In New York, Land Rover, the British brand synonymous with adventure, showed off the concept for the latest version of its Discovery SUV on the deck of a retired American aircraft carrier Monday night. It also revealed a long-term global partnership with Richard Branson’s pioneering commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic.
The partnership will see Land Rover vehicles become part of daily life for the Virgin Galactic team and for all ‘Future Astronauts’, the space experience will now begin with Land Rover as they arrive in New Mexico for training, and continue to the moment they drive from the space terminal building to the waiting spaceship. Land Rover will base a fleet of vehicles at the Virgin Galactic test centre in the Mojave Desert, California and at its astounding operational New Mexico base, Spaceport America. Land Rover says it will create a family of vehicles around Discovery.
Discovery is a full-size model, but Land Rover says it was designed to look smaller. Like Range Rover, the driver and passengers sit up high with expanses of glass around — all the better to see what world around them. The Discovery concept also has “stadium seating,” a stepped arrangement designed so that rear passengers won’t feel trapped back there. Jeep used a similar arrangement for its long since discontinued SUV, the Commander.
Discovery can be configured for anywhere from four to seven seats, depending on preferences.
The exciting announcement was revealed in dramatic fashion on board USS Intrepid, a former aircraft carrier and now a museum dedicated to the exploration of sea, air and space and anchored on the Hudson River. Land Rover’s first act as exclusive partner was to bring a unique full-size replica of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise to New York, where it joined the remarkable British Airways Concorde and its namesake Space Shuttle Enterprise upon the Intrepid. Like the Space Shuttle, SpaceShipTwo is the first of a revolutionary fleet of reusable human spacecraft. Having the vehicles in one place for the first time provided a powerful symbol of human ingenuity and the adventurous spirit of exploration and discovery.
Revealed alongside SpaceShipTwo was Land Rover’s Discovery Vision Concept, a vision of Land Rover’s future family of Discovery vehicles. The concept car previews dynamic new design language and an array of world first technologies.
More than 200 VIP guests witnessed the two game-changing vehicles, which were revealed against a stunning Manhattan background and an awe-inspiring projection mapping sequence.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic said “We couldn’t be more delighted to have Land Rover join us on our incredible journey. It is hard to think of brand which is more synonymous with exploration and adventure. The safety and engineering excellence of Land Rover’s vehicles, which have been the stuff of legend for more than 65 years, are attributes which also lie at the heart of Virgin Galactic. We look forward to crossing the final frontier together and to a long and fruitful partnership.”
Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director of Jaguar Land Rover said “This is a marriage of two of Britain’s most iconic brands who celebrate shared values, a pioneering spirit and a true sense of adventure. Not only do we both share the same long-term vision to enable mankind to explore, but we also want to develop this partnership to inspire others. From our tens of thousands of employees and customers to schools and colleges, motivating more young people to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology and math – and explore new ways of travelling for future generations.”
*with reports from image.net.
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