The Shropshire Star is reporting some fresh news on the tenuous future of Land Rover’s iconic Defender model.
In an interview with Land Rover Design Director, Gerry McGovern revealed that the next-generation Defender must achieve a five-fold sales increase in order to remain in the stable of the British car maker’s offerings. That would essentially mean 20,000 annual sales to approximately 100,000. McGovern stated,” We have to broaden its appeal…" make it "…more relevant to the modern world, lighter, more aerodynamic and more cost effective." Adding, "The new model will have to wash its face."
Land Rover Design Director, Gary McGovern, With New Defender Concept Cars DC100 & DC100 Sport in 2011
The real questions for US enthusiasts are:
1. Does that five-fold increase really include a planned release for the US market (as has been reported)?
2. What will the 100,000-selling vehicle function and look like.
Surely, to garner 5 times the current sales, a US release of the model has to be in the cards and past "veiled" threats by Land Rover brass that a new US Defender may be coming can't be hollow this time. But will it be a release that staunch Defender enthusiasts will approve. The short answer in reviewing recent new Defender concept cars like the DC100 is: likely not.
McGovern stated that the Defender "…has never sold on its design." Also, he hinted that the new model will be “…overtly functional" and "…more sophisticated."
Semantics aside, he likely means that the current model has never sold on style as its primary consideration. It’s always been an off-road work horse that can be maintained by DIY owners in the field with wrenches, elbow grease and a little labor of love… and that a new model will need the much broader appeal and pedestrian-focused design for the mass market – an idea that makes most stalwart Defender owners and enthusiasts cringe.
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