Jim Ratcliffe head of chemical form Ineos has plans to resurrect the Land Rover Defender. This Sundays Times features an interview with Jim Ratcliffe who details his plans to bring back the Land Rover Defender less than 6 months after the last one rolled off the production line ending a 68 year run.
For Defender fans like myself, this could be good news. Except it looks like it might not be the vehicle we remember, Jim is reported to be looking to update it to meet the very same safety standards and emissions regulations that Jaguar Land Rover say contributed to the Defenders demise.
If the Defender does go back into production it's reported that it'll be aiming for 10-20,000 cars a year, and will likely be built in the North near a port for easy export. Given Ineos has plants on the River Mersey (Runcorn) and Jim is from Manchester could we see the iconic car being built in Liverpool?
Given Land Rover are unlikely to be willing to sell the name to the Defender, this will mean we'll possibly be getting a car with a new name (Ineos Phoenix?), a new engine, a whole host of of other modifications, which will look a bit like a Defender. If that's the case, for me it's not worth the effort, we've already had a car along those lines; the Iveco Massif which ended production in 2011.
Maybe now the Defender is no longer on the market, Jim Ratcliffe will have better luck than Iveco. But with an estimated 75% of all Land Rovers ever built still on the road and a thriving aftermarket scene the biggest competition he'll face will likely be from the original Defender itself.