Land Rover has started work on its replacement to the iconic 62-year-old Defender.
The British firm has formally been working on the Defender replacement, known internally as Project Icon, for two weeks after parent company Tata Motors signed off funds for a full engineering and design programme for the car.
Project Icon has therefore been granted a place in Land Rover’s product cycle and is due to be launched in 2014.
At this stage, Land Rover is working out the positioning of the car and how it will be marketed. After successfully reinventing the Range Rover brand with new Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover LRX models, Land Rover is turning its attentions to sorting out the positioning and model line-up of its core off-roader range.
Land Rover insiders have admitted the brand needs a greater clarity and some customers find its current model line-up confusing. The Land Rover marque will be reinvented with Project Icon, a car that may not last 60-years, but will be the company’s flagship for at least the next 20.
Project Icon is unlikely to take the Defender name for production, although many of that car’s looks and values could be carried over to the new model. The car had previously been tipped be underpinned by the firm’s T5 steel platform chassis. Although capable, Land Rover feels it will be too heavy going forward in the future.
Land Rover’s Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) technology, which it displayed in a Freelander in 2008, could make production in Project Icon to help improve economy and reduce emissions.