London - Land Rover has confirmed that its reincarnated Defender will be built in Slovakia rather than Britain.
The decision to build what is considered an ‘iconic’ British car abroad will be seen by many as a bitter blow - but the firm insisted that Brexit ‘had not played a role in the decision’.
The outgoing Defender – much loved and often driven by the Queen and other members of the royal family - was built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull factory near Birmingham until production ceased in 2016. Its successor will be built at the company’s new factory in Nitra, Slovakia.
Land Rover said the new off-roader was designed and engineered in Britain – at its engineering centre in Gaydon in Warwickshire – with petrol and diesel engines supplied from its factory in Wolverhampton.
It said switching production to Slovakia would free up capacity at Solihull to build the flagship Range Rover and Land Rover models, including electrified versions of its 4x4.
Meanwhile, Land Rover has released yet another set of images of disguised Defender prototypes undergoing final testing ahead of the vehicle's reveal later in 2019.
The new Defender is currently completing its final phase of field testing with Tusk Trust, on location in Kenya. The prototype will be put through its paces by towing heavy loads, wading through rivers and carrying supplies across challenging terrain at the 14 000-hectare reserve.
According to Land Rover, the new 4x4 will have passed more than 45 000 individual tests by the time it is launched, covering 1.2 million kilometres across all terrains and in extreme climates.
Land Rover describes the newcomer as a “revolutionary” product for the brand with “even broader public appeal,” meaning that it will most certainly take a modern approach to comfort and gadgetry, with the company promising that the latest driver assistance and connectivity features will be available.
“When it debuts in 2019, the new model will represent 70 years of innovation and improvement in just one model year; honoring the model’s history for rugged durability, while thoroughly remaining a Defender for the 21st century,” Land Rover says.
Daily Mail & IOL