A Jaguar Land Rover executive says the new Defender “won’t be the traditional farmer’s vehicle that it once was”.
Speaking to whichcar.com.au, Mark Cameron, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Australia, said the new Defender’s positioning would be "slightly different" to that of the original.
“If you look at the previous generation, and the generations before that, it started off as a farmer’s vehicle. [The new Defender’s] positioning is going to be slightly different,” he said.
“That first generation had so many different body styles; you could put a flat bed, a cherry picker on it if you wanted to. The [number] of conversions that people did with the previous generation was huge,” he added.
Of course, we already know the new Defender will run on a monocoque chassis rather than the ladder-frame arrangement of its forebear. Cameron suggested this change was necessary to meet the needs of modern buyers.
“Here’s the crucial thing, it also has to be modern. If you look at the old car in a rational perspective, it fell short of what many people expect these days, whether that be in safety or emissions, ride comfort, technology and connectivity; all those things.
“The real challenge for our designers and engineers has been to find that sweet spot where you don’t lose the DNA of what people loved about the old Defender, but you correct the era states, and things that people now expect and legislation demands,” he told the publication.
“You have to remember that with the old Defender we couldn’t sell it in half the world. North America; we couldn’t sell it, Europe; we couldn’t sell it because of emissions, so we had to do something, and what I have seen of the car, I think it will talk to those people that want something that is Defender-eque but is also modern and comes with good on road manners."
Despite the change in underpinnings, Cameron insisted the new Defender would be as durable and capable as the original.
“Where this car will absolutely meet the DNA of the previous Defender is in the durability and capability. But it won’t be the traditional farmer’s vehicle that it once was,” he said.