Land Rover is an all-terrain vehicle and Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) manufacturer, based in Solihull, England, now operated as part of the Jaguar Land Rover business owned by Tata Motors,India.
Originally the term Land Rover referred to one specific vehicle (see Land Rover Series), a pioneering civilian all-terrain utility vehicle launched on 30 April 1948, at the Amsterdam Motor Show, but was later used as a brand for several distinct models, all capable of four-wheel drive.
Starting out as a model in the Rover Company's product range, the Land Rover brand developed, first as a marque, then as a separate company, developing a range of four-wheel drive capable vehicles under a succession of owners, including British Leyland, British Aerospace and BMW. In 2000, the company was sold by BMW to the Ford Motor Company, becoming part of their Premier Automotive Group. In June 2008 Ford sold its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors.
Land Rover is one of the longest surviving Four-wheel drive (4WD) brands, coming in close second to Jeep.
Land Rovers were manufactured primarily at the Solihull plant, near Birmingham, England, but production of the "Freelander" (2) was moved to the Jaguar car factory at Halewood near Liverpool, a former Ford car plant. Defender models are assembled under license in several locations worldwide, including Spain (Santana Motors), Iran (Pazhan Morattab), Brazil (Karmann)and Turkey (Otokar). The former BL/Rover Group technical centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire is home to the corporate and R&D H.Q.
On 11 June 2007, Ford Motor Company announced its plan to sell Land Rover, along with Jaguar. Ford retained the services of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and HSBC to advise it on the details of the deal. The buyer was initially expected to be announced by September 2007, but the sale was delayed and an announcement was not made until March 2008. A UK based private equity firm, Alchemy Partners, Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra (both from India) expressed interest in purchasing Jaguar and Land Rover from the Ford Motor Company.
Before the sale was announced, Anthony Bamford, chairman of British excavators manufacturer JCB had expressed interest in purchasing Jaguar Cars in August, the year previously; only to back out later when told the sale would also involve Land Rover, which he did not wish to buy. Tata Motors received endorsements from the Transport And General Worker's Union (TGWU)-Amicus combine and Ford as a preferred bidder.
On 26 March 2008, Ford announced that it has agreed to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors, and that the sale was expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2008. On 2 June 2008 the sale to Tata Motors was completed by both parties. Included in the deal were the rights to three other British brands, Jaguar's own Daimler, as well as two dormant brands Lanchester and Rover. BMW and Ford had previously retained ownership of the Rover brand to protect the integrity of the Land Rover brand, with which 'Rover' might be confused in the US 4x4 market; the Rover brand was originally used under license by MG Rover until it collapsed in 2005 at which point it was re-acquired by the then Ford Motor Company owned Land Rover Limited.
The first Land Rover was designed in 1948 in the United Kingdom (on the island of Anglesey in Wales) by Maurice Wilks, chief designer at the British car company Rover on his farm in Newborough, Anglesey. It is said that he was inspired by an American World War II Jeep that he used one summer at his holiday home in Wales. The first Land Rover prototype 'centre steer' was built on a Jeep chassis. A distinctive feature is their bodies, constructed of a lightweight rustproof proprietary alloy of aluminium and magnesium called Birmabright. This material was used owing to post war steel shortages and a plentiful supply of post-war aircraft aluminium. This metal's resistance to corrosion was one of the factors that allowed the vehicle to build up a reputation for longevity in the toughest conditions. It is reckoned that 75% of all those ever built are still in use. In fact, Land Rover drivers sometimes refer to other makes of 4x4 as "disposables". The early choice of colour was dictated by military surplus supplies of aircraft cockpit paint, so early vehicles only came in various shades of light green; all models until recently feature sturdy box section ladder-frame chassis.
The early vehicles, such as the Series I, were field-tested at Long Bennington and designed to be field-serviced; advertisements for Rovers cite vehicles driven thousands of miles on banana oil. Now with more complex service requirements this is less of an option. The British Army maintains the use of the mechanically simple 2.5 litre 4 cylinder 300TDi engined versions rather than the electronically controlled 2.5 litre 5 cylinder TD5 to retain some servicing simplicity. This engine also continued in use in some export markets using units built at a Ford plant in Brazil, where Land Rovers were built under license and the engine was also used in Ford pick-up trucks built locally. Production of the TDi engine ended here in 2006, meaning that Land Rover no longer offers it as an option. International Motors of Brazil offer an engine called the 2.8 TGV Power Torque, which is essentially a 2.8-litre version of the 300TDi, with a corresponding increase in power and torque. All power is combined with an All-Terrain Traction Control which gives active terrain response; Ferrari uses a similar system in race traction.
