(c) TheDetroitBureau.com 2011
Land Rover will pull the wraps off a concept version of its big Defender model at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, with the maker’s top designer telling TheDetroitBureau.com that it will provide not just “a vision” of what the next-generation SUV will look like but where Land Rover itself is going in the years ahead.
Aiming to navigate rapidly shifting global trends – and increasingly stringent mileage, emissions and safety regulations – Land Rover is trying to reinvent itself. The first sign of where the brand is going came with the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque, the production version of the LRX concept first seen at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2008.
One place the next-generation Defender is set to go is the United States. The model, which has been unavailable in the States since 1999, should stage a return in the next few years, Land Rover officials promised. What remains to be seen is whether it will also make its return with the new U.S.-certified diesel the British maker confirms it is developing.
The Evoque, just now rolling off the assembly line, is a downsized, more fuel-efficient version of the classic Ranger Rover, and the first-ever crossover from the brand that, for many, defines SUV. The Defender concept coming to Frankfurt aims to blend some of the Evoque’s new styling cues while emphasizing that Land Rover isn’t abandoning the classic sport-ute.
It will be “a vision of what the Defender of the 21st Century would be,” said Gerry McGovern, the oft-outspoken former Ford designer who now heads styling operations at Land Rover.