LONDON (Reuters) -- The last classic Land Rover Defender rolled off the production line in the UK on Friday, 68 years after output of the iconic offroader first began, the company said in a statement.
Designed originally for farming and agricultural use, the Defender became popular with celebrities including Beatles singer Paul McCartney and late actor Steve McQueen, selling over 2 million since 1948.
Tata Motors, which bought Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008, has been rapidly updating and expanding its upmarket Range Rover lineup, but will now turn its attention to the next-generation Defender.
"Any conventional vehicle would have been replaced many times over in the lifespan of Defender," a Jaguar Land Rover spokeswoman spokeswoman said. "We now have the technology, pioneering engineering capability and design expertise to evolve the Defender."
Jaguar Land Rover is tight-lipped about how the current Defender will be replaced but media reports have said the automaker is considering building a new generation at its new factory in Slovakia or outsourcing production to Magna Steyr in Austria.
It takes 56 hours to make the largely hand-built Defender at the firm's Solihull factory in central England, making it more expensive and time-consuming than many other vehicles which have a higher degree of machine assembly.