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31st August 2011

Land Rover Reveals Defender Concept Ahead of 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

posted in Car News Articles |
Just the Facts:

  • The DC100 provides clues about the new Defender, due in 2015.
  • It was designed to stimulate debate about the model’s future direction.
  • This will be the most significant update since the 1948 original.
  • The new Defender will be coming to the U.S.

GAYDON, England — Land Rover has released two photos of the Defender concept it will debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in September. The two-door DC100 offers a clue as to how the replacement for the iconic Defender will look when it goes on sale in 2015. “This concept is designed to stimulate debate,” a Land Rover spokesperson told us. “We are committed to a Defender replacement, but this concept will help us to understand what direction it must take.”

One of the key questions the company must answer is whether the new Defender is a simple off-road tool for the developing world in the spirit of the original Land Rover, or whether it’s a fashion-conscious toy for the affluent. The recent decision to distinguish the more utilitarian Land Rover family from the more opulent Range Rover lineup could be a clue to the Defender’s likely path. According to Global Brand Director John Edwards, “the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market.”

This will be the most significant Defender update since the original Land Rover was launched in 1948. The two-door, which has a short wheelbase and an exaggerated “wheel at each corner” stance, is being billed as a true concept in contrast to the sister Jaguar C-X16, which is a production concept. DC100 is an idea, not the finished article. Gerry McGovern, director of design, reckons the concept is, “the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.”

Land Rover has promised to reveal more details of the concept’s drivetrain in Frankfurt, but it has confirmed that this will be a global car. For the first time since 1997, the Defender will be offered in the U.S. as Land Rover targets a new customer base. The company sold 20,185 Defenders last year, a figure it hopes to increase significantly with the launch of the new model.

Inside Line says: Let’s hope the DC100 points the way to a proper off-roader that’s true to the spirit of the original Land Rover.

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