“I can still see Discovery in it. It’s very modern and contemporary, but it recognizes that heritage,” McGovern says of the exterior design. “And then inside, the level of reconfigurability, the ideas, the optimization of storage, they’re all features that you’d expect in a Land Rover. This vehicle isn’t less functional and capable than the Discovery as we know it, this is just moving it on in the future…”
Let’s take a step back.
What’s the bottom line of the automotive business? Yes, that’s right. To sell more cars. And with this proposal for a next generation Discovery Land Rover plans to extend its customer base. How many cars are sold in the UK? Well nowhere nearly as many as Land Rover sells in the US. Which is where the company chose to unveil the Discovery Vision Concept. But while Land Rover stole the headlines in New York, it also painted the concept an attention getting orange for its Beijing unveiling.
Times are changing. People who buy Land Rovers want more refinement and luxury as well as capability to go wherever they please. But let’s be practical here as well. Can the typical chicken farmer afford a Range Rover, with price tag that exceeds $100,000?
If you take into account the history of the Discovery nameplate, you’ll notice that it hasn’t existed in the US or Middle East (another big market for the brand) for the last two generations of ‘Discovery’. Instead it’s been called the LR3 and LR4, respectively. Now that Land Rover has announced its plan to introduce a Discovery range to its lineup, it makes sense to relaunch the nameplate that’s been absent for the last decade in its biggest sales market.
The Discovery sub-brand — think Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Evoque and you’ll get the idea — will initially spawn the Discovery Sport model, which is slated to launch in the US next year. The ‘Discovery’ will be the range-topping model to complete the range after the Freelander replacement — which will also fly the Discovery flag — is unveiled.
To say that Land Rover hasn’t been very successful with its recent concepts would be an understatement. The DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts — a toe-dip in the water for a potential Defender replacement — were not met with open arms. But to move the brand forward it too will need to be transformed into a more contemporary vehicle.
Unlike the toy-like demeanor of the DC100, the Discovery Vision, awkwardly proportioned thought it is, looks to be more on track for the Land Rover brand. Inasmuch as it might infuriate Brits, the Discovery can’t remain an upright utilitarian box forever.
Founded in 2012, Form Trends tirelessly covers the automotive design industry in all corners of the globe to bring you exclusive content about cars, design, and the people behind the products.