Time to break the mold.
Gerry McGovern has been part of the Land Rover family since 2004 when he was hired as design chief. Since then, Land Rover has merged with Jaguar to become Jaguar Land Rover and McGovern was recently handed a specially created role, Chief Creative Officer for both brands. While the overall look and feel for Land Rovers and Ranger Rovers are generally well established, perhaps best evidenced by the new Land Rover Defender, Jaguar could use a new approach, especially as electrification continues to take hold across the industry.
McGovern, aided by also newly appointed Jaguar design boss Julian Thompson, has already begun crafting Jaguar's future look. "It's in its infancy, but I've started to work with the team defining a future design strategy for Jaguar," he told Auto Express.
"A design strategy evolves from this process to create the guidelines for the design team. The design strategy that we developed for Land Rover over time became the bible for everything we did." One of the key things McGovern has decided to do is closely examine Jaguar's wonderful design heritage. "You start by looking at the past and see if anything is codifiable in a relevant, modern context. Ultimately it's about capturing the essence of your heritage, not a retrospective look and feel."
Two upcoming new all-electric Jags, the next XJ sedan and J-Pace three-row crossover, won't be influenced by McGovern but the eventual successor to the F-Pace almost certainly will be. So far, he's given the Jaguar design team a simple yet vital piece of advice: "Think big. Dream. Don't feel constrained. And by the way, don't even think about the competition."
As for Land Rover, the first of McGovern's influence will likely be the next-generation Discovery, which will no longer carry the burden of having to appeal to two segments thanks to the new Defender. McGovern points out two key general challenges for LR: electrification and aerodynamics. The automaker, says McGovern, also needs to continue developing new materials, connectivity, and technology as a whole.
In regards to rumors about an upcoming Land Rover crossover, McGovern remained tight-lipped, only stressing he sees opportunities for new types of products within the brand. Both the Velar and Evoque are proof.