After 67 years, production of the iconic Land Rover Defender ends today. It’s an amazing feat that the Defender has lasted this long. It was a utilitarian vehicle developed at a time when going off-roading meant just going. It helped Europe rebuild after World War II. And it explored Africa, where often the Land Rover was the first automobile ever seen by locals. It continued that way for years, undergoing constant but slow evolution, rather than complete revolution.
Rather than boring everyone with interesting quasi-factual trivia about Land Rover’s most iconic model, I’ll bore you with my own personal experiences.
The last Land Rover Defender rolled off the line Friday at the Solihull, UK facility, according to the automaker.
The wildly uncomfortable, loud and grandfather to all Land Rovers will live on, albeit in name only — the next-generation Defender is already in the works.
The final Land Rover Defenders shared two common parts with the first Series Land Rover, according to the automaker: the hood cleats and underbody support strut. Which is two parts more than I expected would have survived from the originals. (Read More…)
Land Rover, just after building its two-millionth Defender (pictured), looks to be extending final production of the go-anywhere utility into January of next year.
According to Automotive News Europe, the manufacturer will extend production of the Defender and increase production before the new best-before date to meet renewed demand, the company said a statement.
Hide your kids, hide your wives and hide your Land Rovers, because the federal government is rounding up a handful due to questionable importation paperwork.
Often times concept vehicles portray an already-decided future direction. Other times, concepts are built to suggest one possibility in an ongoing debate about a model’s future. Land Rover has taken the latter approach with its new DC100 concept, telling Autocar that the Frankfurt-bound concept
builds upon essential elements of the Defender’s character and allows us to open the debate and inspire people to dream about Defenders of the future. The DC100 isn’t a production-ready concept, but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.
Will the new Defender get an all-new version of its rugged, body-on-frame chassis, or will it move to a re-engineered version of the T5 platform that underpins the Discovery and Range Rover Sport? That’s all still to be decided as Landie navigates a sales and regulatory environment that makes life extremely difficult for old-school SUVs. And because the Defender has lost much of its developing-world market to more reliable Toyota 4x4s, I’d guess the next Defender will be a less-traditional interpretation of the original. While that’s all being hashed out ahead of the 2015 launch date, at least we have an attractive concept to go along with a compelling debate.
How do you replace a classic? That’s the question puzzling Tata-owned Land Rover, as it begins considering replacement strategies for its iconic Defender SUV. According to Autocar, a concept is coming to the Frankfurt Auto Show this fall which will point the direction for a new Defender, but all the details remain up in the air. One option is to redesign the whole thing from the ground up with a bespoke platform, for maximum off-road ability. The other option:
using a cost and complication-reduced Discovery chassis
According to Autocar’s reporting, a production version is expected in the 2015 timeframe, with 60k-80k annual unit volume targeted. The key issues are the ability to offer multiple body types and to be repairable even in remote locations, and dealing with the first issue will require a decision on whether or not to build a pickup version. Brand director John Edwards says
that Land Rover is keenly watching the progress of the Argentina-built VW Amarok pick-up – some inside JLR argue that VW may struggle to make money because the pick-up market is so competitive. He believes that whatever solution Land Rover finally picks, ‘it won’t please everyone’, because with so many fans and opinions it will be difficult to avoid disappointing some. The challenge is to please most of them and more importantly, attract new buyers to a vehicle of which only 18,000 were made last year.