Few, if any, automotive icons have as wide and as immediate a recognition factor as the Land Rover Defender. Spanning the globe and lasting over six decades of production, the classic boxy go-anywhere-mobile is a crucial link in Land Rover’s history and appears to have a secure future in its lineup.

Despite recent reports suggesting the Land Rover Defender was to be dropped, Inside Line is reporting that a concept version previewing a completely redesigned Defender could be unveiled as early as September’s 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

This ties in with previous reports from 2009 that claimed a successor was planned and due for launch in 2013. Like its predecessor, the new model is thought to be conceived as a flexible utility that can spawn a number of different configurations depending on its mission.

With Mercedes-Benz recently announcing plans to drop its own military-spec G-Class, Land Rover sees market potential for a military-capable Defender that could be popular in not only Europe but in emerging markets such as China and India.

However, for the project to be viable, Land Rover would need to sell around 60,000 to 80,000 units annually, which will be a tough task considering sales of the current model reached just 18,000 units last year--mostly to military buyers.

More details should be revealed in the lead up to the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. In the meantime, follow our complete coverage of the event thus far by clicking here.

[Inside Line]