Tough job to shift an icon
Land Rover says it has learned a valuable lesson
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.