Land Rover Defender range to grow

10 Oct, 2013 10:36am Paul Bond

Land Rover Defender replacement to get range of models focussing ever more on luxury

The all-new Land Rover Defender is set to play a major part in Land Rover’s expansion over the next few years. And like the revamped Discovery family, it will spawn a range of bodystyles to satisfy a wide range of buyers.

Former brand director John Edwards – now in charge of the bespoke Engineered to Order Division at Land Rover – spoke to us about his plans for replacing the icon. And now that the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Evoque have completed the ‘luxury’ pillar of the business, he told us: “Our focus is on chapter two and three, which is the leisure pillar and the dual-purpose pillar.”

In plain English, the ‘dual-purpose’ pillar refers to the Defender, with the brand keen to move the new model

– previewed by the DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts back in 2011 – away from the traditional utilitarian image.

• Land Rover DC100 review

Edwards added: “The current Defender is probably too rooted in off-road – it needs to be more civilised in the future. That’s why it’s dual purpose.”

But he was quick to reassure buyers that “we are not abandoning off-road capability; we are talking about
a breadth of abilities instead”.

Production of the current Defender will end in December 2015, but we were told there will be a gap before the new version arrives in mid-2016. Edwards promised a variety of body types, too, telling us: “If you look at the range at the moment, there are 17 types. We won’t do that many next time round, but we want to satisfy as many customers as we can.”

Land Rover Defender review

However, when we asked about the possibility of a baby SUV to sit below the Evoque or the baby Discover, he said: "In the next five to seven years, we have no plans to go below the Evoque and Freelander. It’s not because I’m concerned about the brand; I think the brand is elastic enough to live beneath those cars."

Finally, Edwards promised that Land Rover would launch a new or heavily revised model every year. “We are ambitious to grow,” he said. “For me, momentum is important. Put it this way, we’ll be keeping you busy.”

Disqus - noscript

It would be good to have a Land Rover with car-like drivability, while still keeping its tough-guy off-road abilities.

It doesn't have to be luxurious, just viable enough for a motorway drive to be a pleasure, not a pain.

If you give a Defender-class vehicle better on-road features - doesn't that make it a Discovery ?

looks like a mini countryman on steroids

It never fails to amaze me that Land Rover cannot see that they should be making a Yeti. They are right about the Defender, it has to be many things to many people, but the one thing you can be damn sure of is that Land Rover will overprice it. They should have dropped the Freelander when the Evoque was marketed, and re-engineered it to be the new Defender. Opportunity missed...yet again!

LR/RR do real off road vehicles, not soft-roader crossovers like the Yeti and the Macan. Someday Jaguar can put their name on a girly 4x4, but LR/RR must keep their distance.