Land Rover Defender: Can't Fight Off Copycats

Land Rover is taking so long to replace its iconic Defender that someone else is planning to do it first.

WHEN the last Land Rover Defender rolled off the production line, many motoring fans feared they would never see its like again.

Industrial giant Ineos has announced plans to build a new 4x4 off-road vehicle inspired by the discontinued Land Rover Defender.

Ineos insisted it would not directly copy the Land Rover's design, which saw resale values leap around the world after its demise previous year, but would use its simplistic philosophy.

Ineos said its vehicle would not be a replica of the Defender but "reflect its philosophy", with a target market including agriculture and forestry workers as well as "traditional Defender fans that simply enjoy an authentic 4x4 driving experience". The project will be commanded by Dirk Heilmann, former chief of engineering and technology at Ineos - he is now heading the newly constituted Ineos Automotive and is currently recruiting "automotive experts".

However, Mr Ratcliffe confirmed Ineos' model, made possible after six months of feasibility studies, won't be a carbon copy, adding it will offer a real alternative to "jelly-mould" market rivals. The company is now seeking a suitable manufacuring site in the United Kingdom or Europe. "Our new 4x4 has been inspired by [the Defender]", he wrote.

While the Defender badge was only stuck on the Land Rover in 1990, the original Land Rover appeared after the war, when the Willys Jeep had proven the need for an all-weather, all-road, all-wheel drive.

The company says there is a gap in the market for an "uncompromising" off-roader following the decision by Jaguar Land Rover to stop producing its famous Defender.

  • Zachary Reyes