Friday, August 12, 2011

Designing a new car from scratch is a relatively easy task for an automaker –provided it has the resources. Replacing an icon, however, is much more difficult.
Especially if said icon has a long and distinguished history and has made its manufacturer synonymous to hardcore 4x4 capabilities. The Defender is one such example.
However, that’s what Land Rover intends to do, and the first step will reportedly be the unveiling of a new Defender concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Land Rover director John Edwards told Autocar magazine that he “can’t imagine not producing a successor” to the four-wheel drive that established the brand. However the market is now much more competitive and Land Rover's owner Tata Motors must find a way to make the new Defender a credible rival that can command higher prices without losing its legendary character.
Edwards admits that for the project, which is scheduled to begin production in 2015, to be viable, annual sales must be in the 60-80,000 units region.
In comparison, only 18,000 Defenders were sold worldwide last year. Edwards says that, like the 4x4 it intends to replace, it must be versatile and reliable enough to adapt to army use.
Currently Land Rover is considering all options for the new Defender’s underpinnings, from using a modified Discovery chassis to designing something completely new.
Whatever the British company decides, one thing is for sure: they need to satisfy the loyalists and at the same time attract a much larger clientele.


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