The HSE Luxury spec vehicle, finished in Kaikoura Stone, was ceremoniously handed over today to the Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic, Stephen Attenborough. As part of Land Rover’s partnership with the commercial spaceline, the vehicle is destined for New Mexico where it will become part of daily life for the Virgin Galactic team at its operations base.
In preparation for production of the Discovery Sport, Jaguar Land Rover has invested £200 million in tooling for its Halewood factory, splashing out on a new AIDA servo press for making aluminium body panels bigger and faster than before. In time, the technology will be used to make other Land Rovers vehicles – the Discovery Sport will be the first of many.
In addition to beefing up its tooling, Land Rover has created 250 new jobs and awarded £3.5 billion of contracts to 55 suppliers, in order to support production of the new Discovery Sport. ‘With many more new products in the pipeline, gearing up to supply Jaguar Land Rover is a solid business proposition,’ said Ian Harnett, Jaguar Land Rover’s Purchasing Director. One of those ‘new products’ will be a replacement for the full-size Discovery, resembling the Discovery Vision Concept that was revealed in April.
The Discovery Sport goes on sale in January 2015, filling the vacuum in Land Rover’s model range left by the Freelander 2, which ceased production at Halewood two weeks ago today. The final Freelander was an Aintree Green Metropolis spec example that left the Halewood factory to a low-key internal celebratory send-off, and will be displayed at the Heritage Motor Centre museum in Gaydon. Parts of the Freelander 2 production line are already being disassembled, although CKD kits for assembly in India will continue to be built for the foreseeable future.
LRO's Editor Mike Goodbun was in the heart of the action today at Halewood. Grab your shades and watch his video below...