This vehicle will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show Press Day on 23 September when product details will be made available.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 22 September 2004
Land Rover has won two major awards for 2004 from What MPV and 4x4? magazine, with the all-new Discovery 3 taking the 4x4 of the Year accolade, and the company as a whole winning the 4x4 Manufacturer of the Year award.
Chosen as the best vehicle in its category, ahead of the BMW X3 and the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Discovery 3 was described as having "superb refinement, comfort, driveability and MPV-style seven-seat practicality." It was also said by the magazine to be "a champion off-roader, whoever is behind the wheel - thanks to the new 4x4 control system, Terrain Response."
What MPV and 4x4? magazine editor, Bob Murray, said: "Let there be no doubt: Land Rover’s expertise along with the most thorough testing programme in the company’s history have resulted in a world-beater, and the deserving first recipient of 4x4 of the year."
Commenting on the inaugural 4x4 manufacturer of the year title, Land Rover UK managing director, Phil Popham, said: "We are very proud of these awards and the recognition they represent of Land Rover’s new breed of products. The Discovery 3 is already proving itself as a very attractive and capable product to critics and customers alike, with 2004 looking like a sell-out for the new vehicle in the UK."
The all-new Discovery 3 goes on sale from 1 November 2004 at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, priced from £26,995 to £46,995, and October's 2004 awards issue of What MPV and 4x4? is on sale now.
Gaydon, Warwickshire The organisers of the British leg of the World Rally Championships (WRC), which kicks off this weekend (16-19 September), have chosen Land Rover vehicles to fulfil critical roles in ensuring the successful and safe running of the event.
Rally-prepared Freelanders and Land Rover-based Bowler Wildcat off-road race cars will be used as safety cars, running the stages at near race speeds before and after the rally cars to ensure competitor and spectator safety, whilst Range Rovers with the latest on and off-road navigation technology will be used by senior FIA officials.
The Freelanders are equipped with 2.5 litre, 24 valve, V6 petrol engines boasting 177bhp and 240Nm of torque, as on the standard models, with only modified MacPherson suspension struts (front and rear) and safety features such as a welded safety roll-cage to distinguish them from showroom vehicles.
During a trial session at Land Rover’s proving ground in Gaydon, Warwickshire, ex-Scottish rally champion, David Gillanders said: "These are the most capable Freelanders in the world. They can take everything thrown at them, and more, making them ideal zero cars."
FIA officials at Rally GB will also find that they are able to tackle the terrain with ease, as they will be travelling in Range Rovers with significantly enhanced communications technology for 2005, which are due to appear at the Paris Motor Show later on this month. These vehicles come equipped with added off-road technologies such as a 4x4 information screen located on the touch-screen driver interface, which brings useful off-road information to the driver’s fingertips, including compass navigation ‘way marking’, where off-road routes taken are recorded on-screen, enabling easy navigation back to base.
Bowler Wildcat vehicles, which are purpose built race-cars designed to compete in top level off-road racing events such as the Paris to Dakar Rally, and which are based on the Land Rover Defender and Discovery models, will also participate as safety cars in the Welsh Rally GB.
While the market for new 4x4 cars continues to rise across the UK, latest regional figures from SMMT reveal that in London sales are lower than the national average. From January to August 5.9 per cent of new cars sold in London were 4x4 off-road vehicles compared to a national average of 6.8 per cent.
Across the UK, the 4x4 market has risen by 13.4 per cent so far this year, up from 98,630 to 111,846 units. However, in the capital total 4x4 sales have risen less steeply, up 12.7 per cent from 5,616 to 6,331 units. Total London new car registrations from January to August number 106,664 units.
Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive commented, 'The idea that one in two new cars sold in London is a 4x4 is nothing but a myth. The reality is that the proportion is actually slightly lower than the national average.
'This is just one of the unhelpful stereotypes that are being used to berate drivers of this type of vehicle. Now we have revealed the facts about sales, perhaps we could start to have a more constructive dialogue about the kind of benefits that this type of vehicle offers new car buyers. I have invited the Mayor of London to talk to me about this but, to date, he has not been able to find time in his schedule.'
On reports that 4x4s are suffering an image problem Christopher Macgowan added, 'Once again the facts paint a very different picture. The market is robust, and manufacturers are bringing a host of exciting new models to showrooms. In some cases eager buyers are prepared to wait months for the most popular new cars.'