Since its purchase by Ford, Land Rover has been closely associated with Jaguar. In many countries they share a common sales and distribution network (including shared dealerships), and some models now share components and production facilities.
Challenge of Japanese makes
Since the 1970s, in remote areas of Africa, South America, Asia and the Australian Outback, the somewhat similar Nissan Patrol (which was the first 4x4 other than the Range Rover to adopt coil springs at the front and rear) and Mitsubishi Pajero (also known as Shogun in the UK and Montero in other markets) have overtaken the Land Rover as the utility 4x4 of choice, partly because of the better support network and reputation for reliability. In Australia at least, pricing is now actually comparable or in favour of the Land Rover, due to the shorter supply chain. Another reason seems to be the 'leadfoot' factor - the workhorse Toyota models tend to have larger engines than the comparable Land Rover models.
In Britain, the Land Rover fell from favour with the farming community with the arrival of less expensive Japanese alternatives, with Daihatsu Fourtracks, Isuzu Troopers and Mitsubishi Pajeros becoming a common sight on farms around the country, until rust eventually ended their working lives. However, with subtle improvements to the Defender in the early 1990s, and with the introduction of better, more reliable engines in the form of the TDi and the five-cylinder TD5, many farms once again have a Land Rover Defender in their drive.
- 1948: Land Rover is designed by the Wilks Brothers and is manufactured by the Rover Car Company
- 1958: Series II launched
- 1961: Series IIA began production
- 1967: Rover becomes part of Leyland Motors Ltd, later British Leyland (BL) as Rover Triumph.
- 1970: Introduction of the Range Rover
- 1971: Series III launched.
- 1975: BL collapses and is nationalised, publication of the Ryder Report recommends that Land Rover be split from Rover and be treated as a separate company within BL and becomes part of the new commercial vehicle division called the Land Rover Leyland Group
- 1976: One millionth Land Rover leaves the production line.
- 1978: Land Rover Limited formed as a separate subsidiary of British Leyland
- 1980: Rover car production ends at Solihull with the transfer of SD1 production to Cowley, Oxford; Solihull is now exclusively for Land Rover manufacture. 5-door Range Rover introduced.
- 1983: Land Rover 90 (Ninety)/110 (One-Ten)/127 (Land Rover Defender) introduced.
- 1986: BL plc becomes Rover Group plc; Project Llama started.
- 1988: Rover Group is privatised and becomes part of British Aerospace, and is now known simply as Rover.
- 1987: Range Rover is introduced to the U.S market March 16.
- 1989: Introduction of the Discovery ("Disco I" to enthusiasts)
- 1994: Rover Group is taken over by BMW. Introduction of second-generation Range Rover. (The original Range Rover was continued under the name 'Range Rover Classic' until 1995)
- 1997: Land Rover introduces the Special Edition Discovery XD with AA Yellow paint, subdued wheels, SD type roof racks, and a few other off-road upgrades directly from the factory. Produced only for the North American market, the Special Vehicles Division of Land Rover created only 250 of these bright yellow SUV's. Official formation of the Camel Trophy Owners Club by co-founders Neill Browne, Pantelis Giamarellos and Peter Sweetser.
- 1998: Introduction of the Freelander
- 1999: Introduction of the second generation of Discovery (Disco II)
- 2000: BMW breaks up the Rover Group and sells Land Rover to Ford for £1.8 billion
- 2002: Introduction of third-generation Range Rover
- 2005: Land Rover 'founder' Rover, collapses under the ownership of MG Rover Group.
- 2005: Introduction of the third-generation Discovery/LR3
- 2005: Introduction of Range Rover Sport
- 2005: Adoption of the Jaguar AJ-V8 engine to replace the BMW M62 V8 in the Range Rover
- 2006: Announcement of a new 2.4 litre diesel engine, 6 speed gearbox, dash and forward facing rear seats for Defender. Introduction of second generation of Freelander (Freelander 2). Ford acquires the Rover trademark from BMW, who previously licensed its use to MG Rover Group.
