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End of the road for 'Queen's favourite' car

Wed, 09 Oct 2013

ONE OF the most-loved and long-lived road vehicles, and a favourite with the Queen, is to cease production.

The last Land Rover Defender will be produced by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) at Solihull in the West Midlands in December 2015.

Featuring in the Angelina Jolie film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and in the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, the Defender name can be traced back to the early 1990s.

But effectively, the popular 4x4 vehicle, which is exported all around the world, represents the continuation of the very first Land Rover which came on to the scene in April 1948 and was modelled on the war-time jeeps.

JLR has confirmed that Defender production will cease but has stressed a new replacement vehicle would join the Land Rover model range, which includes the Freelander, the Discovery and the Range Rover.

John Edwards, who has just been announced as the head of JLR's new individual products division, has said that the Defender is "known and loved the world over".

He has said the replacement would be "instantly recognised" by anyone who knows the current vehicle and the "core values of dependability and functionality" would be retained.

Mr Edwards was also reported as saying the new vehicle "won't necessarily be cheap".

Land Rover holds a royal warrant, as supplier to the royal household. The royal relationship with Land Rover goes back to to 1948 when King George VI viewed the original Land Rover.

The Queen, who has been pictured at the wheel of Land Rovers, took delivery of her first one shortly after coming to the throne in 1952 and has used Land Rovers ever since.

A JLR spokesman said today: "Production of Defender in its current format will stop at the end of 2015.

"A new replacement vehicle will join the Land Rover model range, but we have not yet announced the name nor any details of the new product.

"The Defender in its current format is coming to an end and we are looking at what the options are going forward."

By Peter Woodman, Press Association