Diehard fans probably wouldn’t buy one, Land Rover boss admitts.
Some major changes are planned for the next generation Land Rover Defender, which should be ready for a market launch in early 2019. We already know it will ditch the body-on-frame construction for an aluminum unibody layout, and will be stuffed with various technologies to make it “relevant” to future buyers.
This is what Land Rover creative director Gerry McGovern has confirmed once again speaking to media at the Los Angeles Auto Show earlier this week, also revealing the design of the new Defender won’t be “a facsimile of the old one.” Instead, the off-roader will be inspired by the core characteristics that he says describe Land Rover as a brand – modern, fully automated, highly technical, and futuristic.
Given that, some fans of the classic model might find the new Defender a bit disappointing, but McGovern is well aware of that and understands their point of view. “I love the fact all these people are enthusiastic about it. I appreciate they’re the ones driving the euphoria but if they’re expecting to see a facsimile of the old one with all the latest tech, then I don’t think they’ll be satisfied.”
Simply said, McGovern describes the design of the new Defender and “polarizing” – new Land Rover customers will probably love it, but diehard fans probably wouldn’t buy one, because it won’t follow a retro approach. Of course, that doesn’t mean it will look like a shrunken Discovery.
The new Defender will be a truly global model with an expanded appeal to a broader spectrum of buyers, mostly young customers. It will be offered with multiple body styles and will be powered by Land Rover’s range of four-cylinder Ingenium engines. But the British manufacturer’s plans to electrify every new product that it launches from 2020 hint we might also see a fully electric or a plug-in hybrid version of the vehicle.