- 8 May 2007: 4,000,000th Land Rover rolls off the production line, a Discovery 3 (LR3), donated to The Born Free Foundation.
- 12 June 2007: Announcement from the Ford Motor Company that it plans to sell Land Rover and also Jaguar Cars. This effectively dissolves the Premier Automotive Group (PAG) which previously included Aston Martin, until it was sold into private ownership by Ford in March 2007; at this time Ford has made no announcement regarding Volvo Cars.
- August 2007: India's Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra as well as financial sponsors Cerberus Capital Management, TPG Capital and Apollo Management expressed their interest in purchasing Jaguar Cars and Land Rover from the Ford Motor Company.
- 26 March 2008: Ford agreed to sell their Jaguar Land Rover operations to Tata Motors.
- 2 June 2008:Tata Motors finalised their purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford.
- Series I, II and III - the original 4X4
- Defender - Updated Series line, with a move from extreme utilitarianism.
- Freelander 2 - compact crossover 4x4, the second generation of which is known as the LR2 in North America.
- Discovery 3 - full-size 4X4
- Range Rover - full-size luxury 4X4
- Range Rover Classic - the original Range Rover, produced from 1970 to 1996
- Range Rover Sport - full-size luxury 4x4
There have also been models developed for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD)
- 101 Forward Control - also known as the "Land Rover One Tonne"
- 1/2 ton Lightweight - airportable military short wheelbase from the Series 2a
- Land Rover Wolf - an uprated Military Defender
- SNATCH Land Rover - Land Rover with composite armoured body in UK Armed Forces Service
- 109 Series IIa and III ambulance (body by Marshalls of Cambridge)
- Range Rover '6x6' Fire Appliance (conversion by Carmichael and Sons of Worcester) for RAF airfield use
- 130 Defender ambulance
- 'Llama' prototypes for 101 replacement.
At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, Land Rover introduced its first concept, the Range Stormer (Gritzinger, 2004). A "green" concept known as Land e was also recently shown.
During the history of the Land Rover many different engines have been fitted.
- The inlet-over-exhaust petrol engines, in both four and six cylinder variants, which were used from the very first Land Rovers in 1948, and which had their origins in pre-war Rover cars.
- The four cylinder overhead valve engines,both petrol and diesel, which first appeared (in diesel form) in 1957, at the tail end of Series One production, and evolved over the years to the 300 TDi turbodiesel, which remains in production today for some overseas markets.
- The Buick-sourced all aluminium Rover V8 motor.
- 1997cc Petrol, inlet-over-exhaust: Series I engine, carried over for the first few months of Series II production.
- 2052cc Diesel, overhead valve: Land Rover's first diesel engine, and one of the first small high-speed diesels produced in the UK. It appeared in 1957, and was used in Series II production until 1961. Looks almost identical to the later 2286cc engine, but many internal differences. At 51 bhp it was underpowered even for the late 1950s.
- 2286cc Petrol, overhead valve, 3 bearing crank: Must be the most numerous of all Land Rover engines.
- 2286cc Diesel, overhead valve, 3 bearing crank: Appeared in 1961 alongside the redesigned 2286cc petrol engine at the start of Series IIA production, and shared its cylinder block and some other components. At 62 bhp it was a big improvement over the earlier diesel.
- 2625cc Petrol, inlet-over-exhaust: Borrowed from the Rover saloon range, in response to demands from mid-Sixties Land Rover users for more power and torque.
- 2286cc petrol/diesel, overhead valve type 11J: 5 bearing crank: In 1980, Land Rover finally did something about the crank failures which had plagued its four cylinder engines for 22 years. The new crank was so strong that Land Rover could (and did) get away with using the same crank for petrol and diesel engines. These engines lasted beyond the end of Series III production and into the first couple of years of the new Ninety and One Ten ranges.
- 3528cc V8 Petrol: The ex-Buick all alloy V8 engine appeared in the Range Rover right from the start of production in 1970, but did not make its way into the company's utility vehicles until 1979.
- 2495cc petrol, overhead valve: The final development of Land Rover's ohv petrol 'four', with hardened valve seats which allow running on unleaded (or LPG).
