The iconic Land Rover Defender is getting somewhat of a reprieve. With demand for the off-roader soaring, the British automaker is scrapping plans to end production of the current model in December.
An inside company source revealed to the UK’s Birmingham Post that Defender production will continue through at least February of next year. The source added that Land Rover might even keep the current Defender around until April of 2016. Demand for the Defender is so unexpectedly high that Land Rover has upped output from 84 to 125 off-roaders a day on its assembly line.
“It is going to be extended until at least the end of February,” the unnamed source said. “We have had a glut of orders and are going on until then.”
The current Defender traces its roots back to the original Land Rover introduced in 1948. Rover, the original manufacturer, based its design on a World War II warhorse, the American Willys MB, also known as the Jeep.
The Defender hasn’t changed much over the last three decades, which in the end presents a big problem for Land Rover. Soon, the 32-year-old truck won’t comply with the strict safety and emissions regulations that are scheduled to come into effect across the European Union in the coming years.
Land Rover engineers are busy working on an all-new unibody Defender, with a more up-scale interior, but it’s been delayed several times. Now it looks like that model won’t hit the market until at least 2018.