Radical redesign for Land Rover faces rough ride

 

Is it a car? Is it a van? Is it a crane, a troop carrier or an ambulance?

The versatile and much cherished Land Rover Defender has been all of these, its design remaining almost unchanged in more than 60 years. But now the car's makers have unveiled a new and radically different concept car, which points the famous Defender in a new and not altogether popular direction.

The company has said it will bring a new, modern version of its Defender truck to market in 2015, at the same time as revealing pictures of a concept vehicle called the DC100, which will appear at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, and which hints at the next-generation Defender's appearance.

The DC100 is a distinct departure from the elevated shoebox-like shape of the Defender, a car with a large cult following, and many are not impressed.

"The first time I saw it I thought it was fake," said Simon Ward-Hastelow, editor of Land Rover World. "Someone emailed me the pictures a couple of hours before the official launch. I didn't believe that was it. On our Facebook page and in our inbox we've not had one positive response. It looks like a Kia Soul. But then, I guess we are enthusiasts for the original."

Hand-built in the Midlands, the tough, unglamorous Defender was equally popular with farmers, leisure users, and particularly the military.

"We've only got two photos sofar," said Mr Ward-Hastelow. "But I can't see how they're going to makeit modular.

"The existing Defender is a platform you can turn into anything... that was one of the big selling points, you could put anything on the back of it. I can't see how they will do that with this one, but then the pictures we've seen are just the 'civilian' form."

It is a problem that Gerry McGovern, Land Rover's director of design, understands all too well.

"Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide," he said. "This isn't a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century."

The Defender was developed from the first Land Rover series, launched in Britain in 1948. For many it is a bastion of British design and engineering. When US forces noticed during the first Gulf War that the British Army's vehicles were better suited to air-lifting and for operations in urban areas, they began using them in place of their own beloved Humvee.

The British Army has used Land Rovers since the 1950s, as have many countries in the Commonwealth of Nations.

"Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market," said John Edwards, Land Rover's global brand director. But for some of its most ardent fans, the DC100 is a stuttering start.

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    (Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

    Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

    £55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

    Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

    £60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

    Principle Geotechnical Engineer

    £55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices