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First Look: Land Rover Defender Concept

Coming to America?

by on Aug.31, 2011

Land Rover will reveal the DC100 concept at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

Underscoring its aggressive product development program, Land Rover will reveal an all-new concept version of its big Defender sport-utility vehicle at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

The update of what is arguably the British maker’s most iconic model will go into production in 2015, though Land Rover officials caution “there is no current decision” on whether to bring the reborn Defender back to North America.  Perhaps not, but as TheDetroitBureau.com recently reported, that is something Land Rover is hoping to accomplish if it can meet U.S. regulations – and lay out the necessary business plans.

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The new Land Rover Defender, we earlier reported, will be part of a much more aggressive product program that is kicking off with the current launch of the all-new Range Rover Evoque, and which also includes a variety of new powertrains, including the brand’s first hybrid, a plug-in.  (Click Here for that story.)

“Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world,” said Land Rover Design Director Gerry McGovern.  “This isn’t a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.”

For the moment, there are no plans to export the next Defender to the U.S.

Dubbed the DC100, the prototype will be used to generate consumer feedback to help finalize the design and features of the next-generation Defender.

The Defender is a direct descendant of the original Land Rover launched back in 1948.  It was originally introduced in 1983 as the Ninety – - a reference to its wheelbase in inches.  A larger Land Rover One Ten followed, along with the 127.  Back then, the only other model in the brand portfolio was the high-line Range Rover.

The name was switched to Defender in 1989 following the addition of a third product line, the Discovery.

The Land Rover Defender finds extensive use in military, as well as civilian, applications.  It’s also shown up in Hollywood, becoming the vehicle of choice for fictional adventurer Lara Croft of “Tomb Raider.”

The 2015 target date for a new Defender is no accident.  The SUV will need a major redesign to meet updated European safety standards, notably including new rules for pedestrian impact protection.

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