The achievement was reached just the other day at the JLR assembly plant at Solihull near Birmingham, England, expedited as it was by a 20 percent workforce expansion over the last six months to keep up with demand for the 45,000 units sold across 170 markets in the last year alone. But rather than consigning the capable luxury SUV straight to the museum or selling it to an waiting customer, Land Rover has more philanthropic plans in mind for the landmark vehicle.
To mark the occasion, Land Rover is embarking on an 8,000-mile expedition across thirteen countries over 50 days, starting in Birmingham and ending in Beijing. The epic transcontinental road trip – being undertaken in the very same millionth Discovery built – is earmarked to raise £1 million ($1.95M) for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the most ambitious fundraising project the British automaker has ever undertaken. Follow the jump for the full press release.
LAND ROVER LAUNCHES 'JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY'
- The 1,000,000th Land Rover Discovery has been produced at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull manufacturing plant in the UK West Midlands
- Land Rover to showcase the Discovery's unique versatility and breadth of capability by embarking on a expedition from its birthplace in Birmingham, UK to one of its fastest growing markets Beijing in China
- 8.000 miles, 13 countries in 50 days – a team of four Land Rover Experience experts tackle all weather, all terrain in the one millionth Discovery
- Expedition aims to raise £1million for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Land Rover's most ambitious fundraising project ever (www.landrover.com/million)
- A significant milestone for the UK car industry, with Discovery's global sales up by 16% year on year, with 83% of production being exported overseas
- Solihull plant workforce increased by 20% rising to 6,000 in last six months to meet growing global market demand for Land Rover products
- The Journey of Discovery launched with help from a number of renowned experienced explorers who have all used the Land Rover Discovery in their adventures – including Bear Grylls, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Ray Mears, Monty Halls and Polar explorer Ben Saunders
Solihull, UK, 29 February 2012 – The 1,000,000th Land Rover Discovery has been made at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull Manufacturing Plant near Birmingham in the UK.
To celebrate this milestone and demonstrate the Discovery's class defining versatility and all-round capability, the 1,000,000th vehicle will now start a 'Journey of Discovery' from its birthplace in Birmingham to Beijing in China – one of Land Rover's fastest growing markets.
The 50-day, 8,000 mile adventure will be undertaken by three Land Rover Discovery vehicles travelling through more than a dozen countries across Europe and Central Asia, culminating at the Beijing motor show on 23 April.
The expedition also presents Land Rover with the opportunity to launch its most ambitious fund-raising project yet by aiming to raise £1million (GBP) for the company's Global Humanitarian Partner, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The money will be used to support a much needed water sanitation project in Uganda.
The Land Rover Discovery
Production of the 1,000,000th Land Rover Discovery comes 23 years after Land Rover introduced its original model. Since it first came to market as a third model to sit between the luxurious Range Rover and the rugged Defender, it has carved its own market segment and become an international success story.
Discovery has picked up more than 200 awards around the world and last year saw record sales of almost 45,000 units across 170 worldwide markets. It also stands as an excellent example of UK design, engineering and manufacturing, with 83 per cent of production being exported from its West Midlands manufacturing base.
The Land Rover Discovery is one of the world's most practical vehicles – it can seat seven passengers, has a load space volume of up to 2,500 litres and is packed with technology including Land Rover's award-winning Terrain Response System, which adapts the vehicle to respond to differing terrains and driving conditions including snow and sand.
The success of the Discovery alongside other Land Rover models has helped to create a positive momentum at the company's Solihull operations. The facility now employs around 6,000 people following a recruitment drive launch six month ago, boosting the workforce by 20% to support its expansion plans.
Alan Volkaerts, Operations Director, Solihull Operations said: "Many people are involved in the production of the Discovery, and many have been here for the whole journey, from car number one to car number one million. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every one of them. They have done a brilliant job, and have displayed great dedication and service. These are the men and women who have made the Discovery the success story it is today.
I am very pleased to tell you that their numbers are also growing. The success of the Discovery, and of Jaguar Land Rover, means that we are coming to the final stages of a major recruitment drive to fill more than 1,000 new positions here at Solihull, as Jaguar Land Rover embarks on its most ambitious growth plan for many years."
The 'Journey of Discovery' began today at a special event for employees at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull manufacturing facility, where the Discovery is built. The vehicle was bid farewell by a reception that included some famous explorers and adventurers. All of whom have put their faith in the Discovery in some of the world's most challenging environments. Those who attended included Bear Grylls, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Ray Mears, Monty Halls and Polar explorer Ben Saunders.
The challenge follows in the tyre tracks of 'The First Overland Expedition' of 1955, in which a team in Series 1 Land Rovers set out from Birmingham to Beijing. That expedition had to divert to Singapore, but in the spirit of the original challenge the Discovery will be crossing many of Land Rover's major markets including the UK, Russia and China.
Phil Popham, Group Sales Operations Director, Jaguar Land Rover said: "Discovery is an extraordinary vehicle and it deserves to be unleashed on an extraordinary journey. There is no better vehicle to tackle all weather, all terrain than the Discovery 4. This gruelling expedition will be visiting 13 countries and covering 8,000 miles, and it's a fitting initiative to celebrate the one millionth vehicle."
The £1million fundraising challenge
With a £1million target, the 'Journey of Discovery' is Land Rover's most ambitious fundraising project to date. It will support IFRC and their water sanitation project in Uganda. This is in addition to the three-year global initiative "Reaching Vulnerable People Around the World". This initiative, launched in 2010, provides additional support for IFRC programmes in over 15 countries worldwide.
Mark Cameron, Land Rover Global Brand Extension Director said: "Land Rover is delighted to launch the One Million Pound fundraiser in aid of the IFRC – an organisation we have had a relationship with since 1954. The funds will be used directly by the IFRC, over a three-year period and will be donated to a water sanitation project in Uganda, with over 45,000 beneficiaries."
Bekele Geleta, Secretary-General of the IFRC said: "Lack of safe water is the most common and preventable underlying cause of disease in the world today and Uganda is one of the countries worst affected. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are working in Uganda to provide safe water and sanitation, reaching 90,000 in the last four years. This joint initiative between the IFRC and Land Rover aims to reach an additional 45,000 people in Uganda."
We are aiming to raise £1,000,000 for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' water and sanitation project in Uganda. For more information please visit www.landrover.com/million