The original Land Rover vehicle began in 1947. Maurice Wilks, who was the chief designer at the Rover Company, created the design for the first Land Rover with his brother Spencer at his farm in Newborough, Anglesey, England. Maurice and his brother built the first vehicles on surplus Willys Jeep suspension, drive train and frames. Much of the body was aluminum, a material familar to Maurice who had a background as an aeronautical engineer. All the vehicles were painted in a light green shade because the only paint available was military surplus too.
A limited production run
Originally, Land Rovers were designed to be produced for only three years. The project was a limited venture meant to gather some cash flow for the Rover Company to invest in other projects. Once the Land Rover series began, however, the demand was so strong that the continued making the vehicles.
Acquired by British Leyland
TIn 1967, the Rover Company eventually became a part of the British Leyland Motor Corporation. By 1976, they had produced their one-millionth vehicle. The success of the Range Rover models during the 1970s caused the company to separate Land Rover as its own entity in 1978. According to Land Rover of South Dade, FL it wasn’t until 1987 that the Range Rover was introduced to the United States, even though there had been many demands made before.
In 1994, BMW purchased the Rover Group but sold it to Ford in 2006. The rumored price for the company was just $8 million USD. By 2007, Ford planned to sell their Jaguar car line and Land Rover brand. Numerous companies expressed an interest including Alchemy Partners of the UK, Ripplewood Holdings, TPG Capital, and Tata Motors.
In 2008, Ford sold both the Land Rover and Jaguar operations to Tata Motors, based out of India. The purchase cost the company about $2.2 billion. As part of the deal, Tata Motors acquired not only Jaguar and Land Rover Limited and also the rights to three other brands from Britain: Rover, Daimler marque, and Lanchester.
Combining the two brands
By 2013, Land Rover and Jaguar Cars had previously been operating as separate companies. The restructured and became the Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC. Now, Jaguar Land Rover Limited is responsible for all the marketing, manufacturing, and design of both Land Rover and Jaguar automobiles.
Today, Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer and is built around two iconic British car brands. In 2018 Jaguar Land Rover sold 592,708 vehicles in 128 countries.
Jaguar Land Rover supports around 260,000 people through their retailer network, suppliers and local businesses. Even as owned by Tata, a heart Jaguar Land Rover is a British company, with two major design and engineering sites, three vehicle manufacturing facilities and an engine manufacturing centre in the UK.