The story of the Land Rover is a long one, as it spans more than 60 years and was housed in four countries, in three separate continents. Inspired by an American WWII jeep, the first land Rover came to be on a farm in Newborough, Anglesey by one of the engineers of what was then known as the Rover Company in 1947. Land Rover only became a company in 1978.
Land Rovers were initially nicknamed as the ‘Centre Steer,’ and were limited in colour to different shades of green because military surplus paint was the only thing available. Early proto-types of the vehicle tested at Long Bennington, and the company advertised the vehicle to run on ‘banana oil’, an organic compound that smelled strongly of the fruit, though not actually made from it.
The British Military wanted their vehicles to maintain simplicity so that more soldiers can use the equipment without further training. The English Land Rovers parts consisted of a 2.5 litre four-cylinder 300TDi engine, instead of the five-cylinder electronically controlled TD5s. The TDi engine only ended as an option for the vehicle in 2006.
Buying and Selling
In 1994, German automaker BMW bought the Rover group, broke it up, and sold it to the Ford Motor Company for £6 million six years later. The American company didn’t hold on to the dormant brand for long, as they announced plans to sell the brand a year after purchasing it, along with Jaguar Cars. The actual sale of the Land Rover didn’t actually happen until March 2008, and Ford revealed India’s Tata Motors as the buyer.
Before the sale was finalised, British manufacturer JCB expressed interest in buying Jaguar from Ford, but backed out of the deal after learning that the deal included Land Rover, which the company was not prepared to buy.
Birmingham was the primary manufacturing site of the Land Rover, before it moved to a site near Liverpool. The Freelander, a model under the Land Rover brand, calls Pune, India as its manufacturing home, while the Defender is manufactured in several locations including Spain, Brazil, Iran, and Turkey. In 2010, Tata announced that it was moving the manufacturing of the Land Rover to China to cut costs and expand sales.