► The Land Rover DC100 concepts
► An early 2011 look at new Defender
► How the Defender could have been
The new Land Rover DC100 concept car was shown at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show - pointing to the company's planned replacement for the Defender 4x4.
Land Rover has now confirmed officially that it'll launch a successor to the Defender in 2015, and the DC100 provides plenty of clues to what we could expect.
A second Land Rover Defender concept was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt show. Read about the DC100 Sport here.
So the Land Rover DC100 is the new Defender?
Hang on a minute. Not quite. Land Rover today kicks off a process of deciphering what a Defender should stand for in the new millennium.
The current Defender has changed little for decades, and dwindling sales suggest that Gaydon needs to reinvent the hardcore 4x4 DNA to keep it relevant in these carbon-crunched times.
Insiders suggest that Land Rover must keep the honesty and purity of the Defender, so it appeals to core markets such as the agricultural and country communities, as well as rescue services and third-world buyers.
But how should it stretch up to appeal to car owners more used to creature comforts? That is the challenge that Land Rover faces.
The DC100 is one interpretation for how a future Defender could look. It's short, squat and modern. Are we alone in spotting a hint of Skoda Yeti in the side profile and glass treatment?
At the front, there is a new chopped-circle headlamp graphic, and a fresh design to the Land Rover honeycomb grille. The mud-plugging photo suggests that Land Rover will make sure the DC100 and future Defenders can cope with the brown stuff as well as before.
Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern on the DC100
'Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide,' he said. 'This isn't a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.'
John Edwards, global brand director Land Rover, added: 'Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market.
'We plan to engage with existing and potential customers to help us finalise the details of the new vehicle. One thing's for sure, it's going to be an exciting journey, and we can't wait to get going.