The 1,000,000th Land Rover Discovery has been made at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull Manufacturing Plant near Birmingham in the UK.
To celebrate this milestone and demonstrate the Discovery's class defining versatility and all-round capability, the 1,000,000th vehicle will now start a 'Journey of Discovery' from its birthplace in Birmingham to Beijing in China – one of Land Rover's fastest growing markets.
The 50-day, 8,000 mile adventure will be undertaken by three Land Rover Discovery vehicles travelling through more than a dozen countries across Europe and Central Asia, culminating at the Beijing motor show on 23 April.
The expedition also presents Land Rover with the opportunity to launch its most ambitious fund-raising project yet by aiming to raise £1million (GBP) for the company's Global Humanitarian Partner, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The money will be used to support a much needed water sanitation project in Uganda.
Production of the 1,000,000th Land Rover Discovery comes 23 years after Land Rover introduced its original model. Since it first came to market as a third model to sit between the luxurious Range Rover and the rugged Defender, it has carved its own market segment and become an international success story.
Discovery has picked up more than 200 awards around the world and last year saw record sales of almost 45,000 units across 170 worldwide markets. It also stands as an excellent example of UK design, engineering and manufacturing, with 83 per cent of production being exported from its West Midlands manufacturing base.
The Land Rover Discovery is one of the world's most practical vehicles – it can seat seven passengers, has a load space volume of up to 2,500 litres and is packed with technology including Land Rover's award-winning Terrain Response System, which adapts the vehicle to respond to differing terrains and driving conditions including snow and sand.
The success of the Discovery alongside other Land Rover models has helped to create a positive momentum at the company's Solihull operations. The facility now employs around 6,000 people following a recruitment drive launch six month ago, boosting the workforce by 20% to support its expansion plans.
Alan Volkaerts, Operations Director, Solihull Operations said: "Many people are involved in the production of the Discovery, and many have been here for the whole journey, from car number one to car number one million. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every one of them. They have done a brilliant job, and have displayed great dedication and service. These are the men and women who have made the Discovery the success story it is today.
I am very pleased to tell you that their numbers are also growing. The success of the Discovery, and of Jaguar Land Rover, means that we are coming to the final stages of a major recruitment drive to fill more than 1,000 new positions here at Solihull, as Jaguar Land Rover embarks on its most ambitious growth plan for many years."
The challenge follows in the tyre tracks of 'The First Overland Expedition' of 1955, in which a team in Series 1 Land Rovers set out from Birmingham to Beijing. That expedition had to divert to Singapore, but in the spirit of the original challenge the Discovery will be crossing many of Land Rover's major markets including the UK, Russia and China.
Phil Popham, Group Sales Operations Director., Jaguar Land Rover said: "Discovery is an extraordinary vehicle and it deserves to be unleashed on an extraordinary journey. There is no better vehicle to tackle all weather, all terrain than the Discovery 4. This gruelling expedition will be visiting 13 countries and covering 8,000 miles, and it’s a fitting initiative to celebrate the one millionth vehicle."
With a £1million target, the 'Journey of Discovery' is Land Rover’s most ambitious fundraising project to date. It will support IFRC and their water sanitation project in Uganda. This is in addition to the three-year global initiative “Reaching Vulnerable People Around the World”. This initiative, launched in 2010, provides additional support for IFRC programmes in over 15 countries worldwide.
Mark Cameron, Land Rover Global Brand Extension Director said: "Land Rover is delighted to launch the One Million Pound fundraiser in aid of the IFRC – an organisation we have had a relationship with since 1954. The funds will be used directly by the IFRC, over a three-year period and will be donated to a water sanitation project in Uganda, with over 45,000 beneficiaries."
Bekele Geleta, Secretary-General of the IFRC said: "Lack of safe water is the most common and preventable underlying cause of disease in the world today and Uganda is one of the countries worst affected. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are working in Uganda to provide safe water and sanitation, reaching 90,000 in the last four years. This joint initiative between the IFRC and Land Rover aims to reach an additional 45,000 people in Uganda."
We are aiming to raise £1,000,000 for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' water and sanitation project in Uganda. For more information please visit www.landrover.com/million
1987 – Approval is given to develop a third Land Rover model to sit between the rugged Defender and the luxurious Range Rover, codenamed Project Jay. It is the first Land Rover to be designed in its entirety using CAD technology.
