News : Land Rover USA hits the quarter century

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

The Range Rover was officially introduced to the United States 25 years ago this year in 1987. To celebrate this milestone, Land Rover will host a special celebration in conjunction with the New York Auto Show and will invite consumers to an urban off-road adventure where they will drive 2012 model year vehicles at a custom-made course in the heart of New York City’s meatpacking district. In the past quarter century, the growth and acceptance of the Land Rover brand in the US marks a true product and brand success story. That success is defined by loyal customers, a distinct authentic brand and consistent sales success.

The original Range Rover established a new market segment for dual-purpose vehicles that could go almost anywhere and has been the platform for numerous technological innovations in the industry. Its unmatched capability, rich heritage, and favoured status among world leaders, entertainment personalities, athletes and design visionaries has established the Range Rover as a benchmark icon.

Launched in 1970 the Range Rover was an addition to the well-established Land Rover utility vehicles that evolved after WWII. Land Rover vehicles were frequently featured in movies, TV shows about African exploration, and world news coverage. Land Rover was often the vehicle of choice for teams bringing humanitarian relief in war zones or natural disasters.

In the 1980s, four-door sport utility vehicles (SUVs) were beginning to emerge in America. Often built on pick-up truck chassis with rather harsh rides, the lack of refinement often limited their appeal as all-purpose family cars. An innovation featured on the Range Rover was the use of coil springs at all four wheels, rather than leaf springs, as seen on other four wheel drive vehicles. This suspension design gave it an exceptionally smooth ride.

The first Range Rover had a US price of $30,850, an unprecedented figure for a vehicle most people thought of as a truck rather than a luxury car. The Range Rover of North America team set out to establish the brand, offering potential customers the opportunity to add the Range Rover to their portfolio of the very best luxury goods that life has to offer.

In the past 25 years, the Range Rover has achieved an enviable position in the marketplace, and has been the choice of discriminating buyers for its prestige, panache and performance. Land Rover’s latest success story is the launch of the award winning 2012 Range Rover Evoque, the company’s lightest and most fuel-efficient SUV ever. The all-new Range Rover Evoque has received over 95 international awards including the 2012 ‘North American Truck of the Year’ and the 2012 Motor Trend ‘SUV of the Year’. The award winning Range Rover Evoque is currently sold out and expected to remain on back-order for the remainder of 2012.

 

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

23 Comments

  1. I really must write something on the Range Rover Vogue and Vogue SE derivatives for you, Keith, as this article relating to the vehicle’s success in North America certainly ties in with the ongoing quest to take the Range Rover onwards and upwards.

    Indeed a number of the colour and trim features from North American Range Rovers filtered down in low volume variants in the UK market during the early to mid 1990s.

    I will find the time in the next few weeks!

    In the meantime, this article really does highlight how inspiring the Range Rover continues to be. Despite Jeep, Ford and Toyota having produced the SUV concept back in the 1960s, the Range Rover has been the number 1 choice of luxury SUV for most of its 25 year rein in North America. You only have to look at the list of A List celebrities who owned one in the early 1990s.

    Great news and and a lovely photo of a 1991 Model Year Range Rover Vogue SE in Ardennes Green.

  2. Actually, I think it is ‘just’ a Vogue rather than a Vogue SE because it has no pinstripe. I must be slipping!

  3. >>The original Range Rover established a new market segment >>for dual-purpose vehicles that could go almost anywhere

    While somewhat larger and admittedly less sophisticated, we in the U.S had the Jeep Wagoneer from the early sixties. It offered passenger car features and was luxurious in the American idiom. It was very capable off road. The original full size version continued until 1991 by which time it was as tacky as any period Cadillac but retained it’s Jeep capabilities.

  4. What is truly ridiculous is that it took until 1987 to sell the Range Rover in the states! 17 years after launch…

  5. @Landyboy:

    Yes, colour-coded alloys were only fitted to the Vogue SE and were not available as a factory option on the ‘lesser’ Vogue model. Then again, all Vogue SEs had a bodyside pinstripe.

  6. Nice article, but why did it take 17 years? Similarly, 10 years + for the four door and the automatic, and longer for a diesel! Great car, not developed to it’s full potential under the constraints of BL

  7. I notice the article fails to mention the huge warrenty costs that Range Rover had in the US market. Not to mention the horrendous crash test performance of the first two generations of Range Rover (up to and including P38), that limited it’s sales in the US market.

