News : Land Rover DC100 for Frankfurt

Keith Adams

Land Rover DC100 concept
Land Rover DC100 concept

Land Rover’s exciting DC100 Concept will be unveiled to the public at the IAA in Frankfurt and clearly signals the company’s intent to replace the Defender with a brand new car. The new concept is a long way away from being a production-ready vehicle, but shows that Land Rover is ready to shun the existing car’s styling in attempt to modernise its entry-level off-roader.

Land Rover is giving little away about the concept, but has confirmed that a new Defender will be hitting the market in 2015. It’s a difficult job to replace such an icon and Land Rover has been there before with the SD5 and LCV2/3 projects, both of which were stillborn.

The DC100 is expected to be underpinned by a ruggedised – and cheaper – version of the Discovery 4 platform and should be able to match its bigger brother’s celebrated off-road capability. For the car to sell to existing customers, as well as to encourage new buyers in, the new Defender will need to be offered in a range of bodystyles (pick-up, crew-cab, short- and long-wheelbase), as well as a three-tonne towing capability… Mind you, the customers of the existing Defender are a unique bunch of die-hards – and keeping them on board might well not be Land Rover’s number one priority in its search for increased market share.

Ultimately, it’s a discussion point, and will encourage debate about the future of the Defender – it will be interesting to hear what AROnline’s readership thinks…

Keith Adams


  1. I think it will work if the Defender is a throughly modular car and adaptable for different purposes in exactly the same way the current model always has been. It no longer needs to be as hand-built intensive anymore but the key to the next generation relevance to the bloodline is full adaptability. The fact that the body is still married to a seperate chassis is a good start rather than an integral monocoque but modern process can help keep costs and servicing/maintenance sown low.

    All landies should have this setup, whereas Rangies can have an integral set up. Boom! markets defined.. Rugged workhorse or all-out luxury, or models in between.

    What specifically defines and differentiates a LandRover/RangeRover from anything else is it’s abilities are head and shoulders above everything else.

  2. Replacing the Defender was always going to be an almost impossible task, unfortunately I feel that Land Rover are a bit wide of the mark with this one.

    Ross has it spot on with the modularity, however this looks like just another offroader, if anything, the offspring of a midnight liaison between a Kia Soul and a Skoda Yeti.

  3. I quite like the look of that – not that I’ll ever be in the market for buying such a thing (although look at a Kia Soul and then spot the difference)

    Interesting sign of the times of what we now consider our priorities. This concept has obviously been designed and styled and will be put through customer clinics to ensure that it will meet the aspirations of the customers’ lifestyle (and other such marketing gobbledygook).

    But the original – and highly successful – Land Rover wasn’t styled or designed at all. It looked like it did because that was what it needed to be. There was no lifestyle targeting or offering luxury extras; so any replacement is never going to be the functional workhorse that the original was.

  4. Looks expensive to make/build – some styling features don’t help, eg the front doors/handles owe more to original Range Rover. Repair costs won’t be cheap, eg the front wings. Not sure there’s much Series/Defender heritage in its shape/cues. Ground clearance looks better than the snowplough that is a Disco back axle/spare/wheel.

  5. Side profile looks OK, fairly angular and practical looking, but that rounded nose looks a bit too ‘styled’ to give off the air of practicality. Disco 3 type nose would be more practical looking. And the headlights look like they are eyes being rolled up to heaven in despair!

    Although the original LR was not styled etc., its angular lines do appeal to buyers today who want to show they are ‘no nonsense’ types. I think the new LR needs to do the same.

  6. Just exactly what a new Defender should look like – strong, no nonsense, some suggestion of old Defender in the looks, and lots of modern Land Rover too. Need to keep it good value, not like the Evoque! Bring it on!

  7. I know it’s a concept / prototype… But that low a profile tyre? Really?

    It hardly helps with the illusion of a Landie replacement,… Maa-hoo-sive side walls would have been much more in keeping. Tonka truck that bad boy up!

