Land Rover would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve our website and to enable us to advertise to you those products and services which we believe may be of interest to you. One of the cookies we use is essential for parts of the site to work and has already been sent. You may delete and block all cookies from this site but some elements may not work correctly. To find out more about online behavioural advertising or about the cookies we use and how to delete them, please refer to our Privacy Policy. By closing, you're agreeing to cookies being used in line with our Cookie Policy.


We've detected you're not using the most up-to-date version of your browser. By upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer you'll see and be able to use this site in the way we intended and your general internet browsing will be more secure as it will have been upgraded to take into account the latest security standards.


As the New Defender 90 reaches Australian shores, it’s the iconic design that demands our attention and ensures it stands out from the crowd. The task of reimagining a classic model for the 21st century was in the hands of Professor Gerry McGovern OBE and his team. Gear Patrol website talked to McGovern to learn about his vision for the New Defender and how his team were able to conceptualise a luxury vehicle like no other.

A number of concept vehicles were created over the years to generate interest and start a conversation as to what a new Defender could be, and McGovern found them useful in demonstrating what they shouldn’t be doing when updating a legendary vehicle. Going through these exercises enabled the team to find a balance of modernity while acknowledging the Defender’s unique heritage.


McGovern was aware there was a great deal of anticipation around the New Defender, but he notes that at Land Rover they have developed a culture that puts design at the centre of the business. “The brand did have a very strong engineering background. And one of the things I was very focused on was, how can we put design at the core of this brand that would enable it to flourish as a consequence?...And I think once there was that recognition - that design and engineering could coexist and create a balance that enabled you to create products that are truly compelling, and have that emotional connection with the consumer - you’ll be far more successful.”
When asked if there was pressure on him to make the vehicle more retrospective, McGovern said nobody put him under pressure, noting, “And that’s a great thing... if you want design to succeed, then let it, and not try to compromise it. And I think that’s been quite pivotal.” In fact, he thinks looking back too much is the kiss of death, showing you haven’t got any new ideas for the future. Recognising your roots and authenticity is important, and a car that was created 60 or 70 years ago was right for its time, but things have moved on. Advances in manufacturing techniques, technology and safety should all be embraced.
Ultimately, McGovern says, it’s about designing a product that is thoroughly modern, contemporary and relevant. It needs to stand up in its own right and be equally desirable to traditionalists and people who don’t even know what Defender is. Looking at the New Defender, it’s safe to say McGovern and his team have achieved their aims and exceeded expectations.