- 2495cc diesel, overhead valve, type 12J: Land Rover reworked the old 'two and a quarter' diesel for the Eighties. The injection pump was now driven off a toothed belt at the front of the engine (together with the camshaft) which fixed the pump timing drift problem of the older diesels, and the increase in capacity provided a bit more power. Slow but strong, simple and dependable, this engine remains popular.
- 2495cc turbodiesel, overhead valve, type 19J: Given the strength and reliability of the 2.5 diesel, Land Rover thought it would cope with turbocharging, but the engine proved to be prone to internal cracks developing in the cylinder block due to the increased pressures brought about by the turbo.
- 2495cc turbodiesel, overhead valve, 200TDi and 300TDi: The lessons learned from the 2.5TD were incorporated into the new TDi engines available in the Defender and Discovery from 1990. The cylinder block still looked familiar (although strengthened internally with an aluminium ladder frame bolted to the bearing caps) but the cylinder head was all-new and a direct injection fuel system was used. These engines have gained an reputation for power and durability.
- 2495cc turbodiesel, 5 cylinder, TD5: An all-new engine for the second generation Discovery, and this also found its way into the Defender. The TD5 features electronic control of the fuel injection system (with a control unit under the driver's seat), 'drive by wire' throttle and other refinements, all aimed at minimising exhaust emissions. Although this engine was built during BMW's ownership and is commonly mistakenly referred to as a BMW engine, it is a Landrover engine. Codenamed Storm, it was developed by Landrover, and BMW copied it to make a 4 cylinder version for their car.
- Non Land Rover engines: The weaknesses of some of the earlier engines resulted in a thriving industry fitting engines from various manufacturers to Land Rovers. Before the 200TDi, if you wanted a powerful, reliable diesel engine in your Land Rover, a conversion was the only way to go. Popular engine swaps over the years have included:
- Perkins 4.203 and 4.236 - big, slow-revving industrial engines, lots of torque but not much speed
- Ford 2.5 York diesel and 2.5Di
- Perkins Prima 2.0 turbodiesel
- Peugeot 2.3 and 2.5 diesel - slow but durable
- GM Holden 6 cylinder variants, such as 161, 186 and 202 cubic inch in Australia
- Almost every Japanese diesel between 2.0 and 3.5 litres
These days, the most popular engine swap is the 200TDi. This engine, sourced from a Defender, will bolt into any four-cylinder Ninety or One Ten with the minimum of modifications.
Since the very beginning all Series and Defender models have been used in a military capacity, in fact they are the back bone of the British Armed Forces. Often this has entailed just slightly modifying civilian models (primarily adding military "blackout" lights), but some dedicated military models have also been developed such as the 101 Forward Control and the air-portable 1/2 ton Lightweight. The Discovery has also been used in small numbers, mostly as liaison vehicles. Two models that have been designed for military use from the ground up are the 101 Forward Control from the early 1970s and the Lightweight or Airportable from the late 1960s. The latter was intended to be transported under a helicopter. The famous Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Service (RAFMRS) teams were early users in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and their convoys of landrovers and larger military trucks are a sight often seen in the mountain areas of the United Kingdom. Originally RAFMRS Land Rovers had blue bodies and bright yellow tops, to be better seen from above. In 1981, the colour scheme was changed to green with yellow stripes. More recently, vehicles have been painted white, and are issued with fittings similar to civilian UK Mountain Rescue teams. The teams have recently been threatened with replacement of their beloved Land Rovers by Toyota 4 x 4 SUV-style vehicles.
Military modifications include heavy duty suspension, uprated brakes, 24 Volt electrics, convoy lights, electronic suppression of the ignition system, blackout curtains and mounts for special equipment and small arms.Although they also lack the 'creature comforts' that would be associated with a civilian vehicle, such as sound deadening, carpets, air con, and other 'comfort' additions.
Military uses include light utility vehicle, communications platform, weapon platform for recoilless rifles, TOWs or machine guns, ambulances and workshops.
One famous adaptation of Land Rovers to military purposes is the "Pink Panther" models. Approximately 100 Series IIAs were adapted to reconnaissance use by the British special operations forces the SAS. For desert use they were often painted pink, hence the name. The vehicles were fitted with among other gear a sun compass, machine guns, larger fuel tanks and smoke dischargers. Similar adaptations were later made to Series IIIs and 90/110/Defenders.
