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Land Rover Defender to be built in Sri Lanka

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0700

The Land Rover Defender is to be built outside the UK in a new plant in Sri Lanka to produce Defenders for the region.

Land Rover are assisting and training staff at a new assembly plant in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, run by Sathosa Motors PLC in a 50-50 deal with Land Rover distributors SML Frontier Automotive, with $1 million being invested to get the project up and running this year.

It seems clear from the level of investment that this is simply an assembly operation using CKD kits from the UK for the Defender, but Sri Lank’s Daily News is reporting that there are plans to invest $500 million in the project.

That level of investment implies that there are plans to do far more than assemble the Defender in Sri Lanka, and we’re guessing there’s probably mileage in the idea that the original Defender will live on in to the future as the ‘Classic’ Defender, built in regions outside Europe to provide a workhorse for emerging markets.

We already know the current Defender will carry on until 2017 – a couple of years after the new Defender arrives in 2015 – and this plan looks like Land Rover see a much longer term future for the old Defender.

If this new assembly plant for the Defender in Sri Lanka is the precursor for the Classic Defender being given a life of its own, we could reasonably expect it to be built not just in Sri Lanka, but in mainland India (where we expect the 2015 Defender to be built) and China too.

By Cars UK