Karmann loses Defender contract

Munich. Ford Motor Co. plans to drop production of the Land Rover Defender in Brazil at the end of the year. The U.S. automaker will import the Defender into South America from the U.K.

The Defender is assembled at German coachbuilder Karmann's factory in Sao Paulo.

Karmann-Ghia do Brasil builds about 800 vehicles a year on a line with 57 employees.

Karmann also has a sizeable business in that country as a machine tool manufacturer.

Before the Land Rover move, other manufacturers had announced they were pulling production out of Brazil.

Audi plans to cease production of the A3 in the second half of 2006, and DaimlerChrysler has already phased out assembly of the A class in Juiz de Fora.

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