When we first saw the Land Rover DC100 concept
at the recent 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, the last thing that came to mind was "third world".
This thing was decidedly first world, and not just any kind of first world, but middle to upper first world, an SUV for the country club crowd that wants to look sporty and adventuresome.
That is really the problem. The Defender, the model that the DC100 will eventually replace, will have officially lost its way if that's how it ends up.
The model is supposed to be rough-and-tumble enough to take on the world's gnarliest dirt, rock and sand. It's not supposed to drive the kids to racquetball practice.
Well, there may still be some hope left. According to an Inside Line
interview with Land Rover Global Brand Director John Edwards, "first world" is not at all what Land Rover is going for in developing the 2015 Defender.
Edwards said: "Sometimes we talk too much about the NAS [North American specification] 90 Defender and surfer dudes, and not enough about the Red Cross, Zambia or the Australian Outback. We want to get back to our roots, but it would be nice if in doing so, we can also sell it to the Californian surfer dude."
Sounds promising, but those are the last things that we're left talking about after looking at the DC100.
Perhaps the next iteration of the DC100 will do a better job of conveying its intent. Land Rover admitted in Frankfurt that the DC100 is just a start. And it plans to show the next step--a revised version of the DC100--at next month's 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, so we'll get to see if the concept is evolving in the right direction.
It doesn't sound like it will be that much different from the original, but Edwards says the eventual production version has to be usable, abusable, and fit for the third world market.
In addition to showing Land Rover's third-world ambitions, Edwards' quote supports the idea that the Defender will return to the U.S., where it's been absent since the '90s (otherwise, why mention California surfers?).