Land Rover is unsure on new Defender but knows what it should be
2 September 2010

Land Rover “knows what the new Defender should be”, according to a senior source, but the company is still working out how it will be engineered and put into production.

As part of the plan, it is likely to cut down on the huge variation of commercial body variations and allow military sales to dwindle.

See pics of 62 years of the Land Rover Defender

Land Rover started work on its replacement to the iconic 62-year-old Defender, known internally as Project Icon, in March this year.

Tata Motors signed off funds for a full engineering and design programme for the car and the project has therefore been granted a place in Land Rover’s product cycle and is due to be launched in 2014.

Read Autocar’s first drive of the Land Rover Defender 110 2.4D Station Wagon

Land Rover insiders have admitted the brand needs a greater clarity and some customers find its current model line-up confusing.

The Land Rover Defender will be reinvented with Project Icon and, even though the Defender name is unlikely to be carried over to the new car, many of the original car’s looks and values could be used in the final production model.

The car had previously been tipped to 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.See all the latest Land Rover reviews, news and video


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2 September 2010

Or in a better way of putting things:
"We have come to the end of road the with the Defender, We've actually screwed up supplying the Military, so there is now no reason for us to continue with this product. Truth be known, we've been scratching our heads on how on earth we were going to evolve the Defender into a modern contemporary design and retain the robust composition still required for genuine off-road usage. Yet; We have a cunning plan. It's replacement will barely look like its predecessor and will have less off-road capability. However; the good news is; that for an optional fee you can have that feeling like you're slowly freezing to death from the toes up in true Iconic Defender style."


2 September 2010

Quote: "Land Rover insiders have admitted the brand needs a greater clarity and some customers find its current model line-up confusing."

I agree with this completely and Land Rover have only themselves to blame: front-wheel drive cars, new Range Rover Evoque about the size of a Golf, Discovery's at £40k!...what do they expect. Next we'll be having the Range Rover Evoque Sports Targa and the Range Rover Sport stretch limo - no wonder the brand is suffering. Ford should never have sold Land Rover.

2 September 2010

OK, my ideas:

  • Aluminium spaceframe
  • Plastic panels like the Smart car- all bolted on so easily replaceable. Why not give leave them in an unpainted, coloured matt finish like the THiNK city car (obviously available in a few colours)- this would look modern & different while still being functional.
  • The current model is not that space efficient with a long bonnet, so the new version could have a very short bonnet & a "cab-forward" design, making it more space efficient. The SWB could be shorter than the current '90 with the same loadspace. Longer versions could offer van-like loadspace/ seating.
  • SWB, LWB & XLWB variations- van, passenger versions, pickups, & a double cab to rival the Hilux etc in overseas markets
  • Electronic axle drive etc is too complicated- it needs to be a very simple vehicle that anyone can fix. Making it much lighter means a 1.8TD or even 1.5TD engine would be perfectly sufficient for the SWB, reducing running costs & emissions.
  • When side-facing seats were banned the '90 went from a 6 seater to a 4, & the '110 from an (up to 11?) seater to a 7. Give the passenger versions proper front seats (& proper middle row in the LWB) then flip up seats in the back like the Toyota IQ etc. The current seats seriously impinge on the loadspace. Im picturing the XLWB possibly having a front row of 2, middle row of 3/4, & 2 further rows of 2 flip-up seats with a walkthrough gap in the middle. & the car would be no longer overall than a 110.
  • NO electric windows! NO carpets! NO stylised dashboard- just a shelf & drivers controls! Aircon option essential for overseas markets.
  • Completely modern but functional styling, with just a few nods to the old version- circular front lights etc. Big chunky black plastic bumpers & lower side panels. Maybe give it a cream roof & cream painted steel wheels to link it to the old version. Making a retro pastiche like the Jeep Wrangler would be a massive mistake.

Ive got some sketches actually of what I think it should look like which I will have to scan in at some point.

2 September 2010

[quote R32]Ford should never have sold Land Rover. [/quote]

Agreed. Nor should they have sold Volvo, Jaguar or Aston Marton - PAG as they called it.

