Production Begins of New Range Rover
November 30 2001
Solihull, West Midlands, December 3, 2001 .
Volume production has commenced of the new Range Rover, which goes on sale on February 15 in European markets and June 2002 for the Australian market.
The flagship of Land Rover's model range is being built at the company's Solihull factory in the West Midlands on a new production line. More than £200 million has been invested in the factory to ensure that quality levels are world class.
True to its roots, the latest Range Rover - only the third evolution of the breed in more than 30 years - scales new heights in terms of luxury and of capability both on- and off-road.
"We believe the new Range Rover is the world's most capable vehicle, with the greatest breadth of ability of any vehicle ever made,' said Land Rover's chairman and chief executive officer Bob Dover. ?This mixture of peerless off-road ability combined with on-road excellence should satisfy the most demanding luxury car buyer.'
The new Range Rover combines legendary Land Rover talents with a series of technical innovations that keep it ahead of the opposition.
Among the new Range Rover's key features are an all-new stiffer monocoque body with integrated chassis, and all-round independent suspension with interconnected air springs.
Solihull's new star also has an advanced automatic transmission and transfer gearbox with a low-range Steptronic facility and the ability to shift from low to high ratio on the move.
It has extensive use of aluminium for weight reduction, and outstanding crash test performance.
The new Range Rover's exterior combines modern lines with familiar Range Rover styling cues, such as the clam shell bonnet with castellations, horizontally split tailgate and upright front. Distinctive features such as the unusual high-tech headlamps and tail-lamps - plus the dramatic front wing power vents - add a futuristic slant to the evolutionary shape. Despite its instant recognition, it has no body panels in common with its predecessor.
Longer and taller than the previous model, the new Range Rover has correspondingly more interior space and even stronger on-road presence. Greater ground clearance also helps improve the off-road performance, while the increase in torsional stiffness translates into superb on-road refinement and composure.
New 4.4-litre V8 petrol and 3.0-litre common rail six-cylinder turbodiesel engines mean better performance, lower emissions, improved fuel economy and greater refinement, while state-of-the-art five-speed fully electronic automatic transmissions - standard in petrol and diesel versions - provide both fully automated and Steptronic manual shifts.
As with the original Range Rover, launched in 1970, the third-generation model has permanent four-wheel drive and a two-speed transfer gearbox offering a low range for off-road use and a high range for normal driving. A new torque sensing centre differential continuously and automatically changes the torque bias between front and rear axles depending on available traction.
A refinement for the new model means that it is now possible to shift from high to low ranges (and vice versa) on the move while advanced electronics include the provision of a dual map throttle with on- and off-road calibrations.
Introduced late in the lifespan of the Range Rover Classic and featured as standard on the second-generation model, the air suspension system has been greatly refined and now features cross-link valves that automatically allow softer wheel rates for enhanced comfort off-road.
The system still allows the entire car to be gently lowered to ease entry and egress, but a further sophistication means the 'Access' setting can be pre-selected so the body is at the correct height as the car rolls to a stop.
The chassis also features a number of electronic traction control systems including Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and the Land Rover-pioneered Hill Descent Control (HDC). The standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) are supplemented by Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).
In keeping with its luxury role, the vehicle's interior has been completely redesigned. Three decorative finishes - traditional burr walnut, avant-garde cherry and sporting foundry - mix with seven seat colours, four lower trim colours and two upper trim shades to allow customers to choose a bespoke interior. Other features include two different leather treatments and chrome dashboard detailing.
At the same time, the inherent simplicity found in the original Range Rover remains - the key to the new car's cockpit layout is a minimalist approach with straight-forward and easy-to-use controls.
Standard and optional equipment levels have been greatly widened to provide new levels of comfort and customer choice. Features available include an integrated telecommunications package including telephone system with cordless in-car handset, satellite navigation with off-road functionality, and an in-dash widescreen TV.
Other luxury features include Bi-Xenon headlights, providing high intensity 'blue' light on both dipped and main beam, and LED brake lights giving following motorists early warning that the car is slowing.
The new Range Rover was conceived when Land Rover was owned by BMW, but has been delivered by the new Ford-appointed management, led by Bob Dover. A key champion of the car when it was still on the drawing board was Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, then the member of the board of BMW responsible for product development.
Dr Reitzle left BMW to join the Ford Motor Company in April 1999, becoming President of Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG). He was instrumental in the purchase of Land Rover from BMW in July 2000 when the company joined Jaguar, Aston Martin, Volvo and Lincoln as part of the Premier Automotive Group.
Dr Reitzle said: 'Land Rover is the world's pre-eminent manufacturer of four-wheel drive vehicles and the Range Rover is the original luxury SUV. 'The new Range Rover is truly extraordinary. Its unique combination of go-anywhere skill and luxury means its closest rivals aren't other 4x4s but the finest luxury saloons in the world.'
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