  8. Martin Winchester – I tend to agree with over the enormity of the task ahead. The obvious issue I spotted was when I looked at the side silhouette of the car. To me, being able to judge the make of a vehicle just by studying its side profile without reference to other styling cues or trim-related details is the sign of a good design. In this case, however, I struggled to recognise it as a Land Rover product, let alone a Defender replacement.

    With the exception of the new Range Rover Evoque (which has no predecessor), I have always been able to judge Range Rovers using this same approach, even for the Sport. Therefore, with something iconic as the Defender I would have thought Land Rover’s designers would have worked much harder to achieve this.

    Hopefully Land Rover’s designers will acknowedge this after the conceptual stage of what is a difficult challenge. Offering a modular design whereby a variety of different chassis lengths and wheelbases, together with different, adaptable bodystyles can be offered, must remain a mandatory requirement of a new Defender replacement. Hopefully there will even be the opportunity for it to be developed whereby it offers a direct competitor to the Toyota HiLux and Mitsubishi L200, as both these vehicles (and others) have never faced any serious competition from any of Land Rover’s offerings.

  9. Actually this car doesnt do it for me. ive seen other concept defenders on the web from time to time which look better than this. if this is what they come up with I can see the Discovery being a more generic option. alex

  10. Does make me laugh when we see these early concepts and the manufacturer even says it’s a long way from being an actual product, then people start talking about it as if this IS the actual final vehicle. Frankly the car that finally hits the showrooms could look absolutely nothing like that.

    Basically a new Defender needs to be Cheap, Rugged, easy to clean, and modular in construction.
    If they build them in India, i see no reason why they couldn’t offer them at a low cost, actually i wonder if the current model will end up being produced overseas for third world markets, where regulation is less of an issue.
    The ally body has been probably the biggest factors in making the Defender rugged, whilst it dents easily, it doesn’t rust when it is damaged, so it can be easily bodged back into shape, great for farm vehicles. I wonder if we’ll just end up with a plastic clad steel body though.
    With sensible interior design easy to clean shouldn’t be hard to do, the main drawback i see with most other utility vehicles is once you climb in there plastered in crap, it’s almost impossible to get it all out again without dismantling the car. Current Defender you just lift the seat bases out and put a hose in there.
    For modular construction, i can see this being possible, but i doubt we’ll see it on the same level as the original, that bolt on roof assembly takes time to put on and by hand too.

    It’s going to be interesting to see where they go with it though. Really i think they need to forget trying to take ‘styling’ cues from the old one, because there is no point, just design a new vehicle that does the same job as the old one.

  11. Dennis – a lot of the comments posted so far are based on judging this as a concept design rather than as a final production design, mine included. And as the wording of the press release does suggest, it is purely a design concept to underline Land Rover’s intention to supersede the existing Defender.

    I can only guess that this idea (DC100) is one which Land Rover is using to gauge people’s reaction to a potentially more radical approach for a Defender successor, or whether something a little more conservative/recognisable is more acceptable.

    After all, Land Rover probably does not want a repeat of the initial reaction when the second generation Range Rover was unveiled. Then again, look at the enthusiastic response to the radical Range Rover Evoque…

  12. The survival rate of the original makes coming up with a credible replacement very very difficult. How do you create something to sell to people who dont need to buy a new one? The old defender lasts too long! The useful life time of it is something that no car manufacturer would ever design into it one now

  13. This looks like a 90 SW type of vehicle, with major hints at Skoda Yeti for me (a good thing in my view). It is just a concept, but also reflects some of the latest product coming out of Solihull in terms of wheels, etc.

    It would be good to see if they show us an equivalent to a 110 basic van style. there should alos be a proper pick up to have a go (albeit in a small way) at the Japanses pick ups, with standard, crew and double cab options. That may require a 130 wheelbase equivalent.

    What engines do we think would be included? I understand there’s an update coming to the Trsnsit-derived unit that’s in the present model.