The 75th Ranger Regiment of the United States Army also adapted twelve versions of the Land Rover that were officially designated the RSOV (Ranger Special Operations Vehicle.)
Series and Defenders have also been uparmoured. The most widespread of these is the Shorts Shorland, built by Shorts Brothers of Belfast. The first of these were delivered in 1965 to the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Northern Ireland police force. They were originally 109 inch wheelbase models with an armoured body and a turret from the Ferret armoured car. In 1990 there had been more than 1,000 produced. In the 1970s a more conventional armoured Land Rover was built for the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Wales called the Hotspur. The Land Rover Tangi was built by the Royal Ulster Constabulary's own vehicle engineering team during the 1990s. The British Army has used various armoured Land Rovers, first in Northern Ireland but also in more recent campaigns. They first added protective panels to Series General Service vehicles (the Vehicle Protection Kit (VPK)). Later they procured the Glover Webb APV and finally the Courtaulds (later NP Aerospace) Composite Armoured Vehicle, commonly known as Snatch. These were originally based on heavy duty V8 110 chassis but some have recently been re-mounted on new chassis from Otokar of Turkey and fitted with diesel engines and air-conditioning for Iraq. Although these now have more in common with the 'Wolf' (Defender XD) Land Rovers that many mistakenly confuse them with, the Snatch and the Wolf are different vehicles.
The most radical conversion of a Land Rover for military purposes was the Centaur halftrack. It was based on a Series III with a V8 engine and a shortened belt drive from the Alvis Scorpion light tank. A small number was manufactured, and they were used by Ghana, among others.
The Land Rover is used by military forces throughout the world. However, it is increasingly being supplemented, and even replaced, by larger vehicles. For instance the Pinzgauer, now built in the UK, is increasingly common in roles previously the preserve of the Land Rover Defender, such as ambulances, artillery tractors and weapons platforms. This is mainly due to the demands of modern warfare- combat vehicles today are generally required to carry much more equipment in the form of weaponry, communications equipment and armour. A 'soft' light 4x4 like the traditional Land Rover simply does not have the load capacity or strength of a larger medium-duty vehicle like the Pinzgauer. Even the current generation of Land Rover used by the British Army, the Wolf, have upgraded and strengthened chassis and suspension compared to civilian-spec vehicles.
The use of Land Rovers by the British and Commonwealth military, as well as on long term civilian projects and expeditions, is mainly due to the superior off-road performance of the marque. For example, the short wheelbase version of the Land Rover Defender is capable of tackling a gradient of 45 degrees, an approach angle of up to 50 degrees, a departure angle of 53 degrees and a ramp break-over of up to 155 degrees - greatly superior not just to urban 4x4s but to military vehicles such as the HMMWV and Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle. A distinctive feature of all Land Rover products has been their exceptional axle articulation (the degree to which the wheels have vertical travel, with high amounts allowing them to maintain contact (and traction) with the ground over uneven surfaces), which is currently 7 inches (178mm) at the front axle and 8.25 inches (210mm) at the rear on basic Defender models. Despite the development of more car-like, road-orientated vehicles over years, Land Rover continues to make all its vehicles fully off-road capable- even the Range Rover, which in its current guise competes with luxury saloons is equipped with a two-speed transfer box and long-travel suspension, as well as an array of electronic aids such as Land Rover's 'Terrain Response' system and traction control. The drivetrain and structure is capable of sustained heavy off-roading in all conditions as well as a towing loads of up to 4 tons.
Right from the start in 1948, PTOs (Power take-offs) were integral to the Land Rover concept, enabling farm machinery and many other items to be run with the vehicle stationary. Maurice Wilks was very clear about this, and his original instruction was "...to have power take-offs everywhere!" The 1949 report by the British National Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Scottish Machinery Testing Station described it thus:
"The power take-off is driven through a Hardy-Spicer propeller shaft from the main gearbox output and two interchangeable pinions giving two ratios. The PTO gearbox casing is bolted to the rear chassis cross-member and an 8 in x 8 in belt pulley driven from the PTO shaft through two bevel gears can be bolted to the PTO gearbox casing."
