Land Rover’s Defender is officially slated to end production this December, but a report is out claiming production may be extended into 2016 due to strong demand for the iconic off-roader. If true, Land Rover’s ongoing celebrations for the Defender’s final year in production may be a bit early.
An employee at the Solihull plant in England where the Defender is built told the Birmingham Post that production will last at least until February 2016, with the possibility it could be longer than that.
“It is going to be extended until at least the end of February,” the employee told the newspaper. “Although I’ve been told that February is the definite cut-off date someone else has said it could possibly go on until April.”
He cited a “glut of orders” as the reason for the extension.
Despite its age—the basic shape hasn’t changed much since the launch of the original ‘Land Rover’ back in 1948—the Defender has maintained a cult following, including here in the United States where fans have even risked their vehicles being seized by the authorities.
Land Rover built 17,781 Defenders in 2014 but that figure is likely to be significantly higher this year as the company has increased the rate of production by around 50 percent. Defender production is carried out on a dedicated line and at present 125 are built in a single day shift, up from around 80 previously. Recently, the two millionth example was built.
Land Rover is ending production of the current Defender because the model no longer meets safety regulations in the United States and will soon also be on the wrong side of emissions regulations in many other markets. A successor is planned, though there’s expected to be a gap in production after the last original Defender rolls off the line and when the first next-generation model arrives.