One of the last Land Rover Defenders off the line
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".