DC100 and Defender Split Grill

You may have read our previous Land Rover Wish List and the following update. Fortunately, many of our wishes have essentially come true over the past several months — or are destined to come true in the foreseeable future. So, here we are with the second installment of our Land Rover Wish List. Five new entries range from the reconciliation of the DC100 with its Defender heritage to Land Rover’s return to global expedition events.

Our New Top Five
Land Rover Wishes

Reconcile the DC100

In previous articles, we’ve talked about the criticisms faced by the Land Rover DC100 and we’ve talked about why the DC100 concept makes sense. While it’s still too early to tell exactly where the DC100 will end up come 2015, we’re starting off our new Land Rover wish list hoping for the best. By ‘hoping for the best,’ we mean that we would love to see refinements made to the DC100 that reconcile the future needs of the company with the heritage on which the Defender is built.

We would love to see refinements made to the DC100 that reconcile the future needs of the company with the heritage on which the Defender is built.

Additionally, we would also like to see the introductory Defender come to the U.S. as a competitor for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (MSRP of about $34,000.00), and not see the new Defender become yet another downtown safari fashion accessory like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

UPDATE 4/4/2012: An expedition-style DC100 has been revealed at the 2012 NYIAS. Also, Land Rover has casually stated the 2015 Defender could start under $40,000.00.

Additional Corporate and Retailer Engagement in the U.S.

Coming in next, we’re hoping for more corporate and retailer engagement in North America. Participatory activities and events have been scaled down by both Land Rover and its retailers thanks to the current condition of the U.S. and global economy. These conditions impacted not only local events, but also large scale productions. Land Rover cited economic factors as a primary reason as to why the G4 Challenge and the smaller TReK series were cancelled.

Land Rover Off-Road EventIt’s expected that Land Rover would be very active within its home market in the UK, but there’s surprisingly little activity here in North America beyond a few marketing events, high-dollar vacation packages, and the Land Rover Experience schools. While some Land Rover retailers do host off-road driving and related events, many do not. If you want to see just some of what we are missing in the U.S., tune into the official Land Rover blog.

Third party events held by Land Rover clubs and businesses are great, but are not available in all locations. In this corner of the U.S., a successful Land Rover meet-up is when two Land Rovers park next to each other at Home Depot.

Convertible Models in the U.S.

Land Rover is no stranger to making open vehicles. Aside from the 2015 DC100/Defender, the most likely candidate for a convertible option in the U.S. is the Range Rover Evoque. Rumors have been circulating that a convertible Evoque is almost a sure thing and may be revealed as early as 2013. As it is, other manufactures have beaten Land Rover to the convertible CUV market. For example, Nissan currently sells the two-door convertible Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet with a starting MSRP of $44,540.00.

On a side note, we’re still hoping for a full-size two-door Range Rover.

UPDATE 4/4/2012: Land Rover is currently showing a Range Rover Evoque Convertible concept on the international show circuit. The vehicle is currently at the New York International Auto Show.

Land Rover’s Return to Expedition Events

We can only hope that Land Rover is able to return to competitive expedition-style programs like the G4 Challenge.

Earlier, we mentioned the TReK dealership events, but even the TReK event was a relatively minor footnote in Land Rover’s competitive expedition history. The most famous event was certainly the Camel Trophy, followed by the G4 Challenge and to a lesser degree the Dakar Rally. While Land Rover’s involvement with the Camel Trophy ended primarily due to the diminishing role of the vehicle itself within the event, the G4 Challenge and TReK were victims of global economic realities.

Land Rover’s current goals are global expansion. When this strategy is fully underway and paying dividends, we can only hope that Land Rover is able to return to these expedition-style programs. Now, the question is raised on whether the company will have the proper vehicles to face the challenges that these events put forth. To answer that question, we have to go back to our first entry in this list and await the outcome.

The “Range Rover Evoque” that is scheduled to take part in an upcoming Dakar Rally is not really an Evoque, but a completely purpose-built car that is not officially affiliated with Land Rover.

UPDATE 4/4/2012: Land Rover is currently undertaking a Journey of Discovery expedition to celebrate the production of the 1,000,000th Discovery and to help raise $1.6 million for a water sanitation project in Uganda.

Avoidance of Excessive Badge Engineering

We’re certainly advocates of cutting costs through shared platforms, but there is a limit as to how far this can be taken before it backfires. Most recently, it was revealed that the 2013 Range Rover will be based on a highly modified Jaguar chassis. Surprisingly, this revelation has not caused the uproar we would have expected from the Land Rover enthusiast community. The company has stated that the Jaguar platform will have undergone significant revisions before underpinning the Range Rover, which may have been enough to appease critics … for now.

Ultimately, we hope the company stays safely within shared platform territory rather than going too far down the badge engineering road. A road now paved with the remains of HUMMER, Mercury, Saturn, Pontiac, and Plymouth. The HUMMER is a particularly relevant cautionary tale. The HUMMER originated as an extremely capable and robust purpose-built off-road vehicle with military roots. It ended life as a reskinned Chevrolet Colorado.

G4 Challenge Land Rover Discovery 4

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