Land Rover Defender leaves the industry

Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Australia will order up big on its iconic Defender as the Solihull plant works towards its planned December 2015 shutdown, which comes almost seven decades after the original rolled down the production line in 1948.

Part of the send-off will involve a pair of limited-edition models – the Adventure and Heritage – which go on sale in Australia late in 2015.
Land Rover Australia will also pre-order hundreds of Defenders to ensure it can still satisfy the “natural demand” that sees the rugged, boxy off-roader sell hundreds annually with minimal marketing.

“We want to have enough to keep us going for three to four months,” said Tim Krieger, LRA general manager communications and public relations.

Since 2008 the Defender has enjoyed a sales resurgence, typically selling between 400 and 800 per year, with the utilitarian 110 wagon the most popular.

While it has modern technology including Bluetooth and a grunty 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine, the largely aluminium body – and many mechanical components – are for the most part as they’ve always been. An acceptance that so much of the original was right from the outset is no doubt part of its appeal.

Krieger said the Defender – described by the company as the “epitome of capability” and “unmistakably Land Rover” – has been the heart of the Land Rover brand.

It is one of the slowest sellers in the brand’s expanding portfolio; however, he said it’s a model that helps cement the reputation for legendary off-road ability.

An all-new Defender is expected by 2018 or 2019 and is expected to change radically, with more technology and a modern flavour.

The Discovery and Range Rover line-ups will also house a Defender family, with various sizes and a broader price range.

Defender faithfuls will no doubt be queuing to own one of the last of the line; the limited-edition Heritage and Adventure.

Globally, 2654 Heritage models will be available and 2277 Adventures. Krieger is hopeful Australia will get “about 100” of each.

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