PTOs remained regular options on Series I, II and III Land Rovers up to the demise of the Series Land Rover in 1985. It is still possible to order an agricultural PTO on a Defender as a special order.
One of the other capabilities of the utility Land Rover (the Series/Defender models) is that they are available in a huge variety of body styles, ranging from a simple canvas-topped pick-up truck to a 12-seat fully trimmed Station Wagon. Both Land Rover and out-of-house contractors have offered a huge range of conversions and adaptations to the basic vehicle, such as fire engines, excavators, 'cherry picker' hydraulic platforms, ambulances, snowploughs, and 6-wheel drive versions, as well as one-off special builds including amphibious Land Rovers and vehicles fitted with tracks instead of wheels.
Land Rover Experience is the company's busy driver training wing. Established in 1998, Land Rover Experience consists of a network of centres throughout the world, setup to help customers get the most out of their vehicle's on and off-road capability. The flagship centre is based in Eastnor, Herefordshire in the UK, which has long been used as an engineering test and development facility. Courses offered include off-road driving, winching, and trailer handling, along with a variety of corporate and individual 'Adventure Days'. Land Rover Experience.
Road accident statistics on a model-by-model basis from the UK Department of Transport show that the Land Rover Defender and Land Rover Discovery are the safest cars on British roads (measured in terms of chance of death in two car injury accidents) - between three times safer than the safest Volvo models, twice as safe (half the death-rate per two vehicles injury accident) compared with the Jeep Cherokee and Toyota Land Cruiser and only matched by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Jaguar XJ.
In the past, Land Rover has shown reliability and build quality problems, and this is reflected in its showing in various industry and consumer quality and dependability related surveys, as detailed below:
- Land Rover marque ranked last on the US J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Survey for 2005 (published 8 July 2005) (Kia second last). This is the fourth year that it has been in the last or second to last place in the survey. This study was based on responses from more than 55,000 US based original owners of 2000 model year cars and light trucks at three years of ownership.
In 2004, it narrowly dethroned Kia, as the least reliable nameplate, but swapped places in 2005. (Kia last, Land Rover 2nd last).
- Tied for last (with Hummer and Porsche) in the 2006 Consumer Reports (US) car reliability survey. It was only one of 6 makes that did not have a model whose reliability was "Good" or above (joined by Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Jaguar); its highest-rating car was the LR3, which got a rating of "Poor". In addition, 56 percent of people who owned a 2003 Range Rover reported problems, as did 61 percent of 2002 Freelander owners--both the highest among all cars for that model year.
- Ranked second-to-last in the 2007 Consumer Reports (US) car reliability survey. (Mercedes-Benz took the bottom place.) In the same survey, the LR3/Discovery with a V8 engine was ranked the second least reliable SUV in the midsized category. (The 2006 model year M-class of Mercedes-Benz took the last place in that category.)
- It also was ranked as one of the 3 least reliable over the last 10 years in 2007.
- Land Rover Discovery 6th-from-the-bottom of 100 models for reliability in an Auto Express 2002 survey in the UK.
- Joint 16th-from-the-bottom in 144 car 2002 J.D. Power's What Car? (UK) magazine customer satisfaction survey.
- Land Rover had joint highest average cost in warranty claims for cars up to 10 years old in 2002 UK Warranty Direct index – (based on full-maintenance leasing claims).
- Land Rover Discovery was joint second-to-last in 2002 Which? (UK) magazine reliability survey of cars up to 2 years old – however, only 35 Land Rovers were in the sample.
- Land Rover was 3rd least-reliable of 31 makes of car in 2002 Which? (UK) magazine reliability survey of 2000-2002 model-year cars.
- Least-reliable of 32 makes built 1997-1999. Spate of engine power, gearbox and exploding clutch problems (which Land Rover reportedly has refused to repair under warranty).
- 89% of Land Rovers were reported breakdown-free in 2003 Which? (UK) magazine's J.D. Power survey.
Beginning with the Discovery Series III (LR3 in the US) model, the replacement power plants for the new model is a 4.4L V8 engine developed by Jaguar and a 4.0L v6 developed by Ford (Jaguar was part of the Premier Automotive Group (PAG) at Ford Motor Company).
Some of the service problems in US specification Land Rover Defender and Discovery models are related to the Rover V8 petrol engine, as Land Rover increased the displacement and otherwise modernized the engine, which was originally designed in the late 1950s by General Motors for Buick. The same engine has powered a variety of other British cars, including the Rover 3500 and Triumph TR8.
