Land Rover Defender Production Could Go Into 2016
High Demand for Iconic SUV Keeps Factory Humming
Even though it hasn’t been sold in the U.S. market in almost 20 years, the Land Rover Defender remains the brand’s rugged, definitive icon, hearkening back to the day when durability and ruggedness, rather than luxury and high prices, were the brand’s defining characteristics. The original plans were for the existing Defender to be discontinued by December 2015, already out-living its expected life by several years. Unusually strong global demand for the model is prompting the company to push back the production end date by several months, according to the U.K.-based Birmingham Post. Most expect the last models to roll off the line in February 2016, although the original Defender could continue to be built at Land Rover’s Solihull plant until as late as April 2016.
The company is reportedly looking at production of the next-generation Defender at sites outside of the U.K. Poland seems to be a leading candidate, and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) recently announced an agreement with Austria’s Magna Steyr to build some Land Rover models in Graz, Austria. The prospect of building one of Britain’s most iconic and beloved vehicles outside of the country is controversial. A similar outcry was heard when FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne broached the topic of moving Jeep Wrangler production away from Toledo, Ohio. The all-new Defender is expected to launch sometime in 2018.
Source: Birmingham Post