Speaking about the Defender’s successor at the Auto Expo in Delhi, India, earlier today, Design Director and Chief Creative Officer McGovern said Land Rover needs to broaden the Defender’s appeal, make it cheaper to build, and sell more than 100,000 a year – five times as many as the current model achieves.
But his comments on the key attributes of the new vehicle – as he sees them – are sure to reignite the debate that appeared to consign the DC100 concept to the history books as a Defender successor.
McGovern doesn’t think design has anything to do with why people buy Defenders: ‘The current Defender has never sold on its design and has changed very little over the years. What we are working on is something that will be more desirable to look at – the traditionalists might not like it but they'll have to live with it. It will still be as capable as before and there will be references to the old model – it might even have a spare wheel on the back.
‘The important thing is to get the proportions right, give it a distinctive silhouette and wider appeal. A Defender doesn't have to look overtly functional. We are taking a more sophisticated approach.’
McGovern added that the business case for the new model, the method of construction, and even where it would be built has yet to be decided. Solihull not a given? That’ll upset us ‘traditionalists’ even more…
We hope Gerry’s understanding of the word ‘capable’ is more in line with ours than our differing views on ‘design’ – which we think is a key reason why the Defender evokes so much passion. It’s because it’s simple, functional, unsophisticated that it’s lasted so long.
We know the Defender needs to evolve, and we hope it does, but ‘sophisticated’ is not a word we’re keen to see shape the look, feel and usability of its successor.
Sit tight, we’re at least two years away from finding out.