    Obviously we wnat to know about off road and towing abilities and what kind of macho additions that can be bolted on

  14. Like the DC100 a lot!
    I recently commented that any Defender replacement would have to be carefully judged, any replacement being a modern version of the original in a mkI to mkII Renault 5 sort of a way.
    The DC100 is very attractive. Although modern, to my eyes it still has a lot of ‘Defender’ about it. If the DC100 was signed off as the Defender replacement, from a styling point of view, I would regard it as a success.

  15. I like it, its a good place to start at any rate. I wholly expect that it’ll end up getting pushed more “upmarket” in the end – just like the Range, Disco and Freelander before it.

    So they’ll have to come up with another Defender. I agree with other comments above regards competing with the likes of the L200 and Navara et al, that’s a market in which LR could make a killing if they did it right.

  16. I have to say that, its gets quite a lot of things right with the design, but it just looks a bit of but as this is the first concept of a Landie replacement i hope they can narrow it dow and get it right.

  17. “What engines do we think would be included? I understand there’s an update coming to the Trsnsit-derived unit that’s in the present model.”
    From what i can gather the transit unit is being swapped for the 2.2 PSA/Ford derived engine. The XF uses the PSA/Ford derived engine, so it makes sense to ditch the Transit lump to standardise parts.

  18. “reflects some of the latest product coming out of Solihull in terms of wheels, etc.”
    I thought the wheels looked like BMW X-series ones?

  19. I think this style would be better used on the next generation Freelander rather than a Defender replacement. Given the very low demand for the current Defender I cant help thinking Land Rover would be better off producing a stripped down version of the Discovery rather than an all new car. That would certainly be competitive with the Landcruisers and Shoguns of this world. As for the Defender itself? Let it fade away as legislation and/or volume affect the economics of building it.

  20. Couldn’t agree more with Merlin, get the stylists in to tidy it up later! Isn’t that what happened with the Mk1 Range Rover…?

    Just showed this to my girlfriend, who is a bit of a series III girl, she took one look and said “it looks like a trainer… a defender is a stout walking boot not a trainer…”

    Looking at this again I think the main problems are with the nose and the stance. The nose has none of the signature features of the Defender, S1, SII or SIII. It could just as easily carry a Toyota or Mitsubishi badge. The slightly nose forward stance is also at odds with the brands heritage, the shoulder line needs to be straight not sloping.

    Im sorry if I sound negative but im just disappointed.


  21. I feel there should be 2 engine options, one Around the 2.5l mark and maybe a more outragiously powerful one….. Sdv6 perhaps? 3.5t towing capacity is a must, thats one of the few things that the current one can do and the japs can’t!

  22. Hmm, not a fan. Though I do like the Ford Bronco concept on the link above – now that would be a much better way to go – updating the current style in the manner of the current MINI, but not too much, so that you can still see the heritage – this DC100 concept owes very little to the fabulous original.

  23. They could do worse than to simply re-design the existing car retaining most of its design silhouette, but engineering it to be stronger, more reliable and cheaper to build. People forget that the Defender is a pretty fashionable bit of kit in its own right already. And you cannot be accused of retro design by replacing an already in production car with a successor that isn’t dissimilar.

  24. Reality the car has to not only be the workhorse it currently is, but be cheaper to make and LOOK good. I like the look of concept design, it’s modern, however still has an obvious connection to the current model.

  25. Not impressed – I would have preferred them to revisit the modular concept of the 80s or 90s – the one where they could bolt in an extra section to make a 4 door vs a 2 door or a pickup vs an estate at the rear – that was innovative, this seems to be yet another off-roader.

    I also suspect that unlike the current Defender this is not a vehicle that could be repaired in a field, or indeed a battlefield, with a big hammer and a flat bladed screwdriver. But maybe the Defender hasn’t been that vehicle since the late-80s and the introduction of the TDi replacing the old 2.5 TD – which was not the best engine either – and the end of the 4cyl petrol models.

    This opens up the market for someone else to introduce a rugged, no-frills vehicle for commercial and aggricultural (and military) use, and means LR kiss that market goodbye.

