Another Modernized Failure

I have written before about auto companies relaunching beloved older models, but in modern (post-modern?) shape and form.  To remind everyone of the concept:

Now comes Land Rover, who sold their soul company to some furriners, only to have said furriners turnaround and re-release a model long ago discontinued by the British Land Rover (for reasons which escaped me then, and still do).  I speak of course of the peerless Defender model, as exemplified by the one owned by The Englishman, Stout Bulldog that he is:

In that Defender’s place comes the newer version, to the universal acclaim of journalists and the undiluted scorn of the people who are in the target market of prospective purchasers.  Even better [eyecross], the New-N-Improved Defender is made not in Britishland, but in Slovakia.

I’m not going to post any pics of the new version because copyright hucksters and asshole lawyers (some overlap), but follow the link above and form your own opinions.  (Spoiler:  it’s the one that looks like a 4×4 New Mini.)

Now all that said:  maybe the new Slovo-Defender provides a more comfortable ride than the Anglo-Defender — it could hardly be less  comfortable, and I speak as one who has driven from Wiltshire to Scotland and back in Mr. Free Market’s Defender, as well as from Wiltshire to Cornwall and back in The Englishman’s one, and have the distressed kidneys to prove it.  But that’s not the point of a Defender, is it?  I mean, one could (technically speaking) drive a Caterpillar bulldozer from Wisconsin to Iowa along the interstate highway system, but that’s not what it was designed for.

However, I rather think that I’m missing the point.  I bet that the target market is not members of the farmer-Stout Bulldog Set [massive overlap]  such as The aforementioned Englishman and Mr. Free Market.  Instead, the new owners of Land Rover are aiming for the suburban / urban middle class, purchasers of “utility” vehicles such as the Porsche Macan, BMW X3 and Audi Q5 (vehicles referred to in Britishland as “Chelsea Tractors” and in north Texas as “Plano Off-Roaders”, for obvious reasons).

And this was written in all seriousness:

“…down the toilet.” FIFY

Anyway, the reaction of existing Defender owners to this new product can best be summed up from a joint communique issued by Mr. Free Market and The Englishman via my email:

“Looks like we’ll be holding onto our old Defenders for some time to come.”

Oops.

10 comments

  1. Few people who own SUVs today ever plan on getting the tired muddy, which is why they’re no longer built based on truck frames and are now based on car frames. They’re mostly four-wheel-drive station wagons.

    And don’t get me started on pick-up trucks. $50K for a frikkin’ TRUCK?

    I’m driving a 2006 Jeep Liberty (which just passed 110,000 miles). It rides like a truck because it IS a truck, but I also know unless we get snow up over the bumper (a distinct possibility now that I live in the Poconos in PA) it’ll get me home. When it finally wears out I’ll probably replace it with a medium sized or small full-sized pick-up, I’ve maybe either a Ranger or F150 (what can I say, I like Fords), and I’ll have them leave off just about all the options except 4WD (because Poconos).

    1. It’s still possible to get them on truck frames overseas. I drive a Toyota Fortuner, which is a RAB 4 comfort package on the very tough Hilux truck chassis. Great for third world roads.

  2. > I bet that the target market is not…

    And I won’t bet against you.

    How many bales of hay can you load? How many dogs? How easy is it to clean after you’ve had a sick calf spewing shit all over the place?

  3. What is it with all of these uber-expensive vehicles? Who can afford the damn thing? Okay, I get it. If I am going to run a safari outfit somewhere in Africa, it might be the vehicle of choice if money is no object. (Otherwise, think Toyota truck.) To me it’s more a statement that says: “Look at me, I have more money than sense!” As a daily driver? No. Just NO.

    Mark says: “They’re [SUV’s] mostly four-wheel-drive station wagons.” That’s it exactly. Ever wonder why you almost never see any station wagons anymore? That’s because of the poxy “CAFE” standards. A station wagon cannot be made to meet the MPG standards but an SUV can. When I was young almost everybody with kids had a station wagon. (Now it’s either a minivan or an SUV.) But one thing is for sure, nobody with kids drives one of those ultra-expensive Land Rovers.

  4. I got a ride in an old land rover ambulance. That thing was the single most uncomfortable machine I have ever been in. Maybe they did not re-spring it after the body was changed out, but there was no give in the springs at all. Like the axle was welded to the frame. It hurt my kidneys.

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