Britain’s Land Rover has successfully advanced its manufacturing processes in Solihull, England and now has some of the most advanced design, engineering and manufacturing facilities in the world. The infrastructure will support the all-new LR3, as well as other future Land Rover products later this decade.
Since acquired by Ford Motor Company four years ago, the Solihull manufacturing and Gaydon design and engineering sites in the UK have been extensively overhauled. A massive capital expenditure has modernized some buildings that pre-date WWII, as well as erecting new assembly halls and infrastructure to enable the company to build advanced new models of their legendary four-wheel drive vehicles.
The Range Rover, launched in 2002, was the first of five all-new Land Rovers that will be unveiled over a six-year period. It was the result of more than a $1.4 billion investment at end of the 90's, and established a benchmark vehicle for the industry.
This fall, the all-new, premium mid-sized LR3, based on an entirely new platform, will go on sale. It is the first model to be completely developed under Ford ownership. Extensive use of computer assisted design and engineering was used in the development stages of this vehicle.
"The new LR3 is modern, premium quality, technologically cutting edge, and a huge step ahead for the Land Rover brand," said Matthew Taylor, Land Rover managing director. "It is the first production vehicle to get Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response™ system, and we will continue to progress in the same direction for the development of future Land Rover products."
Terrain Response™ is a new electronically control system designed to allow the driver control by optimizing drivability and comfort, while maximizing traction. This breakthrough technology, along with touch-screen, voice-activated navigation, adaptive headlamps, intelligent shift transmission and a four-wheel drive information system, make LR3 ripe with relevant,
user-friendly and purposeful technology.
While LR3 is a world-class four-wheel drive vehicle bristling with new technology and designed through unprecedented use of computer simulation, it is still a Land Rover and must be able to meet very stringent real-world challenges. Accordingly, it underwent thousands of hours and more than a million miles of real-time human testing - from Australia to the Arctic, Dubai to Denver, a blend of modern engineering and field proofing required to certify its Land Rover credentials.
To better meet the power, economy and emissions demands of the marketplace, Land Rover has retired the 4.6-liter aluminum OHV V8 it has used in various displacements since it first appeared in the 1970 Range Rover. The LR3 will be powered by a 4.4 liter, 300hp light alloy, DOHC V8 engine derived from a Jaguar design and built on a new production line at Ford’s Bridgend plant in South Wales. The new line is the result of a further $425 million investment that was initially announced in 2001. By the end of the decade, it’s expected that Bridgend will be producing one million engines a year for various products.
"This is an example of the Premier Automotive Group sharing expertise across different parts of the organization, without compromising any of its brands," said Joe Greenwell, chairman and chief executive officer of Jaguar and Land Rover. "The new production line features the first moving assembly line section to be installed in any European Ford engine plant, allowing workers to move with the engine resulting in increased efficiency."
ADVANCED BODY ENGINEERING
Another innovation developed by Land Rover for the LR3 is the Integrated Body-frame™. A stiff but lightweight frame is constructed using hydroformed side-members, which are mated to a corrosion-resistant body structure that incorporates Boron steel, aluminum and magnesium.
This new type of vehicle architecture combines the torsional rigidity, car-like handling and refinement of a monocoque (or unitary) body with the strength and versatility of a traditional ladder-frame as used on many SUVs. Hydroforming uses high-pressure fluids rather than a press tool to shape the frame resulting in lighter weight, more intricate design options and much tighter tolerances.
In addition, hydroforming gives engineers and designers much more flexibility to change designs and produce several body styles from the same tools. This technology had rarely been used so ambitiously in vehicle design.
"The high levels of investment and modern designs are paying off," said Greenwell. "Land Rover’s sustained growth across the world reflects the ongoing technical and exterior enhancements to our products. The bottom line is that the premium SUV market is one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the US. We are firmly committed to successfully implement key Ford quality processes, flawlessly execute all of our launches and continue the improvement in total quality," he added.
Land Rover designs, engineers and builds three models for the North American market – Range Rover, LR3, and Freelander. The U.S. is the largest export market for Land Rover products with sales approaching 40,000 units annually sold through some 160 dealers. Worldwide, Land Rover has a presence in some 142 markets and will sell about 160,000 vehicles in 2004.