They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's the case JLR design boss Gerry McGovern ought to be blushing over the heaped on praise implied by the latest Chinese Land Rover rip off to hit the market. Chinese carmaker Zotye is the latest imitator to take up that dubious mantle.
Ford entered into a joint venture with the Chinese company to build cheap electric vehicles in the country. It looks like the first product of that unholy matrimony will be the Zotye T800. Judging from the photos and patent drawings we've seen, the vehicle is a dead ringer for the latest model Range Rover Sport. Like the ridiculously-named "Land Wind X7" Evoque clone that came out a few years ago, the T800 is nearly identical in almost every respect, with the exception of some trim detail and interior features.
The iconic Series Land Rover and its younger Defender offspring are known for their nearly un-matched off-road ability, ease of service, and most of all, their propensity to leak constantly, unaffected by the careful efforts of their hapless owners.
It is only appropriate then that news out of Solihull regarding the new Defender comes to us in the same way - trickling out so slowly that it goes unnoticed. Then one day, suddenly there is a puddle on the ground of sufficient size to be worth doing something about.
Which brings us to today's blog. I think the last time we left off on the topic, we knew the Defender would not retain any retro-looking style based on the old models, that it would have an electric option, and be out in 2019.
The UK automotive blogs were all abuzz last week with images of a number of different Land Rover prototypes out on test, wrapped in the usual dazzle camouflage. The Land Rover product line is expanding so fast and models getting updated so frequently that even as a blog writer tasked with reporting on this very sort of news, the spy shot stories have started to get boring. So much so that I nearly missed this one.
Sometimes I love him, other times, not so much. While I may not agree with all of his aesthetics, I have to admit that Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern has, at the very least, introduced some compelling designs and has helped, along with other JLR top brass, to steer Land Rover perhaps its greatest level of success and growth, potentially in the history of the company. That said, would they be so successful now if they weren't backed up by 60 years as the reigning king of the 4x4 dirt pile? Perhaps not, and I think he recognizes that. For all that he has done until now, I know I'm not the only one out there who would agree that he's managed to keep the spirit of Land Rover alive even if the finished vehicle has a different look from its predecessors.
Range Rover design chief Gerry McGovern presents SVO Discovery SVX to select dealers and customers the week of the LA Auto Show.
Everybody knows dogs love Land Rovers. I don't know what it is, but something about jumping up into the back of a Rover must fulfill some canine instinct. Is it just Rovers? Or perhaps other 4x4's as well? My friend had a Chesapeake Bay retriever that loved riding in the back of his Series III 88" so much, she would poop every time after the first few miles. After the inevitable cleanup, she would just lay down in the back and go right to sleep.
One often heard argument around the campfire at certain club "events" is that EV's aren't as efficient as "they" would have us believe. Because, well, "think about it" - the environmental carnage that occurs as the result of manufacturing and then later disposing of all those batteries is surely either equal to, or worse than, the bigfoot-sized carbon footprint of a V8 Range Rover.
Legendary explorer and Land Rover brand ambassador, Kingsley Holgate, has just returned from his latest expedition up the East coast of Africa. The Extreme East Expedition, using new Land Rover Discoveries, as well as the Holgate Foundation's own stalwart Defender 130, took the team from Kosi Lake, located at the easternmost point of South Africa, to Ras Xaafuun in Somalia, the most easterly point of the entire African continent. In reaching Ras Xaafuun, the expedition drove the entire East coast of Africa, including a secretive and dangerous run through war-torn Somalia.
The Bollinger B1 all-electric SUV is due to be launched in mid-2019. Earlier this month, the start-up firm Bollinger Motors, based in Hobart in upstate New York, is in the final stages of developing its new B1 SUV. In the few months since we first learned about the Defender-esque B1, some details have emerged, along with a few videos showing the vehicle in testing off-road and even out on the track.
Land Rover execs and perhaps a few others' dreams have been dashed. For the execs, because they took a gamble on producing a two-door Evoque for the US market, and it didn't sell. For others, it's because, well, they wanted a smaller version of a Range Rover but only if it also offered a smooshed roof and only two doors.
"Proper" Land Rovers, as I like to call them, have square fronts and flat windscreens. The shape of a Land Rover is so instantly recognizable, at once both nearly featureless with its flat panels, and completely unique with its "tumble-home" wheel arches, sloping triangular roof, minimalist bumpers, scuttle vents under the windscreen, and other quirks of appearance.
A successful replacement for Defender will require a design that ticks all the boxes of utility, durability, functionality, and adaptability while satisfying the nostalgia of rabid fans and followers all over the world. It will, of course, need to meet ever-stricter standards for emissions and safety in a multitude of markets, and hopefully do better in terms of reliability than its predecessor. It needs to not just do all of those things, but also do them with that uniquely British sense of perfectly understated classless sophistication that seemed to be "bred in the bone" of every Land Rover, with a few notable exceptions, from the very first 80" all the way through the end of production in 2016.
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