Rover Celebrates 60 Year Anniversary Today - LRX Concept and 'Huey,'
the First Production Land Rover From 1948, at Solihull Facility in
60 years ago today, a motoring icon made its public
debut, when the original Land Rover was shown at a motor show in
Amsterdam, on April 30, 1948. The current Defender is clearly descended
from that first vehicle, known as a Series 1. Extraordinarily, they
even share a couple of original parts, an oil filler plug and a cleat
for tying down the canvas roof. But the rest of the vehicle technology
has moved on considerably.
Today, Land Rover goes from
strength-to-strength, with a five-model line-up headed by the Range
Rover, and record global sales of over 226,000 vehicles in 2007.
company recently received an early birthday present, in the form of two
Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. The first, for 'International Trade',
was given in recognition of export sales of nearly £4 billion per annum
to 147 countries, with markets such as China and Russia driving major
growth. The second, for 'Innovation', was awarded for Land Rover's
acclaimed Terrain Response™ system. At the twist of a knob, this sets
up the vehicle's engine response and traction systems to maximize
performance on all terrains - the electronic equivalent of having an
expert instructor alongside the driver.
Around the world, Land
Rover will be celebrating its 60th anniversary year throughout the
summer with a series of special activities and events.
Land Rover is an outstanding British engineering and manufacturing
success story. Its manufacturing plants at Solihull (near Birmingham)
and Halewood (near Liverpool) and its Research and Development
facilities in the English Midlands, employ a workforce of 8,500 - and
the company helps support an estimated further 40,000 jobs through
Since the first Series I model rolled off
the production line at Solihull, the vehicles created by Land Rover
have defined the SUV market. In 1970, the company introduced what's
been called the most significant SUV ever, the Range Rover – the first
SUV to be equally capable on-road as off-road. Now, alongside the Range
Rover and Defender*, sit the LR3, LR2 and Range Rover Sport.
Rover's spirit of adventure has been evident from the earliest days.
Adventurers, farmers, scientists, naturalists, and outdoor sport
enthusiasts have all used Land Rovers' capability to access some of the
world's most inhospitable regions. For 60 years, the company's vehicles
have also worked for a multitude of humanitarian and conservation
organizations, represented today by Land Rover's formal ties with the
Born Free Foundation, Biosphere, Earthwatch, the Royal Geographical
Society (with IBG), and the China Exploration and Research Society.
Popham, Land Rover's Managing Director, commented, "Land Rover’s
history is a long and illustrious one – and the future is just as
exciting. We are committed to maintaining our relevance and meeting the
needs of our customers in a changing global environment. Earlier this
year, we unveiled a glimpse into our possible future - the diesel
hybrid LRX cross-coupe concept. This signals that Land Rover will
continue to evolve, with capability, premium values and sustainable
motoring at the top of the agenda."