Customer demand for the Defender, today, saw a substantially revised new model for 2007 roll off the production line at Solihull. Land Rover employees were present to celebrate this important milestone which marks the continued success of the iconic model which began life in 1948.
The new model goes on sale this spring and will feature significant upgrades to enhance the ownership experience and meet forthcoming legislation.
The extension to the long life of Defender, which has been in production in various models since 1948, will preserve more than 750 jobs at the Solihull factory where it is produced alongside the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery 3.
Annual production of Defender has remained consistent at around 25,000 units in recent years, with much of the demand coming from large contract orders. For example, the Italian energy distribution company, Ente Nazionale Elettricita, recently placed an order for over 900 Defenders.
Since its emergence, nearly 60 years ago, the original Land Rover has carved a heroic path through some of the world's remotest regions and it's estimated that around two thirds of all Land Rovers are still in use.
"Defender remains a significant contributor to the business as well as an enduring symbol of Land Rover's 4x4 heritage," said Phil Popham, Land Rover's Managing Director. "Its simple concept hasn't changed fundamentally over the years, but it remains as relevant as ever.
"Defender continues to play a vital role for emergency services, aid workers and farmers around the world. As we grow Land Rover we're not forgetting our core values and our traditional customers."
With a rugged ladder-frame box-section chassis and aluminium bodywork, the Defender is incredibly tough. Its practical advantages include its unmatched combination of off-road supremacy, carrying capacity and towing capability.
The Defender name was introduced in 1990 but the model is a direct descendant of the original Land Rover introduced in 1948. Production of Defender and its predecessors has passed 1.8 million.
Commenting on the introduction of the model updated for 2007, Paul Cope, Manufacturing Director at Solihull said: "The introduction of Defender 07 Model Year is recognition that consumer demand remains very strong for this iconic model. The 07 Model Year with its new design enhancements, will ensure that Defender remains a key contributor to the success of the Solihull manufacturing site. Our manufacturing team is absolutely dedicated to increasing customer satisfaction by making the 07 Model Year Defender, the best Defender yet."