The new Land Rover Defender has had to grow up and re-create itself to match the buyer needs and demands of the modern world, according to the brand’s head designer.
The previous Defender is one of the longest-serving models in automotive history. First launched at the 1948 Amsterdam motor show, the original model lived until January 2016, with the consistency in body and chassis design allowing it to sell without things like airbags and other modern necessities. The new one, though, has been forced to grow up.
Speaking to the media at a private event before the launch of the new Defender at the Frankfurt motor show, the chief design officer for Land Rover, Gerry McGovern, said the new Defender couldn't be harnessed by the old car. Instead, it needs to push forward and appeal to a new audience, ideally becoming an icon in its own right.
“We mention the term 'potential for an icon'," McGovern said. "When you launch a vehicle, it isn’t an icon. Clearly the old one is an icon as it has been around for so long, the test of time will tell us if the new Defender will over time become an icon."
“When you think of Defender everybody has a story about one, it has never been an ordinary vehicle," he went on.
"It’s such a simple elementary design even a child can draw one. Its recognised around the world for its durability, adaptability, etc.
"we were very cognisant of that when we designed it, but just remember one thing; the new Defender had to be designed for a world that has changed beyond recognition from when the original was created," he mused.
"So acknowledge [the old] but you cannot be harnessed by it, it needs to appeal to a new generation of customers.”
The new Land Rover Defender will be available in three-door 90 guise and five-door 110 wheelbase, with the larger model arriving in June next year and prices set to start at around the $70,000 mark.
The smaller three-door car will join the lineup towards the end of the year, with pricing expected to be finalised in early next year – after Brexit and its permutations are clearer.
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