Production of the current-generation Land Rover Defender could continue into 2016 as the British SUV maker continues to mull where to build the iconic model’s successor.
In a statement, Jaguar Land Rover confirmed Defender production at the brand’s Solihull plant in England might continue until the end of January after initially being scheduled to wind up by the end of this year.
Remarkably, JLR has added a second production shift at the plant to meet rising demand for the hardcore off-roader, which has evolved but never been completely redesigned since its launch in 1948.
Global sales increased 29 per cent in the first half of this year to 11,511, with customers showing their enthusiasm to get their hands on the last Defender of its kind.
The growth has been led by mainland Europe, where sales have soared 40 per cent, while Australian fans have also rallied behind the Defender, with sales up almost 10 per cent to 362 this year.
The all-new Defender isn’t expected to launch until 2018, meaning the Land Rover line-up will be without its best-known model for about two years.
A concept version is tipped to debut next year, giving the world a clear impression of what to expect from the new Defender. Little is known at this stage, though we know it will share little with the little with the DC100 concepts (above) that polarised opinion in 2013.
Land Rover is promising a “family” of Defender models, though remains tight lipped about exactly what form the individual members will take, revealing only that it will be “relevant to a world that’s changed massively from when the original Defender was created”, “thoroughly modern”, “incredibly durable”, “even more capable than the original”, and “the best off road”.