War II was over, there were a lot of American military
jeeps left in Europe. The Europeans discovered that this
was a fine workhorse and started using them on their
farms and industrial uses. This American Military Jeep
fit the bill, its price was reasonable, and it got the
job done. The Rover company wanted to capitalize on this
ready-made market, even though they had been a respected
and successful manufacturer of quality motor cars for the
professional classes before the war. But when the war
ended they found themselves in a market branding dilemma,
as a robust more feral car didn't fit their public image.
So Rover created an off-shoot Marque called Land Rover within which to market this less urban car, as it was more off-road than their traditional models. After which, engineering chief Maurice Wilks, instructed his design engineers to use existing Rover components wherever possible and to design easily-fabricated parts where existing ones were not suitable. In September 1947 the very first Land-Rover was constructed on a Jeep chassis and fitted with a Rover-designed body and a Rover saloon car engine and main gearbox. The first show Land Rover was introduced was the Amsterdam Motor Show in April 1948.
Since then the Land Rover has become and institution and more popular today then ever. It was the worlds first civilian 4x4, and within 10 years of production 250,000 had rolled off the production line. In over 50 years of production, well over a million and a half have been made. Within 2 years it was out selling Rover cars by three to one. Although Land Rovers would continue to share mechanical components with Rover saloons for many years. Progressively the two sides of the Rover Company gradually grew apart until becoming fully independent from each other in 1998. Between 1968 an 1998 it was part of British Leyland.
The Land Rover has been sold in almost every country around the world. It has been used in thousands of specialists roles, such as fire engines, police vehicles and even garbage trucks as well as the private specialized vehicle mans imagination has built. There have been many changes made since the first production vehicles were built in 1948. There are hundreds of different variants the Land Rover is very "modular" and this versatility has ensured the Land Rover's success. Today Land Rover employs more than 11,000 people in the Midlands. Land Rovers are manufactured in Solihull and the company's corporate headquarters, engineering and design facilities are at Gaydon in Warwickshire.
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