Land Rover confirms new version of its Defender model

Land Rover DC100 concept car The new version of the Defender will be based on the DC100 concept vehicle

Land Rover will release an all-new version of its Defender model in 2015, it has confirmed.

The carmaker has also released the first images of the concept car upon which the new Defender will be based, the DC100.

This is set to make its public debut at next month's Frankfurt motor show.

The first Land Rover was introduced in 1948 and its basic design has changed little over the past six decades. More than two million have now been sold.

The Defender name was first used in the early 1990s, shortly after the launch of the Discovery.

Analysis

Land Rover insists its next Defender will be a rugged workhorse, having ruled out moving it upmarket as a luxurious car that simply looks butch on the outside.

But competing in the market for working vehicles will be a major challenge.

Land Rover can no longer rely on military contracts, so more promising markets might be in developing countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, where working vehicle sales are booming in parallel with rapid economic growth that is predicted to continue for decades yet.

To succeed in these markets, a new Defender will need to be able to compete on both price and quality.

It will need to be both cheaper - so the cost of production will need to come down - and better, in terms of both capabilities and fuel economy.

And arguably, the overhaul cannot come too soon for a vehicle that now feels hopelessly outdated next to the company's latest offering, the Range Rover Evoque.

Land Rover's director of design, Gerry McGovern, said: "Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide.

"[The DC100] isn't a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century."

John Edwards, Land Rover's global brand director, added that the company was "determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market".

UK-based Land Rover and its sister brand Jaguar are owned by India's Tata Motors.

"Land Rover insists its next Defender will be a rugged workhorse, having ruled out moving it upmarket as a luxurious car that simply looks butch on the outside," says BBC business reporter Jorn Madslien.

"But competing in the market for working vehicles will be a major challenge."

Land Rover can no longer rely on military contracts, so more promising markets might be in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, where working vehicle sales are booming in parallel with rapid economic growth that is predicted to continue for decades yet.

"To succeed in these markets, a new Defender will need to be able to compete on both price and quality," says our reporter.

"It will need to be both cheaper - so the cost of production will need to come down - and better, in terms of both capabilities and fuel economy."

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