Land Rover Killing Defender

Land Rover Killing DefenderLand Rover Killing Defender

Land Rover’s Defender is boxy, beastly and beloved. However, early next year, it’ll be dead, or will it?

For seven decades, the Defender off-road vehicle has barely changed from a design so simple it was originally sketched in beach sand: Slabs of aluminum. A windshield with virtually no tilt. A roof rack made to hold steamer trunks or lion carcasses. A spare tire hanging off the back door.

That uncompromising approach has delighted customers from English sheep farmers to Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II. The Defender has shuttled soldiers in the Korean War, Red Cross volunteers in crisis zones around the world and Lara Croft in the movie Tomb Raider, Bloomberg quotes AFP as reporting.

In January, its run will end and the company has not said when there will be a replacement.

The $33,000 (1.25 billion rials at market exchange rate) car, synonymous with British country living, has become as anachronistic as a fox hunt. Its raw metal surfaces are at odds with pedestrian safety standards. Its carbon-dioxide emissions are twice the European fleet standard, and it has no touchscreens, mobile connectivity or cordless phone charging. Airbags? Nice try.

  Phoenix From the Ashes

“It’s time to move to a new chapter,” said Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover’s head of engineering, who learned to drive in a Defender. “We want to move forward with a new car.”

However, for those diehard fans, Iran may be their last hope as the vehicle will continue to be made by local company Morattab Khodro, who bought the machinery to build the Defender model back in the 1990s from a Spanish coach builder who ended their contract with Britain’s Land Rover company at the time.

The unusual anomaly may well play in to the hands of Morattab Khodro, as their vehicle is offered at less than half the price of the British equivalent currently priced at $16,000 (608 million rials at market exchange rate).

As the company does not have a direct license with Jaguar-Land Rover, it cannot currently sell the vehicle as Land Rover Defender model. Hence, it is common to see them driving around Tehran with unofficial Land Rover Badges and stickers replacing the “Pazhan” model, which should be placed on the front and back.  Currently the only vehicle the Morattab Khodro is offering is the extended chassis pickup variety. However, the company did produce the smaller versions of the Defender model starting in 1962.