It has become a favourite of the Royal family and been manufactured exclusively in Britain since it first rolled off the production line almost 30 years ago.
But yesterday Jaguar Land Rover announced it is to shift all production of the Land Rover Discovery from Birmingham to Slovakia, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
The company said the switch will take place early next year and that agency workers are most under threat of losing their jobs.
Two years ago the firm, owned by India’s Tata Motors, insisted that its new Slovakia plant would ‘complement’ its UK operations, with the Discovery built in both locations.
British heritage: But Jaguar Land Rover has announced it is to shift all production of the Land Rover Discovery from Birmingham to Slovakia, putting hundreds of jobs at risk
Yesterday Jaguar Land Rover said all its Discovery off road vehicles will be made in the Eastern European nation.
The firm said it was a ‘tough’ decision but it will allow it to slash costs and free up space at the Solihull plant, which is being revamped to build the next generation of Range Rovers.
It stressed that it remains committed to the UK as it outlined plans to invest hundreds of millions in upgrading its plants in Solihull and Halewood to build to the next versions of hybrid and electric Range Rover models.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport (pictured) will still be made at the Halewood plant.
The Discovery has been built in Solihull since it was launched in 1989.
The Duke of Cambridge was recently pictured driving his son Louis home from hospital in a £60,000 seven-seater Discovery. The Solihull plant employs around 10,000 staff, and between 500 and 1,000 agency staff.
Although the livelihoods of many of these agency workers are under threat, JLR said the decision to upgrade its factories in Solihull and Halewood should safeguard the future these plants and the vast majority of its work force.
A JLR spokesman said: ‘The decision to move the Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia and the potential losses of some agency employed staff in the UK is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally.’
He added: ‘This significant investment and technology upgrade in Solihull in order to accommodate our next-generation of flagship Land Rover models, and the refit of our Halewood plant for the next Evoque, is proof we remain committed both to the UK and to transformation and growth.’
JLR said the switch of production to the £1bn plant in Nitra, Slovakia – which is due to open at the end of the year – is not connected to concerns over Brexit.
However painful the move is for many agency workers, industry experts have stressed that overall JLR’s heavy investment in its factories is a boost for Britain.
David Bailey, the professor of industrial strategy at Aston University, said it has raised hopes that the JLR’s first electric car – the I-Pace – will be built in Britain.