Passing a significant milestone, Land Rover has built one million Discovery models at the Solihull Manufacturing Plant near Birmingham, England.
To celebrate the milestone and demonstrate the Discovery's versatility, the 1,000,000th vehicle will start a 'Journey of Discovery' from its birthplace in Birmingham to Beijing in China.
The 50-day, 8000-mile adventure will be undertaken by three Land Rover Discoverys crossing more than a dozen countries in Europe and Central Asia, culminating at the Beijing auto show on 23 April.
The expedition also presented Land Rover with the opportunity to launch its most ambitious fundraising project by aiming to raise $1,600,000 for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The money will be used to support a water sanitation project in Uganda.
Land Rover Discovery
Production of the 1,000,000th Discovery comes 23 years after Land Rover introduced the original model. Since it first came to market as a third model to sit between the Range Rover and Defender, it has carved its own market segment and become an international success story.
Discovery has picked up more than 200 awards around the world, and last year saw record sales of almost 45000 units across 170 worldwide markets. It also stands as an excellent example of UK design, engineering and manufacturing, with 83 per cent of production being exported from its West Midlands manufacturing base.
The Land Rover Discovery is one of the world's most practical vehicles – it can seat seven passengers, has a large load space and is packed with technology including Land Rover's award-winning Terrain Response System.
The 'Journey of Discovery' began at a special event for employees at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull manufacturing facility, where the Discovery is built. The vehicle was bid farewell by famous explorers and adventurers. All of whom have put their faith in the Discovery in some of the world's most challenging environments. Those in attendance included Bear Grylls, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Ray Mears, Monty Halls and Polar explorer Ben Saunders.
The challenge follows in the tire tracks of 'The First Overland Expedition' of 1955, in which a team in Series 1 Land Rovers set out from Birmingham to Beijing.
That expedition had to divert to Singapore, but in the spirit of the original challenge, the Discovery will be crossing many of Land Rover's major markets including the UK, Russia and China.
The £1Million Fundraising Challenge
With a £1million ($1,6000,000) target, the 'Journey of Discovery' is Land Rover's most ambitious fundraising project to date. It will support IFRC and their water sanitation project in Uganda. This is in addition to the three-year global initiative "Reaching Vulnerable People Around the World". This initiative, launched in 2010, provides additional support for IFRC programs in over 15 countries worldwide.
The funds raised will be used by the IFRC over a three-year period and will be donated to a water sanitation project in Uganda, with over 45000 beneficiaries.
Bekele Geleta, Secretary-General of the IFRC said: "Lack of safe water is the most common and preventable underlying cause of disease in the world today, and Uganda is one of the countries worst affected. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are working in Uganda to provide safe water and sanitation, reaching 90,000 in the last four years. This joint initiative between the IFRC and Land Rover aims to reach an additional 45000 people in Uganda."
For more information, visit www.landrover.com/million