Range Rover turns 40 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Since the mid-90s, the the luxury SUV segment has become an increasingly crowded field with almost every brand trying to get a piece of the pie (and in many cases several slices of various sizes). Way back in 1970, though, there was only one. Forty years ago this month the very first Range Rover rolled out of a UK factory and its continued rolling ever since.

Unlike the Jeeps, International Scouts and Land Cruisers of the day, the Range Rover managed to combine the luxury amenities and on-the-road ride qualities of a Jaguar with the rock crawling prowess of those other brands. Range Rover built such a reputation that at one time Jaguar even considered building its own competitor. Fortunately, Land Rover came into the Ford family before that happened and now both brands have passed into Indian hands. The realities of the modern world mean that future Range Rovers will undoubtedly change, getting lighter and perhaps adopting hybrid technology. For now at least, the badge still represents the epitome of British luxury blended with jungle crawling capability.


Related GalleryRange Rover at 40

[Source: Land Rover]
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ICONIC RANGE ROVER TURNS 40

MAHWAH, N.J., June 1, 2010 – The Range Rover, one of the most significant vehicles in the history of motoring, will celebrate its
40th birthday on June 17, 2010. It was the world's first vehicle as good on-road as off-road. The Range Rover was the first fully capable luxury 4x4 and was a milestone in the development of the SUV.

There have been three generations of Range Rover. The original, now known as the Classic, went on sale in 1970 and continued in production, with numerous upgrades and a multiplicity of variants, for just over 25 years.

The second-generation vehicle went on sale in 1994 and was replaced in 2001 by the current model. The continuing success of the Range Rover ensured that other premium makers jumped into the booming luxury SUV market. The latest version has enjoyed higher annual sales than any previous models and continues to be popular around the world. Sold around the world, from London to Los Angeles, Sydney to Shanghai, Turin to Tokyo, the Range Rover remains the ultimate choice for the luxury SUV customer.

"The Range Rover is really four vehicles in one," says managing director Phil Popham. "It's a seven-days-a-week luxury motor car, a leisure vehicle that will range far and wide on the highways and off-road trails of the world, a high performance car for long distance travel, and a working cross-country vehicle."

From princes to politicians, from rock gods to rock climbers, from footballers to farmers, the Range Rover has always appealed to a diverse group of customers.

A second model line, the Range Rover Sport, was launched in 2005, aimed at more sports-oriented driver-focused customers. It has been a great success, and in 2007 was Land Rover's biggest selling vehicle worldwide.

Later this year, a further member of the Range Rover family will be added, taking the portfolio to three model lines. The new vehicle will be smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient, tying in perfectly with the Range Rover brand's commitment to environmental sustainability. Yet it will be no less premium, no less luxurious, and no less special than the other
Range Rover models.