Ford knew how to put in a quality system and improve the reliablity of these brands. But what they lacked was a vision of where to take them. Aston had Callum who designed the DB7 and Vanquish, but laid down the looks of the DB9 and Vantage V8. It gave them a future, one they're still living off (they are beautiful cars).

Jaguar, now with Callum, has a much better future now they've shrugged off the dated XJ and it's derivative look. It's what Ford should have done before the last of the old look XJ was released, and they had all the evidence to support this as the X-Type with it's XJ look never ever delivered on the sales they wanted. More platform sharing with Ford would have been ok too (stuff what some snobby journalist say - especially when they heap prase on the Audi/VW/Seat/Skoda cars which all use the same platforms and engines).

But Land Rover are the ones who really have lost their way. They're more in challenge to the likes of Bentley with the Range Rover, and an entry level 4x4 that's anything but entry priced. Defenders are what Land Rover are world famous for; They'll get you anywhere you want to go. A Toyota Land Cruiser by contrast will get you there and back! That's what's needed, an improvement in reliability and image associated with it.

However you look at it; Ford screwed up.

2 September 2010

I think kicking Ford is a bit of an instance of hindsight always being 20/20. As a company, they were fighting for their existence and we all didn't know whether we were going to have a recession or a depression. It seems to have fallen from the public memory pretty quickly that there was quite a long period of time when we weren't sure that there were going to be cash in the cash machines the following day.

2 September 2010

Presumably what all this means is that the new Defender - regardless of what they call it - will lack everything which made the old one great and/or annoying aside from its basic appearance which, in the manner of the MINI and Fiat 500, will be rudely caricatured. The result will inevitably outrage Land Rover purists, but this won't matter at all as the company knows and has known for years that it can't make a living from these people who whatever they say prefer to buy, run and love old LRs or more likely can't afford a new one. By flirting with the old styling cues and bandying around the well-rehearsed Land Rover line about being the last word in off-roading it should successfully sucker sufficient new buyers for the company to survive and thrive, buyers who in the main will fool themselves into nearly believing that they are buying the real McCoy when in fact the truth is hardly anyone out there really wants the real McCoy which is why the company has found itself up a creek on this one for much of the last 15-20 years.

2 September 2010

[quote RobotBoogie]I think kicking Ford is a bit of an instance of hindsight always being 20/20.[/quote]

You're right on the ball there; but thankfully I've been saying exactly what I posted for years.

Case in point, I seen some concept pictures of the X-Type where the front was swept backwards and said that's how it should have looked, or it should have moved away from the old XJ style completely. When the last of the traditional XJ looking car was launched I said it was daft to continue with a style which had lost favour, and an insult to all the modern engineering that went in to it.

As for the Defender, it's bought new because of it's off road ability. The V8 one that my dad owned and I drove was fantastic at everything but motorway driving.... ;-)

2 September 2010

Probably checking with Victoria Beckham to make sure it looks OK for Hockey Mums in Essex

2 September 2010

LR's celebrity design guru in fact lives in Sawbridgeworth, over the border in Herts, but what's a hockey mum?

7 September 2010

The important thing for Land Rover is to ensure that it competes with something already in their range - that's what they excel at. Range Rover Sport successfully competes with Range Rover and Discovery 3 (or 4 if you believe the marketing) Freelander was moved upmarket so it could compete with Discovery 3 (yeah yeah, 4) Range Rover Ewok (whatever) will compete with Freelander 2 and Range Rover Sport, with the 5 door competing head-on with Freelander 2, only smaller and more expensive (surely some mistake?) Ideally, new Defender needs to compete with Freelander 2 and Discovery 3 (4, 5, 6 etc), possibly also Range Rover Ewok and anything else of a similar size that Land Rover might dream up over the next decade. Preferably it should appeal to mums on the school run in west London and under no circumstances will it be suitable for a couple of sheep in the back, unless they're packaged in nice little polystyrene trays and carried in a Waitrose bag. Oh dear.

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