New Land Rover Defender May Be Polarizing

According to an article in Australia’s Motoring Magazine, the design of the new Land Rover Defender, still yet to be unveiled, will be aimed for the future, technologically advanced, and probably polarizing to old-school Land Rover Defender fans.

Land Rover Defender

Speaking to the Australian press at a roundtable discussion at the Los Angeles motor show today, McGovern declared that the all-new replacement for the 69-year old original would become the “backbone of the Land Rover brand”.

Until now, the outspoken British design boss has been more than reluctant to discuss the Defender but, caught in a jovial mood, McGovern was happy to confirm exclusively that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler rival will not have visible rivets when it’s launched in 2018 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the famous rugged SUV.

Let’s face it, the previous one over a period of 68 years sold just over two million vehicles. If you think of the Evoque over five to six years it’s sold over 700,000 in that period.

In order to justify its investment, it’s going to have to be a global vehicle. Future customers will not have any preconceived ideas about it and in order to get people to come to the brand customers will have to buy a Defender on its merit.

I love the fact all these people are enthusiastic about it. I appreciate they’re the ones driving the euphoria but if they’re expecting to see a facsimile of the old one with all the latest tech, then I don’t think they’ll be satisfied.

That said, I do think it needs to acknowledge the great heritage of Defender in terms of its capability, in terms of its robustness, its durability – but not necessarily its visual quality.

You have to remember as it was built and evolved, the car-maker back then was like a cottage industry. To me a retrospective approach proves a lack of creativity.

Does that mean it will look like a new Discovery? Of course it won’t. It has to go through the same rigour in design and for me it has to be honest and true for a vehicle we’re producing today and not preoccupied with what’s gone before.

— Gerry McGovern, Design Director for Land Rover

We still have to wait a while longer to see what the new Defender looks like and what will power it. Perhaps due to the desire to thwart imitators or perhaps simply craving the big reveal, Land Rover has been very closed lipped about the eagerly awaited return.  These statements by McGovern have been some of the most forthcoming yet, causing speculation to run rampant.

Gerry McGovern, Design Director for Land Rover

If I had to place my bets, I would wager on something totally electric, radically different in production method, and perhaps even unrecognizable as a descendent of the original Series vehicles.


Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British

Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car enthusiast, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100 and a 1977 MGB. But there is always room for more - no matter what his wife says.