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Land Rover has batted down rumours of chemicals billionaire Jim Ratcliffe resurrecting the iconic Defender

Land Rover has confirmed there are no plans for the Defender to make a comeback, after media reports claimed chemical tycoon Jim Ratcliffe was in talks with the firm to resurrect the famed off-roader.

"There is no way this is happening," a spokesman said. "We're not going to let anyone build our Defender."

An official statement said: "We can confirm there are no plans to restart production of the previous generation Defender.

"Defender will always be Land Rover's icon. Jaguar Land Rover has stated its intention to continue the Defender lineage with an all-new model. The Defender remains a key part of our future product strategy, and the development of the next generation model remains on track."

The reaction follows a report in The Sunday Times, which claimed that billionaire Ratcliffe had held talks with senior executives at Jaguar Land Rover to relaunch the model, six months after the last Defender rolled off the line at the company’s Solihull plant.

The article reported that it was not known whether billionaire Ratcliffe is interested in buying the intellectual property or parts of the production line. According to the newspaper, his ambition is to build the car in the UK.

Ratcliffe is the founder of chemical firm Ineos, which is worth £3.2 billion. It was suggested that this possible move into vehicles demonstrates his ambition to move beyond the chemical industry, where he has made his fortune. 

It is thought the businessman bought one of the last Defenders made.

The 68-year-old Defender stopped production earlier this year as a result of increasingly stringent emissions requirements, modern-day crash regulations and low-volume sales.

A next-generation model is due in 2018/2019, and is set to be offered with two wheelbases and several bodystyles.

An Ineos spokesman, replying "on behalf of Ratcliffe", said Ineos is "not commenting on the Land Rover Defender story".

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Moparman 14 July 2016

I am not sure where to post this...

I have read some interesting news with regards to Overfinch. According to the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch they are building a facility near the Virginia International Raceway to build upgraded JLR vehicles and sell them in the States. They are spending USD 1.82 million and will employ 41 new jobs, which is a very exact number. I am not sure if this in going on in concert with similar places being opened worldwide or if this is the first facility outside of the U.K. for them.
Folks_Wagen 13 July 2016


"Defender will always be Land Rover's icon". Apart from, er right now.
Chris C 12 July 2016


Seeing how Chery are making Moke replicas in China I can't see that reintroducing (ignoring the Morattab for a moment) the Defender would be that difficult or expensive. It needs updating in terms of crash resistance, etc, but it would be easy to develop a modular vehicle using off the shelf components such as proprietary axles, gearboxes and engines, etc, that recognisably looks like a Landie. Body panels would be cheap to tool and design changes made to reflect modern technology. Seeing what Mercedes Benz can get away with charging for G Wagens and Unimogs these days there has to be a sizable market for a modern Defender in all its traditional forms. I feel that JLR likes making luxury vehicles (more sexy to engineers and marketing people and admittedly more profitable) and find the Defender an inconvenience at best.
Mikey C 13 July 2016

G Wagens

How many utilitarian G Wagens are sold these days? The only ones I see in the UK are the super expensive, blinged up AMG models. People who want a rugged and cost effective vehicle seem to buy pick ups instead
289 16 July 2016

@ Mikey C

Well Mikey, you couldn't really describe G-Wagens as utilitarian any more....other than their super strong build.
In the UK buyers still order 350 diesels, they aren't all AMG versions....however they are all expensive!
As far as I know you can no longer order a plastic interiored steel wheeled basic G-Wagen in the UK.
You never have seen many G-Wagens on the road. Mostly they have been used on big country estates who keep them until they drop.
We used to sell quite a few, which apart from when they came in for service - we hardly ever saw about on the road. The change cycle eas about 20 years by the way!
So I suggest that is why you haven't seen the non AMG versions around. Often see them being pdi'd or serviced at Mercedes-Benz world.