Land Rover Chief On Delivering Defender

Mon 20th Jan 2020

With deliveries of the all-new Defender set to commence in early 2020, Land Rover’s chief design officer, Gerry McGovern, has spoken about the pressures of working on the next generation of the classic SUV.

It’s been quite a year for McGovern, the Defender was unveiled to an expectant public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2019 and then in December, he was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours. Born and bred in Coventry, the local lad told his local newspaper, the Coventry Telegraph about the challenges of designing Defender.

“Clearly there was a lot of pressure on us - the world has been waiting for this vehicle for many years,” McGovern said.

“Particularly given the original Land Rover was not replaced in the normal life cycle - ten years or whatever.

“As a professional designer I am trained to think  about each project, for example the next generation Range Rover will be equally important, as well as the next generation Range Rover Sport.”

While the Defender is being built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Nitra plant in Slovakia, McGovern is conscious of the need for the next generation of the famous motor to be a commercial success to help secure the future of a company which has endured some bumps in the road of late.

“The modern day Defender is crucially important,” he said.

“ Jaguar Land Rover employs around 40,000 people and taking in the supplier base that’s another 250,000.

“There’s a lot of people there to support and a lot of those are in the Midlands.

“You think about the responsibility and not just my responsibility but design does play a fundamental role in the sale of the vehicle, particularly with something like the Defender.”