At the heart of everything Land Rover was the Defender. 2015 is the year it is to be replaced after 67 years of production. The question that is on everyone’s lips is how is Land Rover going to make the DC100 concept as popular as the model it is replacing?
Since 1948, when the first Land Rover rolled off the line it was constantly being tinkered with and evolving to make it a better off-road vehicle. 67 years down the line, EU regulations brought down the ‘guillotine’ on the Defenders’ long and illustrious career. Stringent emission regulations to come into force by 2020 have forced Jaguar Land Rover to stop production of the beloved Defender and start work on its replacement.
Throughout the years iconic models have been recreated by all types of manufacturers such as BMW bringing back the Mini, Volkswagen with their beloved Beetle and Fiat with the beautifully small cinquecento or 500. All three of these models were given time to be remembered as cult classics and left as memories in people’s minds before returning as the recreations you see on the road today. The secret to their success, in recreating the cult classics is by giving them a new lease of life but also staying close to what made the original models great. When the Fiat 500 was released in 2007, the new model was not trying to push the original into the shadows. The company embraced its resemblance and used it in a lot of its marketing campaigns.
It is known that Land Rover will be following three pillars for their design strategy; Leisure, luxury and Dual Purpose. Will the Defender replacement fit in to the Leisure pillar or will it fall under the Dual Purpose category?
John Edwards, Global Brand Director for Land Rover said, “The entire Land Rover team is excited about the opportunity, and the responsibility, of creating the replacement for the iconic Land Rover Defender. 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.”
One thing is for sure, the Defender replacement will need to be rugged enough to handle all terrains but also easy enough to fix without having to take it to a professional. That is what made the Defender so great for all these years.The ethos at Land Rover design are based around four key elements for the Defender replacement;
Functionality allowing a new approach to the design and capability of the vehicle but also including clever features that are not usually found in a rugged Defender such as flexible seating.
Sustainability: by using recycled and lightweight materials that ensures the vehicle will survive the test of time also plays back to the original Land Rover where by the company used aluminium which was surplus during war-torn Britain.
Premium Durability: All choices for the DC100 were specifically achieved through attention to detail and after 67 years of evolution by its predecessor.
Desirability: Again after 67 years of production, Land Rover know that the replacement must deliver an ownership experience that will not blow your mind but also be comfortable in all walks of life.
If the DC100 is to follow the concept, we can see that it will be available with an automatic gearbox with most modern luxuries seen on most of the Range Rovers available today, including systems such as ‘wade assist’ which alerts the driver on how deep the water is around the vehicle.
John Edwards, said the new model would be “instantly recognised” by people who drive the current vehicle but it “won’t necessarily be cheap”. Will that sway potential buyers to look at the competition?
The DC100 prototype has two designs, one known as the DC100 sport allowing the owner to actively express freedom and leisure and the DC100 which demonstrates its capability and versatility as an off-road vehicle. These two models will be used for leisure activities along with also the basis to modify for use by armies, Police forces and humanitarian aides. Will it be as successful as the vehicle it is going to replace?
BBC News. 2014. Land Rover Defender production ends. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-24446070 [Accessed: 20 Jan 2014].
Italiaspeed.com. 2014. italiaspeed.com: FIAT 500. [online] Available at: http://www.italiaspeed.com/2007/cars/fiat/07/500_launch/launch_party/0407.html [Accessed: 21 Jan 2014].