It may only make up a small percentage of Land Rover's total sales, but the British automaker is moving forward with the next-generation of its iconic Defender model.

Land Rover's Defender is a rare bird in today's fast-paced automotive world, having retained its same general design for the last several decades. However, government regulations will soon put an end to the current form of the rugged off-road, but Land Rover has already begun development of the next-generation Defender.

According to John Edwards, Land Rover's new global brand director, Land Rover is "serious about replacing the Defender." That seriousness includes an all-new platform, production facility and the backing of Land Rover parent Tata Motors.

Although still early in the process, Land Rover engineers, designers and marketers are already focused on the project, ensuring the iconic off-road remains a staple of the Land Rover lineup. Land Rover expects to show a concept of the next Defender in 2013 before the road-going version bows in 2015.

Land Rover was forced to stop selling the Defender in the United States due to airbag regulations in the 1990s, but it's possible the redesigned version of the rig could be sold here to boost sales. Land Rover will also re-launch the 2015 Defender in other global markets like Australia and Africa.


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