the country - in Red. It was a fantastic car in every way except moisture getting in some of the secondary dials (which the dealer rather unwisely told me was a known flaw they didn't have the time or money to fix before launch- very Rover!) After a year my cicrcumstances changed and I sold it for only £500 less than new (although list was higher by then) so a great experience all round.


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