Most European, South African and Australian specification Defenders and Discovery models are now equipped with the TD5 diesel engine and reliability has still proven a problem as detailed in the surveys above. Part of the problem is also caused by the manufacturing methods used. The Defender is still largely hand-built, with aluminium body panels mounted on a steel chassis. This makes it very hard for the vehicle to have the same rigidity and inter-panel sealing as is found on modern vehicle. The 1980s saw numerous cut-backs to the utility Land Rover line (at that time, the Ninety/One Ten range), which included the replacement of the galvanised metal body cappings (as used since 1948) with simple painted items. This led to rapid corrosion of these parts. Similar economy measures were put in place. Recently increased investment under Ford has seen the return of the galvanised cappings, and design changes to reduce corrosion (such as the introduction of a one-piece rear door on Station Wagon and Hard Top models, which previously had doors made from panels over a steel frame).
Despite the recent drops in quality, it is rumoured that 75% of all Land Rovers produced since 1955 are still on the road. This figure may be misleading, due to the wider range of vehicles and much higher production of recent years. The simplicity of build and cross compatibility of parts with many earlier models, together with the enthusiasm of many owners, has ensured many vehicles have stayed on the road. The longevity of individual vehicles may also tend to hide any improvements in production quality as assembly faults, once fixed, may stay fixed, and so may only matter to the first buyer. Enthusiasts of the marque and commercial users often point out that the mechanical components of the vehicles are very tough and reliable- it is the 'non-essential' areas such as interior fit/finish, weather sealing and ancillary electrics that fail. Another point often made is that other manufacturers not only produce models with assembly faults which are recalled, but do not tend to remain as reliable as Land Rover products in the long run. It is also true that a much larger proportion of early Land Rover Discovery, the first vehicle to be produced in very high numbers, remain in everyday use than can be said of rival manufacturers. All Land Rovers are crash tested.
Land Rovers, particularly the commercial and military models, became ubiquitous throughout rural areas and in the developing World. "The Antichrist," the Land Rover featured in the South African film The Gods Must Be Crazy, illustrates the love-hate relationship many owners feel with the earlier Series 1, 2 and 3 vehicles. The 1960s TV series Daktari featured a Land Rover which was the subject of Corgi models that still frequent eBay listings. Many other films feature prominent roles for Land Rovers, including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Ace Ventura, Hotel Rwanda and the Bond films The Living Daylights, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Mission: Impossible III features a Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged. In the comedy film Anger Management Jack Nicholson's character drives a Range Rover classic. One of the not-so-subtle drug lords in the British crime movie Layer Cake is noted for driving a yellow Range Rover. An anachronism occurs in Ice-Cold in Alex, which features a Land Rover though the film is set during World War II. Fox's television show The O.C. featured an affluent family driving a Range Rover. The 2006 film The Queen depicts Queen Elizabeth II manoeuvring a forest green Land Rover through the Scottish countryside and when the vehicle's propshaft breaks while crossing a river, the scene demonstrates the Queen's practical ability: "I was a mechanic during the war".
A Series Land Rover is amongst the vehicles used in the film The Italian Job in which it drives through winding backstreets and courtyards of Turin. It is the most modern looking vehicle in the film due to its unchanging looks. The Range Rover Classic was also featured in the 2000 Guy Ritchie gangster movie Snatch.
Land Rovers have competed in the Paris Dakar Rally and won the Macmillan 4x4 UK Challenge almost every year, as well as having been the vehicle used for the Camel Trophy and more recently in the Odyssey Driving Around the World expedition series as part of a sponsorship deal. Now, Land Rover has its own G4 challenge .
The Land Rover brand is mentioned almost daily in the UK on BBC Radio 2 in the on-air banter between morning travel reporter Lynn Bowles and co-hosts Sarah Kennedy, Terry Wogan and Ken Bruce. Lynn learnt to drive in a Land Rover and is fast becoming a mascot for the marque after competing in the 2004 run of the Macmillan 4x4 UK Challenge and co-presenting the Heritage Motor Centre Land Rover show every year since 2005.
