They built the same car for 22 years, but things are a little different now
2 mins read
26 March 2008

It took Land Rover 22 years to build anything other than the original Land Rover, but it was the Range Rover that set the company up to become what it is today.Until 1970 Land Rover sold leaf sprung utility vehicles, as Land Rover would claim, in every country on the planet except Albania and North Vietnam. Cheap and easy to make, they were (and still are) profitable with a huge guaranteed market in the military. But the British Leyland quality crisis of the '70s began the terminal damage to the Land Rover's reputation as a vehicle to depend upon in tricky conditions, and as the Toyota Land Cruiser assumed dominance in Africa and Australia in the late '70s, sales declined. The Range Rover came at exactly the right time, and made a lot of money for Land Rover especially the higher profit high-spec models. Most of Land Rover's vehicles have been very profitable even the shortlived second-generation Range Rover made good money and the company has survived some difficult times, most noticeably the management chaos of the post-BL era and the oil crisis which knocked sales hard.Now Land Rover makes five models and is developing two more, the production LRX and a seven-seater based on the Freelander but with a different body.Performance has been good. It's made a profit for the last three years, and although Ford won't disclose figures for each of its companies, it's reckoned to have made around £1.2bn in 2007 on the back of ever increasing sales - up 18 per cent to 226,000. The Range Rover Sport has been a huge success, especially in the US, Tata has bought a healthy and successful company, but one that will face difficulties selling its all-SUV range in our environmentally conscious times.

Dan Stevens

Tata buys Jaguar and Land RoverHistory of TataJaguar: the futureLand Rover: the futureJaguar: promise unfulfilledGeneva Show interview with Ratan TataGo to Chas Hallett's JLR blog

Add a comment…