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Land Rover Defender Production To End After 67 Years Of Iconic Off-roading Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Oct, 14 2013 | 2 Comments

One of the most iconic vehicles still available today will be put to rest before the end of this decade, succumbing to modern safety and emissions requirements.

The Land Rover Defender can trace its roots back to 1948 and has barely changed in the years since, but the venerable four-wheel-drive will not see its 70th birthday.

Speaking with industry paper Automotive News this week, a Land Rover spokesperson confirmed the old man will be retired "by the middle of the decade".

That will be a sad day. The Defender isn't exactly a top seller for the British marque, but it still moves between 15,000 and 20,000 units each year.

But only 561 have been sold in Europe so far this year - making Australia's 487 year-to-date sales look quite impressive - and it has already been discontinued in the US.

In that market, the big 4WD no longer meets minimum safety standards - driver and passenger side airbags, in this case - and it won't be long before other markets declare the Defender unacceptable.

It's not all bad news, however. Land Rover has already offered a glimpse of at least one take on a possible Defender replacement - last year's DC100 concept.

Above: Old and new, but the DC100 is merely a concept that isn't expected to reach production.
Above: Old and new, but the DC100 is merely a concept that isn't expected to reach production.

But, while Land Rover is believed to have moved on from that idea - understood to be just one of several under consideration - the big question is when we'll see the Defender's replacement.

Land Rover had originally planned a mid-decade debut, but more recent months have seen the carmaker shy away from confirming a timeline.

According to independent organisation Bernstein Research, the Defender's replacement could be as far off as 2019 - at the earliest.

"The Defender replacement remains far from ready due to a lack of volume and weak business case," Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said in a recent report.

It is believed that Land Rover is now considering a more expensive direction for the new model, possibly featuring an aluminium-intensive architecture based on the new Range Rover.

That would be a return to form, in a way, with the original Land Rover using aluminium as an alternative to steel, which was in limited supply in post-WW2 Britain.

Pictured top of article: Land Rover's 'All-Terrain Electric' Defender concept, revealed earlier this year.

 
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