Tough job to shift an icon

Land Rover says it has learned a valu­able les­son

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car news -

an icon it’s quite likely that you’ll see it quite early,’’ Land Rover boss Phil Popham tells

‘‘We’ve made the de­ci­sion we are go­ing to re­place it. But we’ve got to work through the tech­nol­ogy de­ci­sions first. Weare still some way off be­ing in a po­si­tion to an­nounce what it’s go­ing to look like, what it’s go­ing to be. But work is con­tin­u­ing.’’

Popham says the DC100s, which starred at a se­ries of mo­tor shows last year, have done a good job but won’t be seen again in 2012. be­lieves they have now been re­tired.

Dur­ing a brief Aus­tralian visit, he stopped just short of con­firm­ing a 2013 pro­duc­tion will be­gin in 2014. It is also go­ing back to the US for the first time since sales were sus­pended there in 1997.

‘‘We’ve got some use­ful re­search with DC100, which is a lit­tle bit po­lar­is­ing in terms of those that love it, those who are in­dif­fer­ent, and those that didn’t like it,’’ Popham says. ‘‘But that’s ex­actly what we wanted to get. We expected that.’’

The two DC100s were built un­der the di­rec­tion of Aus­tralia Mur­ray Di­etsch, ex-Ford Aus­tralia, who was chief en­gi­neer on the land­mark Land Rover Evoque. He has not been named as chief of the fullscale De­fender project.

Popham says the project is mov­ing fast, with the fo­cus on en­sur­ing a ve­hi­cle that is suit­able for more than just the hand­ful of hard­core De­fender fans.

‘‘A lot of work is be­ing done now in terms of the tech­nol­ogy we need to ap­ply to De­fender to make sure it de­liv­ers in terms of per­for­mance and the duty cy­cle,’’ he says.

‘‘We un­der­stand what the car needs to be, what it needs to de­liver, where it’s go­ing to be sold. We­need now to find the best way from an engi­neer­ing de­sign point of view to bring it out.

‘‘We’ve pretty well run the busi­ness case. What we’re into now is the tech­nol­ogy we need to bring to mar­ket and the im­pli­ca­tions that has for de­sign. Ob­vi­ously de­sign and engi­neer­ing need to work to­gether.’’

He says Land Rover is al­ready set for De­fender pro­duc­tion, af­ter up­grades in Bri­tain.

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