#Land Rover's Defender, a hugely iconic hit in North America is sadly being discontinued.
A Land Rover spokesman said "The Defender will go out of production by the middle of the decade due to legislative reasons," though declined to explain specifics.
Sales of the Defender were discontinued in North America years ago, as it no longer meets safety standards, but the SUV remains extremely popular. So popular that it's regularly imported illegally. Importers are known to switch the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) with that of an older model, so that it qualifies as an antique vehicle and exempt from safety and environmental regulations.
The #Defender is so popular that the prices of used Defenders are still exceptionally high, even though it has not been legally available in the U.S. since the mid 1990s. The company had to discontinue sales because the Defender did not have driver and passenger side air bags.
#Land Rover says that they are in the process of developing a replacement vehicle for the Defender, but no details or even a name were disclosed. It will not go on sale until 2019 at the earliest. The company did show a concept called the DC 100 at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011, floating it as a potential replacement, but that steel-based vehicle has since been cancelled. Land Rover is now considering an aluminum model that will ride on the current Ranger Rover's platform
Over 2 million Defenders have been sold of the rugged looking SUV, since it's introduction in 1948. It helped build Land Rover's reputation for rugged vehicles, despite having low sales numbers. In the first eight months of 2013, only 561 Defenders were sold in Europe. Those numbers would multiply exponentially if they were to find a way to satisfy North American safety standards and be permitted to sell the Defender here.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca