Land Rover’s new Defender to be assembled in Slovakia

The next generation of Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) iconic Defender will be assembled in Slovakia.

The Defender has been in production at JLR’s Solihull plant in the UK’s West Midlands for almost 70 years.

On April 30, however, JLR confirmed that the next model would be assembled at its plant in Nitra in Slovakia, which opened in October 2018, following an investment of 1.4 billion euros.

As reported in the Guardian: “After the boom of the first half this decade, British car manufacturing dropped 14 per cent year-on-year in March [2019]. The industry has warned that a no-deal Brexit could see it recede even further amid fears of a repeat of the dark days of the mid-1980s”.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, told the Guardian that the new “limbo” around Britain’s departure date was creating further havoc with investment. “Just a few years ago, industry was on track to produce two million cars by 2020 – a target now impossible with Britain’s reputation as stable and attractive business environment undermined,” he said.

James Attwood, deputy editor at Autocar magazine, told the BBC: “it always looked as though the new Defender would be built in Slovakia, particularly after they [JLR] had invested such a large sum in their new plant there.”

While the assembly will be carried out in Slovakia, the Defender will still be of British design, and the engines will be made in the UK.

A JLR spokesperson said that the new Defender was “designed and engineered in the UK and the manufacturing decision reinforces both the company’s British roots and the diversified, globalised nature of our manufacturing strategy”.

The new Defender will be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show later in 2019, and is due to go on sale in 2020.

Photo: Jaguar Land Rover official Facebook page