Land Rover’s iconic Defender could live on overseas after production in the UK ends later this year. However, any future production of the rugged off-roader would not officially find its way back to EU markets.
According to a company statement, Land Rover is "investigating the possibility of maintaining production of the current Defender at an overseas production facility, after the close of UK manufacturing. Any continuation would see low-volume production maintained for sale outside the EU".
There are no hints as to where the Defender could live on, although India – home country of JLR owners Tata – looks like the leading contender. Defender production has a very high labour content and the lower labour costs in India would bring the cost of producing the vehicle down significantly.
The semi hand-made nature of Defender production would also, presumably, allow any newly constructed production line to be relatively inexpensive because of minimal robotisation.
Land Rover sources say that if the Defender does live on overseas, it is not the company’s intention to offer the model in the EU in any shape or form, even if some kind of single-vehicle type approval could theoretically allow the new-build Defenders to be made road legal.