LOS ANGELES -- Land Rover, a brand revered for its ability to climb over obstacles, has a new hurdle in front of it: how to bring its vaunted Defender nameplate into the 21st century.
For 68 years, the old-school Defender has been at the heart of Land Rover's image as a posh-yet-rugged, go-anywhere brand. You're just as likely to see one on a safari in Kenya as you are parked at a Starbucks in Malibu. The Queen of England drives a Defender around one of her estates.
But new-age concerns such as crash tests and fuel economy will force Land Rover to hit the reset button on its Defender family. The outgoing model ends production in January and hasn't been sold in the U.S. since 1997.
Land Rover knows reinventing an icon won't be easy.