The Road to Dis­cov­ery

LRO (UK) - - Heritage | T20 Years Of Disco 2 -

01The en­try of the Dis­cov­ery in 1994 into the lu­cra­tive Amer­i­can mar­ket trans­formed the model’s prospects – and Land Rover was de­ter­mined to in­crease its pen­e­tra­tion by of­fer­ing a new ve­hi­cle specif­i­cally tar­geted at US cus­tomers.

The ‘Heart­land’ study sought to scope out the pre­cise needs of the mid-size SUV sec­tor and came to a sur­pris­ing con­clu­sion. There was room for not one, but two mod­els – one fam­ily ori­en­tated, the other a sportier de­riv­a­tive. This would even­tu­ally lead to the Dis­cov­ery 3 and the Range Rover Sport, but they would have to wait un­til Land Rover passed into the hands of the Ford Mo­tor Com­pany.

In the mean­time, the Rover Group, con­cen­trat­ing on de­vel­op­ing the new Rover 75 saloon/es­tate and the L30 Range Rover re­place­ment, didn’t have the re­sources to launch one new model, never mind two; and its owner, BMW, was grow­ing in­creas­ingly dis­en­chanted with its Bri­tish ac­qui­si­tion.

The new mod­els were put on hold, with a mod­est £60 mil­lion al­lo­cated to a ma­jor re­work­ing of the Dis­cov­ery.

‘The Rover Group didn’t even have the re­sources to launch one new model, never mind two’

Re­mind you of some­thing? A de­sign study for the L35 project clearly shows el­e­ments of the style that was even­tu­ally cho­sen for the Dis­cov­ery 3.

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