Defender DC100 Concept Vehicle

Much to the delight of Defender-lovers everywhere, Land Rover recently announced that the long-wheelbase Land Rover Defenders — the 110 and 130 — would live on for at least a  few years past the DC100’s introduction in 2015. Now, it has also been revealed that Land Rover intends to show a revised or reworked version of the DC100 concept at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. The show will be held between November 18th and the 27th.

According to the original article on Inside Line, Land Rover is maintaining that the overall reaction to the DC100 has, “reinforced what we wanted to do and told us that we’re pretty much on the right track.” Even though we have heard both sides of that particular coin, we’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on the overall nature of the feedback. Global Brand Director John Edwards also told Inside Line that the new Defender must be, “capable, usable, and abusable and appropriate for the Third World market.” Read: NGOs and commercial buyers. 

Inside Line reader ‘iancar’ had this to say: The Defender needs to be the “AK-47” of the automotive world, “simple, functional, and stress/dirt [tolerant].”

Perhaps Inside Line reader iancar put it in simpler terms: The Defender needs to be the “AK-47” of the automotive world, “simple, functional, and stress/dirt [tolerant].” We absolutely agree. That said, we also feel that there’s no reason the Defender can’t be offered as a base model that can be optioned up into a feature-rich and/or technology-driven vehicle. Whether the Defender is positioned this way remains to be seen.

A New DC100-Based Defender

Here is what we would like to see happen with the DC100 come 2015. You can read more about this on our Why the DC100 Makes Sense post and our new Land Rover Wish List post.

1. Global viability and affordability. Regardless of what form it takes, bring the Defender to the U.S. market. More specifically, bring it to the U.S. market as competition for the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Nissan Xterra, and FJ Cruiser class of vehicles.

2. Hybrid powertrains. Assuming the Range_e does not come to the U.S. in its introductory year — and right now there is no indication that it will — we would like to see the DC100 hit the market with a hybrid powertrain option. This remains true even if the DC100 hybrid is not diesel-based, as is the Range_e.

3. Market appeal. We truly believe that the new Defender should appeal current users (off-road, NGO, commercial, etc) and to new buyers alike. We often look back on the 1997 and earlier NAS Defenders with rose-colored glasses — perhaps rightfully so — but there are reasons why Land Rover pulled the Defender rather than rework it to meet U.S. regulations.

4. Functionality. Land Rover needs to make good on the statement that the DC100 needs to be “capable, usable, and abusable” for the “Third World market.” As we mentioned before, this doesn’t need to translate into a vehicle that is not feature-rich. Starting with a utilitarian base trim and allowing the customer to build the Defender they want rather than forcing them to purchase prepackaged trims could go a long way to diversifying the DC100.

UPDATE 11/14/2011: Land Rover has released official photos of the DC100 and DC100 Sport that will be appearing at the LA Auto Show. The official unveiling will be held on the 16th.

Land Rover DC100 Concept

[via Inside Line]

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