Jaguar Land Rover prepares to say farewell to iconic Defender brand

The Queen has been a user of the vehicles since 1952. Picture: PA
The Queen has been a user of the vehicles since 1952. Picture: PA
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One of the most-loved and long-lived road vehicles, which has been a favourite with the Queen, will cease production on Friday.

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

Featured in James Bond movie Skyfall and Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow, 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 Second World War jeeps.

Jim Holder, editorial director of magazines Autocar and What Car?, said that Defenders “appeal to every level of society”.

He said: “It’s a classless vehicle. Anyone can drive it. You might be a farmer trying to get over the muddiest field or it might be the Queen driving around Windsor … it can be at home in Chelsea but doesn’t look out of place painted white in the middle of a war zone.”

Mr Holder believes JLR made the decision to cease production of Defenders because safety and emissions regulations “have finally caught up with it”.

JLR is working on a replacement vehicle for the Defender, but Mr Holder said it will be a “massive challenge” to match the status of the original.