Land Rover is known as a manufacturer of luxury sport utility vehicles and is a division of India-based automaker Tata Motors. Land Rover has a couple of used models for the US market, including the Land Rover Range Rover, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Discovery, Freelander, LR3 and the LR2. Land Rover produces a variety of vehicles for other markets and military use, including Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Freelander and the Land Rover Defender.
Land Rover History
Land Rover is a British brand originally designed in 1948 as a rugged British equivalent to the Jeep. The first several generations of Land Rover trucks were very utilitarian, and many included power take-off (PTO) shafts as regular equipment through 1985. Most Land Rover vehicles are built in Solihull, England, which is also the headquarters for the Land Rover division.
Land Rover has manufactured a vast array of body styles over the years, including lightweights, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and wagons. Land Rover introduced the Range Rover in 1970, which combined the rugged Land Rover off-road capabilities with a more car-like interior. The Range Rover has become the flagship of the Land Rover brand, and is the most popular model offered by Land Rover.
Changes in Land Rover Ownership
Land Rover has changed hands frequently over the years. The brand was acquired by Rover not long after the Land Rover was created. Rover itself was acquired by the British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1967. In 1988, British Aerospace took over control of Rover but this ownership would last only six years. In 1994 BMW purchased Rover along with the Land Rover brand. In 2000, BMW would split the Rover company in two, with the Land Rover division going to Ford. In 2005, the China-based Nanjing Automobile Group acquired the remaining assets of Rover and plans to resume automobile production in the near future. Rover and Land Rover are no longer linked, and will likely never be under the same parent company again.
Sale to Tata Motors
It was announced on March 26, 2008, that Ford entered into an agreement to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to the Indian automaker Tata Motors. Tata Motors will pay approximately $2.3 billion in cash and after the sale, Ford will contribute approximately $600 million to Jaguar and Land Rover pension plans. Tata Motors had revenues of $7.2 billion in 2006-2007, making it India's largest automobile company. The Land Rover and Jaguar brands will be operated by Tata's holding company, Tata Motors (UK) Holdings Ltd.
The acquisition of Land Rover and Jaguar will give Tata an upscale entry into the US and other important markets. At the time of acquisition, Tata markets vehicles in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and South America. Due to widespread press coverage of its $2,500 starting MSRP, Tata's most well-known vehicle in the US is the Tata Nano. The Nano is not yet sold in North America.
The sale of Land Rover and Jaguar is part Ford's "The Way Forward" plan for streamlining operations and getting back to the root of its manufacturing operations. To put the financial aspect of the sale into perspective, Ford paid $2.7 billion for Land Rover in 2000 and $2.5 billion for Jaguar in 1989.