    I suspect the Chinese will not be long out of this market and probably have some kind of ex-soviet or ex-japanese machinery they could slot in here straight away…

  26. James – Agreed. The current Defender has become a rather trendy looking vehicle. The latest colours and wheels go so well with the rugged styling. Peeked inside one at the weekend – hadn’t realised just how car like the dash had become.
    So yes, re-designing the original could be an option as opposed to a completely new car. Given the Defender’s rather unique market I can’t see buyers being put off by this strategy.

  27. Defender Concept 100″ eh? Not bad, is that door glass flat? Hope they keep it simple.

    If Land and Range Rover styling is supposed to be growing apart, how come this has Evoque lights and the facelifted Freelander looks more RR than the last?

  28. Seems to be alot of unnecessary ornamentation here, which is not consistent with the low cost objective. But then it’s a show car, probably a rejected proposal like the 1990s Mini Spiritual show cars.

  29. It has to be ‘infinitely repairable’, which is the main attraction of the current model. This gives it perceived infinite life and infinite customisability, which are key features.


  30. The LR Defender should rank as an icon like the VW Transporter and VW Type 1 Beetle. All three models alike seem to have remained current models throughout the second half of the 20th century. The LR Defender and the VW Transporter, however, seem to remain current models at the time of writing in the 21st.

    As for the new Defender, won’t it fly? After all, it appears to be scheduled for production in 2015 and the flying car will be the norm by then according to Back to the Future. Well, there seem to have been some flying cars already in 2011. The Maverick seems to be the most promising at the moment.

  31. The problem with redesigning the original Defender is that it won’t likely overcome some of the drawbacks of the current design, namely it is too labour intensive in its build and also takes longer to build than any other Land Rover. It also does not have the modern safety features that would enable it to be sold in potentially lucrative markets such as North America. The cost of re-engineering the Defender in order that it could offer airbags etc. would be enormous.

    Make no mistake, I like the Defender and do not envy the task of replacing it. However, perhaps as with the original Volkswagen Beetle and Transporter, the original Defender (Defender Classic, anyone?) could be built in another country where it can ofset some of its physical build costs through employing cheaper labour?

    I remember Car magazine running a feature on a new Defender replacement back in 1993. It was an artist’s impression of how an updated Defender might look although it was said to have been based on a new platform design, possibly of the then next generation Discovery. In long-wheel base form it looked good, and still looks appealing to this day.

  32. I suppose Land Rover will have very carefully looked at private buyers of the Defender and reasoned that the vast majority are not interested in the mythical defender qualities of modularity and hose-down interiors. Sure, there are a few wealthy arable farmers in Lincolnshire who like specced-up defenders that are plush vehicles but are also good at plugging the mud; but that’s a very small market!

    As a no-nonsense Evoque alternative for people who couldn’t ever bee seen to look like footballers wives, I think the mini Landrover concept would serve quite well. Indeed, I wonder how many people have thought ‘I like that Skoda Yeti- if only it cost £35k and my neighbours would be jealous if I bought one…’?

  33. What LR needs to do if it wants marketshare, is to make a twincab version of the defender to mess up the Mitsubishi L200 & Toyota Hilux. These things sell in the 100’s of thousands. I’m sure that a lot of buyers would pay a premium for a LR version. Witness VW with their latest upmarket twincab effort. This Defender concept would lead the way for LR to make such a thing, to hell with the traditionalists, this is business. They may even eventually build it in India to ensure they can price it properly…………………simples.

  34. Can you imagine the Dales farmers reaction, to towing an Ifor Williams trailer through Richmond with this. You’d be the laughing stock of Swaledale!
    For me, I’ll keep my trusty 110 thanks, and just watch the value of it go up and up, come 2015.

  35. what rubbish are they coming up with now shut up land rover make something thats not going to bor us land rover lovers #with this computer on 4 wheel drive go back to the drawing pad please its ugly and rubbish.

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