From Land Rover press: The Land Rover Range Rover will celebrate its 40th birthday on 17 June, 2010. One of the most significant vehicles in the history of motoring, the Range Rover was the world's first vehicle as good on-road as off-road. It was the first fully capable luxury 4x4 and was a milestone in the development of the SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle).
There have been three generations of Land Rover 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 3.5-litre aluminium V8 was enlarged to 3.9 litres in 1989, and then to 4.2 litres in 1992, improving performance and refinement. The three-speed Chrysler automatic gearbox - first available in 1982 - was replaced by a smoother and more efficient ZF four-speed in 1985, further broadening appeal.
The second-generation vehicle, known as the P38a, 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 Land Rover 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 noways 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 Land Rover Range Rover models.