To produce the new Discovery Sport, Land Rover has invested over $250 million in its Halewood plant (where it also produces the Evoque), added 250 new jobs and awarded some $4.5 billion in contracts to 55 suppliers. Billed as "the world's most versatile and capable compact SUV," the seven-seat Discovery Sport replaces the LR2/Freelander and opens up a new range of models to include a new Discovery as well as an anticipated third model.
This first Discovery Sport was being handed over to Virgin Galactic, "the world's first commercial spaceline" with which Land Rover has partnered. The vehicle will be used to support the company's activities in the UK as it prepares to send the first paying customers into space. The Discovery Sport is scheduled to make its US debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month before it joins Land Rover's North American lineup.
• First production car built in Halewood, UK, to be given to global partner Virgin Galactic to support operations base
• The latest model in the Land Rover line-up has created 250 new manufacturing jobs following a $256m investment in the Halewood plant
• Land Rover recently announced Galactic Discovery competition, now extended to November 21, to send four winners to space as part of partnership with Virgin Galactic
• Land Rover Discovery Sport will make its U.S. debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show
(HALEWOOD, UK) – October 17, 2014 – The first production Discovery Sport has rolled off Land Rover's production line in Halewood, UK. The car will now make its way to Virgin Galactic's headquarters, to be used by the team as they continue to prepare for the launch of the world's first commercial spaceline.
The world's most versatile and capable premium compact SUV, the Discovery Sport, is the first of the new Discovery family. It features 5+2 seating in a footprint no larger than existing 5-seat premium SUVs, as well as Land Rover's class-leading capability. The vehicle will make its U.S. debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The launch marks another significant milestone in the product offensive for Jaguar Land Rover which will see the company deliver 50 significant product actions over the next five years.
During a ceremony at the Land Rover Halewood plant, the first ever production vehicle was received by Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic, with whom Land Rover partnered with earlier this year. The vehicle will be used by the pioneering spaceflight company to support its operations in the UK, and is one of a number of vehicles Land Rover is providing as part of an ongoing global partnership between the British brands.
"It fills me with pride to have seen the first new Discovery Sport coming off the line here at our world-class Halewood production facility. We are now even more excited to hand the keys over to the crew at Virgin Galactic. The new car embodies Land Rover's spirit of Above and Beyond, so it's fitting that it will be used by a similarly pioneering company in Virgin Galactic," said Murray Dietsch, Director of Land Rover Programs.
The Halewood plant, which is already home to the company's fastest selling model of all time - the Range Rover Evoque, has seen investment in the site more than double and workforce treble over the last four years with 4,750 people now employed at the site.
The impact of Discovery Sport has also been positively felt within the UK supply chain where $4.47bn in contracts have been awarded to 55 suppliers.
Land Rover revealed the new Discovery Sport through an online film shot at Spaceport America in New Mexico, USA, last month. The launch of the car was paired with the announcement of Land Rover's Galactic Discovery competition, giving four friends the chance to win an once-in-a-lifetime trip to space with Virgin Galactic. Find out more at: http://landrover.us/space.