1989 – The Discovery is launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September as a three-door and powered by a state-of-the-art intercooled, direct-injection turbodiesel.
1990 – A five-door version is launched. Both models have light-blue interiors created by the Conran Design Group and which includes a removable shoulder bag, now a collectors’ item.
1991 – The Duke of Edinburgh is supplied with a Discovery to use in his role as Park Ranger of Windsor Great Park.
1992 – A beige alternative to the blue interior was offered while automatic transmission was made an option on the TDi model while Land Rover Special vehicles produced a three-door, two-seater commercial version.
1993 – a special stretched Discovery on a 116” wheelbase is created to serve as a fast response, all-terrain ambulance for paramedics.
1994 – The Discovery is facelifted, receiving larger headlamps, additional rear lights, more powerful engines and a stronger manual gearbox. This coincides with Discovery going on sale in the USA.
1995 – Land Rover passes the 100,000 vehicle per year production mark for the first time with the Discovery as the bestseller. In total 392,443 first-gen Discovery's were built.
1998 – The first two production versions of the Discovery Series II are driven round the world and onto the showstand at the Paris Motor Show to launch the new car.
1998 – The second generation Discovery sits on the same 100” wheelbase but is longer overall to allow the third row of seats to face forwards. Almost every panel is new and there is a new five-cylinder turbo-diesel.
1998 – Three, largely standard, Discovery II's act as support vehicles in the Paris-Dakar with one actually finishing in 31st place.
1999 – The Discovery becomes the first SUV to introduce twin airbags for front seat passengers.
1999 – Active Cornering Enhancement for the Discovery uses an electronically controlled torsion bar system to reduce cornering roll. Optional self-levelling rear air-springs replace the conventional steel items in some markets.
2001 – The locking centre differential is removed with its functions taken over by the Hill Descent Control and traction control systems.
2003 – The Discovery receives a facelift, gaining the distinctive ‘double’ headlamps to share a family look with the Range Rover and Freelander and is fitted with a larger, 4.6-litre version of the Thor V8 engine from the Range Rover.
2004 – By the end of its production run the Discovery II had become increasingly luxurious while losing none of its ability. The Landmark edition featured a leather interior, twin sunroofs, a CD-changer and heated windscreen. In total 278,570 Series II models are built from 1999-2004.
2003 - Development of the Series III sees 75 prototypes testing across the globe in temperatures ranging from -30 to 50 Centigrade.
2004 – Launched at the New York Motor Show, the Discovery 3 – known as LR3 in the US – features all new Integrated Body Frame construction which combines the benefits of both monocoque and ladder frame chassis.
2004 – The Discovery 3 features fully independent air-suspension with Land Rover’s innovative cross-linking system which allows for greater off-road agility and is powered by a new twin-turbo 2.7 V6 diesel.
2005 – The Terrain Response system which allows the driver to quickly choose the correct vehicle settings for different off-road conditions wins a ‘Best of What’s New’ Award from US magazine Popular Science.
2005 – The Discovery 3 serves as the basis for a new fourth Land Rover model, the Range Rover Sport.
2007 – The four millionth Land Rover built is a black Discovery 3 and is donated to the Born Free Foundation to act as a Rapid Response Rescue vehicle. In the same year the ‘Road to the Clouds’ expedition takes a fleet of Discovery 3's to 5,000m in Argentina.
2008 – Terrain Response receives a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.
2009 – The Discovery 3 received more than 100 awards in its lifecycle from countries around the world. A total of 220,057 are built over five years.
2009 – A substantial restyle of the front and rear lights, bumpers and the grille brings the Discovery into line with the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The front headlamps feature LED Daytime Running Lights.
2009 – A new sequentially turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel delivers fuel economy and CO2 emissions benefits of around 10 per cent while increasing power and torque by approximately a third over the previous 2.7-litre engine.
2009 – Safety systems on the Series IV now include trailer Stability Assist, Tow Assist, Understeer Control, Automatic High Beam Assist and five exterior cameras to aid visibility.
2011 – The six-speed automatic gearbox is replaced with an eight-ratio version offering greater economy and performance while lowering emissions.
2012 – Having picked up more than 50 awards globally the Series IV notches up another Land Rover milestone in March when it becomes the one millionth car to wear the now illustrious Discovery badge.