A redundancy process has started among the 450 staff working on the manufacture of the Defender model at Land Rover's factory in Solihull.

Voluntary redundancy is being offered to staff because production of the iconic 4x4 vehicle will cease due to tough EU emissions rules, most likely early next year.

A statement from the company said: "Jaguar Land Rover would like to thank all Defender employees for their commitment in the final year of the model's production at Solihull.

"The company recognises that some employees may not wish to transition to other manufacturing areas at Solihull when production of Defender ends, so are offering voluntary redundancy to a small number of people."

Last year, around 17,781 Defenders were produced at the car-maker's Solihull plant but sales are expected to soar this year.

Ordinarily, each shift might produce 84 Defenders but the Post reported earlier this year that output had been increased to 125 to cope with a spike in demand.

Land Rover has indicated it could still produce the vehicle elsewhere in the world for markets where the rules are less stringent but it will no longer be built at the firm's home in Lode Lane.

There are some robots on the line but much of the process involves skilled workers putting the vehicles together in a way that's often compared to assembling a Meccano set.

The current Defender is a direct descendent of the original Land Rover which was launched in 1948.

Pictures: Two millionth Land Rover Defender