The final ‘classic’ Land Rover Defender will roll off the Solihull factory line this Friday.
It brings to a close the production run of one of the world’s most iconic and enduring vehicles — at least as we know it.
Production had been slated to end a little earlier, but a late flourish of demand (up until the closing of order books in June 2015) required JLR to push a few more units out.
Land Rover Defender sales were up 29 percent in the first half of 2015, with around 20,000 sold last year in total.
The company recently sold the two-millionth unit since production of the original began in 1948, which sold for a remarkable £400,000 (NZ $881,448).
The original Land Rover began in 1948, as something of a British Willy’s Jeep. It lasted three series until 1983, at which time it was rebadged Defender. Over this 33-year timeframe the shape has remained almost unchanged, although the mechanical have been modernised to a degree.
Nevertheless, the charming box on wheels (favoured by the Queen, of all people) hasn’t kept up with emissions or crash requirements. It has also lacked sufficient cross over appeal in recent times.
Production of the first all-new Defender since 1948 is expected to commence in 2018, with a concept tipped to be revealed next year.
A JLR spokesman said the company will hold a small event for workers at the Solihull plant on Friday to mark the end of Defender production.