Land Rover Defender Blog

The new Defender: What do we know?

Here's our round-up of the facts, leaks and rumours surrounding the next generation Land Rover Defender.

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

August 12, 2014

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year
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There's been a lot of speculation and rumours banded around about the new Land Rover. It's hard to keep on top of what's happening with the vehicle's development. So we've compiled everything we know about the new Defender replacement into one, easy to digest post.

Video

August 2011

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The DC100 is revealed at the Frankfurt Motor show

October 2011

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Due to a change in EU law, Land Rover hinted at this time that the current model may be able to remain in manufacture to 2017, using the 2.2 Duratorq fitted to the most recent Defenders.

April 2012

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Land Rover dealers begin accepting advance deposits for the Defender replacement. Those who put a payment down jump to the front of the waiting list, paying between £500 - £1000 ($1000 - $2000). The amount is refundable. Cheques are made out to: "Concept Advance Scheme Hedgefund"

At the same time, Autocar reported that even though the DC100 wouldn't be the replacement Defender (it's apparently a design experiment, to see where the Defender should go), it could be come the cheapest model in the Land Rover range as company executives expressed a desire to produce it as an entry-level leisure vehicle. Brand director, John Edwards, stated that the vehicle would be retailed circa £20,000.

October 2012

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During the 2012 Paris Motor Show, Jaguar Land Rover North America CEO Andy Goss said the 2nd generation Defender will be manufactured with American safety & emission standards in mind. He also stated it will be a "global product'.

An update, published later said Land Rover's "intention is for the next generation Defender to be engineered in a way that would allow it to come to the U.S.". By no way a confirmation it will land on US soil, but proof at least, that Land Rover are investigating doing so.

March 2013

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Gerry McGovern tells a press conference at the New York Auto show that his design for the Defender will be "the dogs ********" (An english phrase meaning, it will be the absolute best). He also reveals they may be working on derivatives of the model, such as a lifestyle model or an extremely expensive 'über' model that's fully trimmed out. On the topic of looks:

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Gerry McGovern

New York Auto Show

Why can’t a car that’s incredibly durable and workable look good as well? A bit like Daniel Craig…

April 2013

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Sathosa Motors announce they have the rights to being build CKD (completely knock-down kits) of the Land Rover Defender. They're investing $1 million in creating a plant in Sri Lanka to assemble the vehicles.

June 2013

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Autocar reported in June 2013 that the idea of a 'back-to-basics Defender" had been scrapped and that the engineer in charge of the Defender replacement project was rallying for doing away with the separate chassis design that makes the Land Rover so practical.

November 2013

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Gerry McGovern says that there will be a pick-up version of the new Defender and that it could go on sale as early as 2017. The pick-up model would be launched after hard-top models. He also said that this version would be a more 'premium' product, a word that we see banded around a lot with this replacement. It would sit alongside a VW Amarok in terms of quality and trim levels.

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At the LA Motor show, a marketing presentation is given by Land Rover to show their 2015 line-up and discuss growth areas. This slide appears to show, from left, a Range Rover, what we now know to be the Discovery Vision concept and a 3rd vehicle. This 3rd model can be seen to have a much chunkier, rugged appearance, with a rear wheel carrier. The vehicle is tagged as dual purpose and for all intents and purposes, looks like a modernised Defender. Another slide shows crew cab and pick-up variants.

February 2014

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Speaking at Auto Expo in Delhi, India, Gerry McGovern, the Land Rover design director, talked about the Defender replacement. Among the phrases banded around were ‘desirable’, ‘more sophisticated’ and ‘traditionalists might not like it’.

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Gerry McGovern

Auto Expo, Delhi

‘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.’

At this time, the specifics of construction, including location were being discussed. The new Defender may not be produced in Solihull.

July 2014

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Jeep announce they are working on a new Wrangler, but expect competition from Land Rover, whom they are keeping an eye on. Jeep CEO, Mike Manley had this to say "I have no doubt that Land Rover will come into the fight with a product. They are an incredibly well-known brand on a global basis. It would be incredibly naive of me to not watch Land Rover very closely.”

August 2014

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It's reported , by the auto industry press, that the new Defender has been finalised, in terms of its exterior design and appearance. Due to production of the new Discovery and Jaguar models, the new Defender may be launched in 2019, 4 years after the final current Defender rolls off the production line.

The design is apparently completely different to, but inspired by the DC100, a design that is less "generic" and keeps the simplicity of the original Defender, whilst making it more "appealing for adventure".

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11 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Looks like a Mini Countryman on steroids. Not my cup of tea at all.

  2. HUNTER says:

    Time people like you opened your minds up, time moves on and dinosaurs and Land Rover need to move on. The old Defender’s time is up, the DC100 was a cracking looking vehicle that sadly LR didn’t have the balls to produce. Time to move on buddy the world hasn’t stopped spinning!

  3. Jim says:

    The Discovery Concept looks like my 2013 Ford Explorer-driven by soccer moms here in Canada. It’ll get lost in the mix. The new “Defender” does look like the Mini -driven primarily by people wearing golf pants. If they toughen up the looks and remove some of the exterior fiddly bits it might sell here.

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      You’re right Jim, from what we’ve seen so far, it’s not an outstanding, unique or original design. However, from what we’re hearing, the Defender replacement will be much less generic than the DC100

  4. David Browning says:

    It will almost certainly be way over priced for what you’re actually receiving (just look at what LR did with the Evoque !). And …… From what little I have gleaned from the pictures so far leaked, it isn’t designed to be a true work horse any more…..more a down sized Chelsea tractor. The good news is, second hand values f “real” Defenders is set to go through the roof 🙂

  5. Pierre van der Walt says:

    By the looks of it Land-Rover will simply be opening the doors to Toyota to sell even more Land-Cruisers and push L-R completely out off the real offroad market in places like Africa. And, L-R teaming up with animal rightist groups is not going to help it amongst ranchers, rangers or sportsmen. In South Africa there already is a negative reaction to the company’s apparent rejection of active outdoorsmen.

  6. dave says:

    Looks like a kia soul.

  7. seth stanbury says:

    This is the worst thing to ever of happened to land rover
    why cant they just put a more efficient engine in the existing chassis and body shell rather than creating a chelsea tractor like they did with the range rover

  8. intai says:

    Respecting all the comments and expresing myself as a LR fan, I simply think this is the most good looking car ever and fits my needs and tastes perfectly, crushing out door whenever and whereever without looking like inside a Safari Car like the traditional defender or wrangler. I cannot wait more till the final new defenders model shows up, I wish sooner than later because I’m looking forward to acquire a couple, a 3 door defender just for me and a 5 door defender for my wife and kids… off road and comfort suits us perfectly!

  9. lucydog11 says:

    I thinks it’s baloney that the design is finalized. They’ll cobble something together last minute using pieces from the Jeep Wrangler and Discovery parts bin. Wait…I’d buy something like that!

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