It does seem a strange decision given the popularity of the product as it was. Add to this the number of suppliers of re-engineered vehicles, who seemingly can't keep up with demand even at their high prices.
I've run two Defenders 110s in the past, a 300 TDI (the best IMO) and a TD5. I have off roaded with both, but must admit you do eventually get fed up with banging your head on the roof even when strapped in! They do give you a wonderful feeling that you could drive anywhere over almost any terrain - even the rough old Kings Road
JLR say that the Defender design did not fit in with todays manufacturing, so I wonder what did MB do with the G Wagon, is that still made as per the original or was the design modernised?
My personal view is that it is wrong to classify the Defender as a just another chelsea tractor, it is more workhorse. So for heavens sake why do JLR make all of their product range to be Range Rover clones. It would have been much better suited to being big, boxy and utilitarian with plastic bits and pieces that are hard to damage and easy to replace.
Obviously the bean counters have won (apologies to any accountants reading this!) and they've found a use for all those old Disco bits they had stored out the back.