  8. @David 3500 & Landyboy.
    No all Vouges had colour coded alloys, or cetainly every one I have ever looked at has had them, thise with silver alloys have clear been pianted but a few had the ‘grey’ centre. Too many however have been coded to the body for it to have just been a few that had them painted later (a brief search on ebay will confirm this). VougeSE did have a seperate paint range which is a true PITA when you own one and would like to avoid painting second hand panels by buying them already in the right colour (Looking for a clearwater blue tailgate!)

  9. @jonathan Carling
    The reason the range rover took 17 years to get to the states is an odd one.. even more so when you understatnd it was actually intended from day one to be sold in the emerging US SUV market. It was simply that the americans would only let it in if rover refused to sell it to the arabs. Rover however felt the arab market was more profitable at the time

  10. @The Rockabilly Red
    it also fails to mention that according to accident data the original range rover was the car you were least likley to have an accident in, so the crash test performance is irrelevant

  11. @ Stewart:

    A further problem was that a lot of revisions were made to the Range Rover during 1986 under Project Eagle to enable it to meet the demands of the North American buyer wanting a premium SUV. These included major engineering changes such as productionising a new 3.9-litre version of the V8 engine (the UK and other export markets did not get it until late 1989) which had been ‘kicking around’ in low volume special build form only since 1984 (some of which had been retro-fitted into a few factory owned Rover SD1s).

    Other changes included improvements to transmission and transfer box change quality and overall quality control. There was also the need for more luxurious features to be offered such as leather seat facings and electrically adjustable seats alongside existing accoutrements such as automatic transmission, electric sunroof and air conditioning, to name but a few features.

  12. Re 14: The ‘original’ Range Rover was so dangerous in front-end impacts, that it had to be marketed as a truck in some markets – even in Europe. The retailing dealer – post sale- then fitted seats, carpets, etc as part of a kit supplied. This got Range Rover around the need to pass crash test regulations in many markets.

    In impact, the chassis deformed adjacent to the gearbox, allowing the steering column to move rearwards through occupant zone. This also happened on Discovery and P38, which shared a common chassis.

  13. The RR is a 1970 design, and was horribly underdeveloped under BL, when you consider the money spent on getting the TR7/8 and SD1 launched in the US. a decade earlier.

    Is the original RR really that dangerous when compared to other vehicles of that era?

  14. @20 i agree wholeheartedly,anything with a separate chassis in terms of SUV,4X4 and the like were all dangerous to occupants and other motorists alike.A monocoque long before any “crash management”was designed and built into them offered deformation to a certain extent,thus allowing some energy dissipation.
    Anyway,our friends across the pond are a letigious lot, anyone remember the car thief that crashed a caddy at 100 mph and sued GM because it burst into flames?!!

  15. @David 3500,
    But in 1970 none of this would have been needed for the NADA market apart from possibly carpets and AC.

    @The Rockabilly Red
    And still so what? Statistically you are less likely to actually have any accident at all in the Range rover classic than any other car on the road. Accident data for the last 40 years says this and not having accidents is far more important that what happens when you do have one. The same tests said that the Relaint Scimitar was a death trap, do you know how many have actually died as a result of having an accident in a reliant scimitar? NONE zero, nada, bugger all.. thats how many and yes they have been crashed

    But then I am of the opion that a large surgucal steel spike in place of a steering wheel airbag would do far more to make our roads safer than any number of airbags or crumple zomes

  16. The best safety feature of all is good all-round vision, and the original Range Rover is superb in this respect. The NCAP era has forced upon us tree-trunk sized A pillars that are potentially lethal all the time – you have to bob your head about at junctions and islands to spot for smaller vehicles, two-wheelers and pedestrians. Just as criminal is the current stylists’ (I refuse to call them designers!) total disregard for rear 3/4 vision. It’s a weird truism that in over 100 years of closed car design, there was only one decade, the 1960s, where most cars gave proper all round vision – you didn’t need proximity sensors or auto-parking programmes, you could see all four corners in something like a Rover P6 or a BMC Farinamobile. Harrumph!

  17. @rockabilly…

    I did (and still do work for Land Rover, now JLR), and was one of the production engineers on the P38 RR, and if an assure you that the P38 and Discovery DO NOT share the same chassis…please establish fact from fiction before posting anything I the public domain in future.

    Steve

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