Actually, we were discussing this on the Gwagen Forum. Someone type most of it out but it's kinda broken.
For 60 years it has carried British Troops into action around the world,
from the Falklands to Sierra Leone and from Northern Ireland to Iraq.
But now the trusty Land Rover is heading into the biggest battle
yet with the Ministry of Defense eyeing up a Mercedes off-road vehicle to
replace its entire fleet of the British workhorse. Military leaders say
the German rival has edged ahead in the race (or the latest lucrative
contract, impressing Britain's top ????? with its load-carrying capability
and performance over rugged terrain. If Mercedes-Benz clinches the deal
worth an estimated £50 million, Land Rover's links with the British Forces
could be over for good.
It's vehicle has had a fine military career. The Army bought the first
Land Rovers in 1949 and today maintains the world's largest fleet of 15,000,
which act as everything from battle ambulances to mobile command posts,
missile platforms or Special FOrces long-range desert raiders(?).
The SAS drops stripped-down versions armed with machine guns deep behind
enemy lines. Others are adapted for Arctic conditions or fitted with "snorkels"
so they can drive through water.
But under the MoD's Operational Utility Vehicle System project, the entire
military fleet will be replaced from 2009.
Officials insist a final decision has not been made, but a spokesman said,
"We are looking at all the options. Alot of factors will come into play, including
cost and budgets."
Unlike the land rover, the Mercedes-Benz G-wagon was designed specifically
for the military and is favored by France, Germany, and dozens of other countries.
Adding heavy modern armour and other equiptment to Land Rovers can severely limit
their carrying power over rough ground. It means the G-Wagon's cargo capacity of
two tonnes is twice the capacity of Land ROver Defenders. Lastnight Land Rover,
now owned by the U.S. giant, Ford, but with a plant in Solihull in the West Midlands,
was putting a brave face on the challenge.
A spokesman said: 'Our last major delivery was in 1993. We are still selling
30,000 Land Rovers every year, so it's fair to say that the outcome of the deal is
not a threat to our plant in Solihull.
Technically if the G-Wagon does win the deal, it will not be the first time that the
British Army has used it. When British forces liberated the Faulkland Islands in
1982, they "inherited" dozens of G-Wagons abandoned by the Argentines.
But the Argentinian government had never paid for them, and the MoD would not
pay, so Mercedes refused to supply ?????? and the vehicles fell into ???????
Imported Gwagens are starting to appear here in calgary see for instance http://www.redcougar.ca/240gd.htm
I saw - or rather passed that red g-wagen, puffing smoke struggling to get up a hill here - me feeling very smug in my 90. Arent GWagens limited in the axle articulation department? Otherwise they are pretty well set up.
Bythe way during my off road day in Solihull some years back I asked the LR propagandist conduction the course what other vehcile they rated. Only the GWagen was the answer. Nicest trick on the course was going up a 1 in 1 gradient in a 110 TDi on tickover.....with 4 on board too.
Nicest trick on the course was going up a 1 in 1 gradient in a 110 TDi on tickover.....with 4 on board too.
Was talking to someone from Mercedes Benz Defence a couple of weeks ago and he was telling me their G-Wagen test driver does a similar trick-except in reverse!
Defender replacement won't come into service until 2008/9. G-Wagen production is set to cease in 2006 (ironically around the same time as Defender-possibly?), but my man reckoned if there was enough interest, then MB would keep making them.
My two cents. If the MoD discontinues buying Land Rovers, so will other nation's armed forces (not to mention the numerous NGO's). This will increase the likelihood the Defender, as we know it, will cease to exist. Look at what happened to the Jeep when it was no longer used in any commercial capacity. When 4x4's lose their utility basis for the "lifestyle" designation, they become stage props for the identity challenged.
The G-Wagen was scheduled to be replaced shortly with something sharing the M-Class platform. It is ashame we don't get anything other than the P-Diddy version. The two-door with diesel and 5-speed would a nice truck to own for many years.
"Uhh...I think they all leak like that."
I agree. Land Rovers now sell chiefly on image - an image that can, but increasingly less so, be backed up by technical aspects. That image is reinforced by their use by the military, the camel Trophy, and the African Reputation. Camel no longer exists. Africa buys Toyotas...only leaves military. Without that, the image will go and the price premium will be something people will just not be prepared to pay. For practical purposes they are just are better with an Escape or Saturn Vue than a Freelander. Ford needs to realise this.
Without that, the image will go and the price premium will be something people will just not be prepared to pay.
I disagree only slightly with this. They are continuing the image, just not in the way we (collectively) view it. By putting on fluffy events like the G4, they can continue to use these events to back their image. In effect, putting on a showy event with no real purpose other than promoting image. No test of man or metal, no common good for the indiginous people. Just purely driving trucks on trails and making up campy challengers for teams to play around in. Plays directly into their marketing and evolving product line. People will pay a premium (maybe) for a vehicle they feel they 'may' want to do all of those "adventure" things in.
But I never said I like it. I just see the clear vision of what they are doing.