The Land Rover Over Time

by Ian Spence

Land Rover is one of the most familiar, recognisable and successful brands in the motoring industry but how exactly did it come to power? Nowadays, the company - based in Warwickshire - specialises in four-wheel-drive vehicles but the car's history can be drawn back to what is regarded the invention of the bicycle in the late 19th century.

The executive director of Jaguar Land Rover, Mike Wright, said that the company will aim to produce 2,500 manufacturing jobs and 2,000 engineering roles between now and 2017 to develop a talent pool with global expertise. Indian-based company Tata Motors had been criticised for apparently giving preferential treatment towards UK immigrants from India ahead of British born applicants.

However, hitting back against the claims, India's UK high commissioner Jaimini Bhagwati said: "The amount of employment generated by Indian companies are far more than the jobs taken by Indian immigrants." Bhagwati added that the biggest stumbling block for potential candidates is their lack of a skill-base and that manufacturing needs to be made "sexy" in order for the very best talent to become involved in the industry.

In 1884, Starley introduced the very first tricycles and bicycles and named then under the umbrella of Rover. Incidentally, a name which is still used for the term 'Bike' in Poland. Four years later, Starley created what is considered to be Coventry's "first car". However, the electric tricycle is never developed upon the prototype stage. In 1901 - at the age of 47 - Starley passes away suddenly and his managing director role with Rover is taken over by Harry Smyth who moves the company forward to producing motorbikes and cars, the first of which, is established in 1904. Just two years later, the decision is made to focus production solely on cars and this drives the company to becoming one of the biggest players in the manufacturing industry in the 1920s.

The news should come as a welcome boost for the unemployed who - according to a recent government report- are growing in numbers. Results showed that over 1m young people between the ages of 16 and 24 were unemployed in the yearly quarter of February to April 2012. This is a 13 per cent increase from the same time in 2011.

In 1946, Maurice Wilks made the most significant step to creating the modern day Land Rover and subsequent Land Rover parts. Maurice had needed an alternative to his beaten-up war surplus Jeep that was smaller than a tractor but versatile and practical so that he could use it on his farm. A year later, the "all-purpose" Land Rover vehicle was created.Sales improve and Land Rover evolves to become the product that it is today, coming in a number of different models, including the Defender, Discovery, Freelander, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

After being acquired by BMW in 1994, the Rover group was eventually discontinued by Ford who made Land Rover a part of their Premier Automotive Group. In 2008 Ford sold Land Rover to Indian company Tata Motors.

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