Land Rover Defender set for a brand new look

An all-new Land Rover Defender has seemingly been in the pipeline for quite a while but it is getting closer to realisation – although a big issue is making the numbers add up.

Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

What we will see, in two or three years time will be quite a radical departure from what has become something of an automotive icon over its 60-year history, according to Land Rover’s design director Gerry McGovern.

The company makes around 20,000 Defenders a year, but McGovern said this number needs to increase dramatically to make the project worthwhile.

“We are still making the business case, ultimately the new model will have to wash its face. We need to be looking at 100,000 vehicles a year and so we have to broaden its appeal.

“The current Defender has never sold on its design and has changed very little over the years. What we are working on is something that will be more desirable to look at.

“The traditionalists might not like it but they’ll have to live with it. It will still be as capable as before and there will be references to the old model – it might even have a spare wheel on the back.

“The important thing is to get the proportions right, give it a distinctive silhouette and wider appeal. A Defender doesn’t have to look overtly functional. We are taking a more sophisticated approach.”

McGovern added: “What we really need to do is make the Defender more relevant to the modern world, lighter, more aerodynamic and more cost effective.

“There is still a lot of work to do on the business case, the architecture, where we will build it and the like, so we are still looking at least two years or more from now.

The new ‘baby’ Jaguar will break cover this summer ahead of market launch next year although the company said there has been no decision on a production version of the CX17 SUV concept.

The new, smaller saloon will give Jaguar a presence in the C-D sector against mainstream models from German premium brands.

Along with the C-X17, it is based on the company’s new D7A architecture which, design director Ian Callum said, could provide the building block for a number of different models.

For now, the focus is on the new smaller saloon and refreshing existing models.

Callum said: “We certainly need a smaller saloon in the range to give the Jaguar brand greater visibility on the road and we can’t do that with a three-car range.

“As for the C-X17, we are still quite small in automotive terms so we have to prioritise what we do.

“While we have a mission and an expectation to grow we have to balance this with cost and benefit. We also have a sister company which is very good at making premium SUVs.

“We have to pick our targets and we are really only just getting to the point where people recognise what Jaguar is all about on a global scale.”

Following the launch of the highly acclaimed F-Type, Callum said he has achieved his ambition, launched 10 years ago, to rejuvenate the Jaguar line-up.

“It actually took longer than I thought it would and now I have sleepless nights worrying about where we go from here.

“Top of my to-do list is refreshing our existing models – I am even working on a facelift for the F-Type already. My target now is a family of cars which will be instantly recognised as Jaguars, we are still not quite there and it’s a real challenge.”

How far can the brand be stretched?

“The new modular architecture will allow us to do any number of things, but once again it is all about priorities. Could we do something even smaller? I think we could but that is a decision which hasn’t been made yet.”

Jaguar North America has announced record levels of consumer engagement for the growing British luxury brand with the launch of its ‘British Villains’ marketing campaign – led by the broadcast debut of Rendezvous, its 60-second cinematic television advertisement which broadcast during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII.

The spot launched the campaign, which introduces the Jaguar F-TYPE Coupé and features the campaign’s unique hashtag, #GoodToBeBad.

Rendezvous, Jaguar’s first Super Bowl TV advertisement, stars Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong, and was filmed by Oscar-winning British director, Tom Hooper in London.

Since the campaign announcement late last year  and through the evening of the Super Bowl airing of Rendezvous, Jaguar saw extraordinary increases in traffic to JaguarUSA.com and social channels.

By Sharon Walters