Land Rover Defender Production Reportedly Extended
The demise of the iconic Land Rover Defender might happen later than expected. That’s according to a worker in the Defender’s Lode Land factory who told the Birmingham Post demand for the SUV has soared since Land Rover announced it would end production in 2015. Now the factory must work into 2016 to fill the orders.
Though Land Rover has yet to comment on the issue, the report says Defender production will continue at least until February 2016, with the chance it could be extended even further. “We have had a glut of orders and are going on until then,” said the unnamed worker. “Although I’ve been told that February is the definite cut-off date, someone else has said it could possibly go on until April.”
Roughly 450 workers on the single, daytime shift are now cranking out an average of 125 Defenders per day where output had originally averaged only 84 units. This new pace will put 2015’s production volume far past that of 2014 when only 17,781 Defenders were produced. Land Rover has yet to add additional shifts at the Lode Land factory, despite the influx of orders.
Land Rover has confirmed it is working on a replacement for the antiquated Defender, whose powertrain can’t pass Europe’s strict emissions standards and safety rankings leave much to be desired. This new and modern take on the Defender’s classic design will be built at a separate factory, likely in Poland, allowing the automaker to continue Defender production without the need to retool.
Interestingly enough, Land Rover is rumored to be investigating the possibility of continuing Defender production elsewhere in the world for markets not saddled with government regulations on emissions and safety. Though production wouldn’t happen in its original Midland location, the classic Defender does have a chance of living on past 2016. Still, the Defender’s days in Europe are numbered and its presence in the U.S. market will remain noticeably absent.
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Why it matters
It is nice to see interest pick up for the iconic Land Rover Defender, though at this point, it’s a bit late in the SUV’s life cycle. The automaker has already announced plans to end Defender production and has admitted it is developing a modern replacement for the go-anywhere SUV. For those orders late to the party, owners will get what should turn out to be insanely rare 2016 Defender models –making them instant collectables – even if production resumes elsewhere in the world.
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