10 May 2004

Land Rover is set to expand its range with radical new models, following the announcement last week of a new advanced design studio. Gerry McGovern, a former boss of Land Rover design and creator of the Freelander, is to head up the new studio, to be based at Land Rover’s Gaydon technical centre.

‘We will identify the opportunities of stretching the Land Rover brand and see if there are any interesting niche openings,’ he said.

McGovern will head a team of up to 10 designers, picked from Land Rover’s own crop of design talent, and will report to Ford design supremo J Mays and PAG engineering boss Hans Gustavsson. Land Rover design chief Geoff Upex will major on production design.

We asked McGovern:

What is your new role?

‘To identify what Land Rovers will potentially look like in six to seven years’ time and, if we are to step out of the box, what those models will be.’

Does that mean a Land Rover car?

‘I’m not saying that. But Land Rover is a power brand and there’s potential to amplify the brand with new models.’

Where will you start?

‘Land Rover’s brand and design is very well planted today. But the question is whether that clarity has the same relevance in seven years’ time.’ And your first show car?

‘I’m not sure. Most important is getting stuck in and developing a strategy for what we want to do.’

You are currently winding down the Ingeni studio in London. How is that going?

‘We’ve redeployed everyone very successfully. But we have a 20-year lease on that place and it won’t be completely shut down.’

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