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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Comments
18

11 July 2016
Why would they sell the design, name and heritage of one their best products for a few million quid. It'll only be a matter of time before it makes some sort of comeback

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

11 July 2016
If the contract were written correctly, then JLR could not only get royalties from the design but could continue to benefit from the positive good will of the design.

Think of it in the same way as Caterham and the Lotus 7.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

11 July 2016
Then what chance has anyone one got? Mercedes have managed to update the G Wagon and make it a desirable car (to some). JLR had a number of reasons to put the Defender out of it's misery so they did.

Fair play to the bloke though for being prepared to give it a go.

11 July 2016
The defender is not 68 years old, the current version was introduced in the early 80's and the Defender name was introduced in the early 90's. Its a piece of junk that should have been completely overhauled or scrapped about 20 years ago. I genuinely do not see the attraction.

11 July 2016
Citytiger wrote:

The defender is not 68 years old, the current version was introduced in the early 80's and the Defender name was introduced in the early 90's. Its a piece of junk that should have been completely overhauled or scrapped about 20 years ago. I genuinely do not see the attraction.

It's a strangely dishonest line for a specialist motoring magazine to perpetuate, since it relies solely on the fact that the latest Land Rover looks quite a lot like the first one - that is, to your nan who knows nothing about cars and cares even less. To anyone with even the sketchiest interest in motor cars it is obvious that this year's Land Rover is not at all the same as 1948's. Pretending otherwise is the sort of thing newspapers do all the time, because they don't car. Autocar really ought not to follow suit.

11 July 2016
Bullfinch wrote:
Citytiger wrote:

The defender is not 68 years old, the current version was introduced in the early 80's and the Defender name was introduced in the early 90's. Its a piece of junk that should have been completely overhauled or scrapped about 20 years ago. I genuinely do not see the attraction.

It's a strangely dishonest line for a specialist motoring magazine to perpetuate, since it relies solely on the fact that the latest Land Rover looks quite a lot like the first one - that is, to your nan who knows nothing about cars and cares even less. To anyone with even the sketchiest interest in motor cars it is obvious that this year's Land Rover is not at all the same as 1948's. Pretending otherwise is the sort of thing newspapers do all the time, because they don't car. Autocar really ought not to follow suit.

Yeah. I mean its not like Toyota saying the corolla is the most produced car in hisotory despite having gone through 6 or so regenerations. Or BMW saying the 3 Series is the same car despite going through numerous E regenerations.

Give your head a wobble.

11 July 2016
As much as I can see the appeal of limited continued production of the Defender here in the UK . I cannot see JLR selling the intellectual rights to the vehicle, which could compromise their own plans for build in other markets?

289

11 July 2016
.....they sold the rights of the series models (when they switched to the coil sprung Defender), to Santana in Spain!
They actually engineered quite a few of the common faults out of the relics. Santana went on to remarket Suzuki's but have since gone under.
I wouldn't put it past an Indian company taking the Defender on.....particularly given the nationality of JLR's owners. UNLESS, they feel they just cant take a risk with their heritage model and would rather make it disappear than take a chance.

11 July 2016
We all love steam trains. But would we want to buy a new one and pay for the privilege? Same with the worn-out concept that is the Defender. Dangerous and impractical to drive, there must be plenty out there that could be restored to full working order. What happens when the new one comes on stream? The market would sink like a stone.

13 July 2016
One word - Tornado.

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