Land Rover today passed a historic milestone when the four millionth vehicle rolled off the production line, 59 years after production began at the company’s factory in Solihull.
The car, a Discovery 3, was donated to the Born Free Foundation, a charity dedicated to wildlife conservation and animal welfare. It was collected by the actress Joanna Lumley, Born Free’s Founder patron, and will become a ‘Rapid Response Rescue’ vehicle for deployment across the UK and Europe.
Will Travers, Born Free chief executive, said, "This important vehicle will enable us to carry out important frontline conservation and animal welfare missions at will. Without Land Rover’s support we simply would not be able to reach some of the off-road remote destinations or tackle some of the rescues that are a vital part of our work.”
This summer is likely to see the Born Free Rapid Response Rescue Discovery 3 extensively used by Born Free’s partner, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, rescuing, treating and releasing stranded or abandoned marine mammals, especially Common and Grey seals, who frequently get into trouble along Britain’s shores during the breeding season.
Born Free has been one of Land Rover’s Global Sponsorship Partners since 2002. The sponsorship includes financial and vehicle support in the UK, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. In 2006 Land Rover’s support contributed to the rescue and relocation of three lions from a circus in France to Shamwari in South Africa.
Land Rover has pioneered responsible off-roading through its ‘Fragile Earth’ policy for many years and currently works with Earthwatch, Royal Geographical Society (RGS), China Exploration and Research Society (CERS), and Biosphere Expeditions.
Land Rover helps sustain over 50,000 jobs and exports 78% of all production, generating substantial wealth for Britain. Since the production of the 3 millionth Land Rover in 2001, an average of 700 cars have rolled off the production lines per day.
Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover, said, “We are delighted to hand this car over to Born Free. The production of the four millionth Land Rover is a major milestone and it is only fitting that it goes to such a worthy cause. I’m proud of our support for the charity and the company’s contribution to both the local and national economy over the past 59 years."