The Road to Discovery
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.