When a new paint colour called 'Stornoway Grey', a replacement of Bonatti Grey, was introduced to Land Rover vehicles, Western Isles councillor Angus Nicolson demanded the name to be changed to Silvery Stornoway because he claimed the colour will damage the town's image among tourists and leave people with the impression that Stornoway was drab and dull. Land Rover representative responded that the use of Stornoway Grey will help keep it on the map, as grey is an extremely popular colour for the vehicle.
Upon completion of the Trans Canada Highway in Newfoundland in 1965, the first vehicle to cross the island was a 1958 Land Rover. It was driven by the then-Premier of the province - Joseph Smallwood. The restored Rover did the trek again and was driven into St. John's in 2000 by Premier Brian Tobin and now resides with the Newfoundland Antique and Classic Car Club. See more information here: nlclassics.com/node/33
The brand has been elevated to a cult status amongst Land Rover enthusiasts. Nowhere is this more evident than the Land Rover club environment.
Hundreds of Land Rover clubs have formed throughout the UK and internationally. Land Rover clubs break down into a number of groups of varying interests.
Single Marque Clubs - As the title suggests these clubs bring together owners of a specific model or series of vehicle such as the Series One Club or the Discovery Owners Club . Clubs based around ownership of earlier series vehicles tend to attract the purists amongst Land Rover owners whose interests often relate to restoration of their vehicles to their original condition.
Special Vehicle Clubs - At various times Land Rover have produced vehicles for specific events or on a specific theme, most notable are the Camel Trophy and G4 Challenge vehicles which have been sold on to the general public, and a range of Defenders that were loosely based on the custom vehicles produced for the omb TRaider motion picture.
Regional Clubs - These break down into two groups, competitive and non-competitive clubs.
Non-competitive clubs activities generally relate to social events, off road driving or Green Laning on un-surfaced public highways or 'pay and play' days at off road centres.
Competitive clubs are a phenomenon almost exclusively found within the UK, who as well as the non-competitive activities detailed above run competitive events such as Tyro, Road Taxed Vehicle (RTV) and Cross Country Vehicle (CCV) trials, winch and recovery challenges or speed events such as Competitive Safari's. All UK competitive events are run within the framework of rules created by the Motor Sports Association (MSA) with further vehicle specific rules applied by the host club or association.
A number of clubs are affiliated to the Association of Land Rover Clubs (ALRC) formerly known as the Association of Rover Clubs (ARC) the association applies its own vehicle regulations to all of its member clubs who have the opportunity to compete together at regional events and an annual national event with vehicles approved to the same standard.
Club Licensing - In 2005 under Ford ownership the Land Rover company became more interested in the club environment. An internal club was formed, The Land Rover Club a club exclusive to employees of the Ford Premier Automotive Group (Now exclusive to the new 'Jaguar - Land Rover' group since the brand moved away from the Ford stable). Also, an agreement was generated to allow other clubs to use the Land Rover green oval logo under licence. In 2006 the Bedfordshire, Hertfortshire and Cambridgeshire club were the pilot licensees for the new agreement, who now benefit from a reciprocal arrangement where their own logo is trade marked and owned by Land Rover and they can refer to themselves as a 'Land Rover Approved Club'.
In 1995 Land Rover endorsed the production of a hand-made bicycle using its logo. The bicycle was called the Land Rover APB and was manufactured by Pashley Cycles, of Stratford-upon-Avon, being the collapsible version of their Moulton designed APB (All Purpose Bicycle) model with leading link front suspension with adjustable damping and stroke. It was available in Golden Yellow with Green lettering or British Racing Green with yellow lettering colour scheme. Two more models immediately followed the Land Rover XCB V-20 and was aimed primarily at younger riders (children) and the Land Rover XCB D-26, also available as the M26 being one of the first bicycles offered with hydraulic rim brakes, front suspension and suspension seat pillar.
In June 2004 Land Rover released a comprehensive 25 model range of bicycles to complement the automotive range. The three main ranges are the 'Defender' the 'Discovery' and the 'Freelander'. Each range has its different attributes. The 'Discovery' is an all-rounder bicycle and is suited to a mixture of different terrains. The 'Defender' range is most suited to rugged terrain and off road pursuits, whereas the 'Freelander' Is designed for an urban lifestyle. All bikes are made from lightweight aluminium and cost from £200-£900.