Land Rover Defender Taken Off Road For Ever - After 68 years of production the final Land Rover Defender rolls off the line but what happens next for Jaguar and future Land Rover Defender?
Jaguar Land Rover's (JLR) classic, and perhaps the most recognizable box-shaped off-road vehicle since World War II, gets knocked out of the ring and leaves its devoted fans pondering the end of an era.
According to JLR, more than 60% of all Land Rovers ever made are still operational today. But despite this, the practicality and versatility of the vintage 4x4 off roader has finally been dealt a sucker punch by strict European laws on vehicle safety and emissions.
The original Land Rover series, built in the post-war era, filled a niche in the market during the late forties. Britain needed a motorized workhorse with the capability of a tank. In fact, in 1948 the hand-built Series 1 Land Rover was constructed using an aluminium and magnesium alloy which was left over from wartime aircraft production. Rover jet engineers had a vital role in the original invention and design.
Manufacturers produced a classic automobile with a safe operating angle of 30 degrees. It turned out to be the longest continuous production of a vehicle in the world, which even surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle. But January 2016 sees the demise of its present day version, called the Defender, and blamed mostly on the dramatic change in standards for modern off road four-wheel drive vehicles.
Land Rover's aficionados and devoted fan clubs are clearly shocked by its sad end.
Warwickshire and West Midlands Land Rover Club enthusiasts described it as 'the death of an icon'.
There is no doubt that the vehicle's demise creates a gap in the market.
To compensate, some farmers have been replacing their beloved Defenders with trendy pick-up trucks.
It is understood that a number of utility firms have been buying up Land Rovers with the intention of mothballing them to set them up for future years to come.
Land Rover Series 1 (the windscreen folded down on to the bonnet)
So what happens next for Jaguar Land Rover?
When you consider that a brand new hand-built Defender rolled off the production line at the Solihull factory every four minutes during its heyday.
The manufacturing plant has constantly attracted around 10,000 visitors each year. By comparison, it takes only 86 seconds to see a new Range Rover rolling into the industry.
As the journey continues for Jaguar Land Rover, we understand they are working on a new model of the Defender. There is yet to be confirmation where and when it will be manufactured, but experts believe the vehicle will display striking differences from the original.
Defender's replacement is likely to resemble a passenger vehicle, rather than an agricultural or utilitarian powerhouse. As such, a comfortable light-weight vehicle may struggle to 'climb every mountain' as its predecessor did and much to the disappointment of off-roading 'hardcore mud-pluggers'. Nevertheless, JLR needs to make its money using the latest technology instead of satisfying the minority of 'Landie' lovers.