Land Rover wants parent company Tata Motors to produce the all-new Land Rover Defender at its manufacturing headquarters located in Pune, India. But as part of a ‘reverse CKD’ operation, it will likely return several models to Europe to have its final assembly in the UK. Freelanders intended for Asia are already being built by Land Rover in India.
In an interview with Autocar, Tata chairman Ratan Tata said that this new Defender plan will have the twin benefits of decreasing the manufacturing costs of a model Land Rover hopes to be affordably priced in Europe and of finding a Defender operation near key Asia-Pacific markets where sales are expected to be strong.
Land Rover decided that the 2015 Defender will have body-on-frame construction instead of the monocoque design that was also considered. Hence, it will retain the configurability of the current models while providing packaging, comfort, controls and dynamics that are more modern. It is probable that the Defender will utilize upgraded, lightened variants of Land Rover’s highly coveted T5 ladder chassis, presently used for the Discovery and Range Rover Sport.
The basic styling of Land Rover’s recent DC100 concepts is believed to be extremely close to what’s planned for the new Defender. However, details like wheels, lights, grilles and interior styling will be changed.
If Land Rover decides to adopt the Pune manufacturing plan, the Defender will have the same major chassis and suspension parts as the revised version of the Indian-built Tata Aria SUV, which is also produced in Pune and is expected to arrive after several years. Actually, these two chassis are not identical but they will have nearly the same dimensions and specifications and so, they will be subjected to the same manufacturing process.
The Land Rover DC100, an off-road concept vehicle, is quite a head-turner with its substantially different design treatment and proves the flexible modularity of its design platform. The DC100’s profile is distinct, unique and iconic. It is easily recognizable, a head-turner like its predecessor- the original Land Rover and its eventual successor, the Land Rover Defender. With its classic muscular profile and powerful engine, the DC100 is suitable for both on-road and off-road driving, be it in a scenic English village or in an Icelandic hardened lava field.
Being an all-terrain vehicle, the DC100 is a perfect example of the Land Rover’s practicality and more importantly, its reliability. The minimally-angled windscreen reduces reflective glare and distortion, thereby providing good visibility, while the removable and interchangeable rear roof gives the DC100 more versatility. Removing the rear roof will allow for a larger cargo capacity while replacing the rear roof offers more seating space. A heavy-duty winch which can easily pull a car is ingeniously morphed into the DC100’s front grille, while towing eyes have been strategically located on the DC100’s corners.
Another impressive feature of the Land Rover DC100 is the roof-mounted solar panels which provide power for the on-board control system, thereby easing the load on the engine and in the process, reduce carbon emissions. To further improve its overall energy efficiency, a reflective metallic silver color is painted on the DC100’s exterior. The sun’s rays are deflected by the reflective paint, especially in hot climates, resulting in a more efficient climate control system.
Land Rover has produced a distinctly impressive concept in the DC100 Sport, which covers a new frontier in terms of innovation and technological achievements. It is interesting to note though that the DC100 Sport was inspired by the design features of its predecessor, the canvas-roofed Defender with its fold-down windscreens. Today, these design features are classic iconic traits of the Land Rover’s adventuristic spirit.
Reconfigured as a performance concept vehicle for the 21st century, the DC100 Sport has an aerodynamic wrap-around wind screen, while its side windows were reduced for a more exciting open-air drive. A twin-humped sweptback roof, with a generously-sized load rack, is equipped with specially designed fittings to accommodate extreme sports equipment.
A breathtaking, metallic amber exterior paint finish, with striking ochre accent hues, is the assigned color for the DC 100 Sport’s exterior. It is truly an exciting, well-engineered and enjoyable vehicle, whether driving in the city, negotiating rough mountain roads, or simply enjoying a cruise along a beach.