High demand means the Land Rover Defender could celebrate its 33rd birthday after all

Two years ago, Land Rover announced plans to stop building the iconic Defender by the end of 2015. However, demand for the venerable off-roader has been unexpectedly high, so the British car maker has reportedly decided to extend production into 2016.

“Although I’ve been told that February is the definite cut-off date, someone else has said it could possibly go on until April,” revealed a Land Rover employee who works at the Solihull, England, factory where the Defender is built. Land Rover has chosen not to comment on the matter.

Land Rover sold just 17,781 examples of the Defender last year, but orders have grown exponentially since the beginning of the year. As a result, production was ramped up by nearly 50 percent earlier this year, and the 450 workers that build the off-roader are still struggling to keep up.

Even if production is extended by a couple of months, Land Rover will soon have to stop building the Defender because 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. The 36-year-old G-Class is fully compliant, but it’s also a lot more expensive — and, consequently, a lot more profitable — so Mercedes-Benz was able to justify the investment.

Land Rover isn’t shy about admitting that it’s actively looking into shifting Defender production to another part of the world. The move would add years to the Defender’s life but it wouldn’t make the truck legal in Europe, and sales are still scheduled to stop before December 31, 2015.

What’s next?

Engineers and designers are busily developing a successor to the Defender but its launch has been delayed several times. Although details are still few and far between, executives had previously revealed that the next Defender will lose the current model’s time-tested, function-over-form design and adopt a bolder appearance inspired by Land Rover’s latest design language.

Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Cars

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.
Cars

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.