Land Rover will end Brazilian production of the Defender in December and switch to fully-imported vehicles.

The decision is mainly as a result of low production volume - just 50 units a month this year of vehicles with 60% local content.

To sell the locally-made Defender in Brazil in 2006, Land Rover would have had to spend money on changing the locally-made International Engines 2.5-litre mechanical-injection diesel engine to a unit with electronic control and common rail injection to comply with the new Proconve 5 emission standard (based on Euro 3) and would also have had to renew the lease on a building - in part of a Karmann-Ghia complex dating back to the '60s - where the Defender has been assembled since 1998.

Due to the low demand in Brazil, and in an attempt to avoid the relatively drastic decision of axing local assembly, Land Rover last year looked at exporting Brazilian-made Defenders to the United States (which took UK-built models for a time in the 1980s and 90s) as a way of increasing production volume, but the model no longer meets US emissions and safety regulations.

When production ends, Land Rover will have built 7,000 Defenders in Brazil.

Rogério Louro

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