Land Rover to build new Defender on Discovery platform
24 September 2009

Project Icon, the long-awaited replacement for the 61-year-old traditional Land Rover, is under secret development inside JLR’s Gaydon design centre and earmarked for a 2012 launch.

The new Land Rover is a relatively simple, steel-suspended workhorse intended also to attract lower-end Discovery buyers. It should hit the market soon after Land Rover’s existing iconic model, the Defender, reaches the end of the road, killed by legislation, and will reach most of the current Defender's 160-odd export markets.

The new Project Icon workhorse is based on the tough, capable but relatively heavy T5 steel platform chassis used for the existing Discovery and Range Rover Sport models, both of which are due to be replaced beyond 2012 by aluminium-based models which are between 400kg and 500kg lighter.

See pics of the Land Rover Defender being tested off-road

Land Rover wants to retain a simple, twin-rail T5 chassis because allows them to continue offering the variety of body styles — hard and soft tops, truck and crew-cab versions – from which Defender buyers can now choose.

The T5 chassis supports a modern all-independent suspension available both with steel and air springs. It is well-known for its sturdiness, but will need its own weight-reduction campaign.

The model will be made in the UK at first, but JLR bosses believe it could soon be made from KD (Knocked Down) kits in big markets like China, Russia and India.

There are no details yet of Project Icon’s engines, but a big four-cylinder turbodiesel like the Freelander’s Ford-PSA 2.2-litre four, or the base Discovery’s 2.7 litre V6 turbodiesel make likely candidates.

Steve Cropley

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Comments
12

24 September 2009

Huh, it doesn't look any different judging by the photos.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

24 September 2009

[quote Zeddy]Huh, it doesn't look any different judging by the photos. [/quote]

The photos are of the current defender.

PS

I hope that citytiger and 404notfound will now have the balls to apologise to me.

24 September 2009

Does any of this make sense? How can the relatively cheap, lighter and less complcated current Defender be expected to be universally replaced by the ~500kg heavier current Disco/RR Sport platform? That would surely mean it would have to be sold at a substantially higher price, to cover the extra cost, and would need larger engines to haul it. Does this fit the remit of a rugged, civilian/military utility vehicle to be sold round the world, like the original Land Rover, up to Defender, and current competition, like the Nissan Patrol, which is gaining more and more military orders? Is the legislation which makes the current Defender illegal by 2013 EU legislation? If so could it be that Land Rover management are thinking about producing the current Defender right up to the cut-off of 2013 and then having the production line shipped off to Delhi say where it can be still made merrily for India, China, Russia and pretty much everywhere else besides the EU and North America, where it's already illegal, for pretty much forever and a day? That would leave the new 'Icon' Land Rover, based on the heavy, more expensive, more complicated T5 platform to just serve the green-wellie/gentleman farmer brigade in UK and well-heeled rural parts of Europe, whilst quietly Land Rover turns its back on UK military orders altogether, leaving the field to those specialist manufacturers who can provide the new requirment for heavily armoured all-terrain vehicles, above 'snatch' land rover/'Wolf' spec, something like the Iveco 4x4 NATO thingy. Would that make sense?

25 September 2009

[quote]zthomasz wrote the following post at Thu, Sep 24 2009 8:55 PM: I hope that citytiger and 404notfound will now have the balls to apologise to me.[/quote] When I see the first one roll off the production line, you might get an apology, but dont hold your breath. Today JLR tells the world its closing a factory, so it releases another story about a possible replacement for the defender that might be built in 2012, might have a T5 chassis and might have a Ford/PSA engine that will be getting a bit long in the tooth at that stage. Its spin to take peoples mind of the fact that JLR is very sick at present and is in real danger of going under, but never mind, they might make a new defender.

25 September 2009

I hope they don't change the looks too much because I like the look of it and it is original in its design. Its sub zero for coolness because of its simpleness

25 September 2009

[quote Zeddy]Huh, it doesn't look any different judging by the photos.
[/quote]

Lol!

25 September 2009

[quote zthomasz]The photos are of the current defender.[/quote]

Where has all Japanese design went to?

25 September 2009

[quote rogerthecabinboy]

Does any of this make sense? How can the relatively cheap, lighter and less complcated current Defender be expected to be universally replaced by the ~500kg heavier current Disco/RR Sport platform? That would surely mean it would have to be sold at a substantially higher price, to cover the extra cost, and would need larger engines to haul it. [/quote]

Thoughts on this part of your reply. Personally I would assume the extra cost would only come from the difference of the material and manufacturing time. By the time that the next gen Defender comes through JLR should have managed to acheive cost srecovery on the T5 chassis (assuming they have done thier sums right), so they don't have to bake development cost into the overall price. Hence why you see old Ford, VW, Toyota chassis in less developed countries, as they can't afford to include the cost of the develeopment of the platform until it has been fully recovered/amortised.

25 September 2009

[quote Zeddy] [/quote] +1

25 September 2009

I thought Land Rover were trying to reduce the number of platforms they use!
Here's yet another, albeit a carryover. Whilst I appreciate that Aluminium is a more expensive material than steel, it would have been good to see an all-aluminium Defender, sharing its chassis with the new Discovery. The reduction in weight would mean that the engines could be smaller and simpler, and the cross-country ability better. In addition, a bond/riveted, modular chassis would make a good basis for a number of variants, and cure that age-old land rover problem - chassis rot. (yes, I know Al corrodes, but not as much as steel under similar conditions)

As a Defender fan, I also sincerely hope that LR manage to retain some of the simplicity and charm of the existing car, and refrain from adding the cheap, tasteless, gaudy bling tacked onto their other products. This needs to be a vehicle for crossing a desert, fording streams, relentlessly chugging across open land. Not for leaning against outside a Cheshire wine bar, or for dropping off Oscar and Tasmin at school.
So come on LR. You now have the challenge that many of us would relish: To replace a true Icon. Don't FIU!

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