Starting out as a model in the Rover Company's product range, the Land Rover brand developed, first as a marque, then as a separate company, developing a range of four-wheel drive capable vehicles under a succession of owners, including British Leyland, British Aerospace and BMW. In 2000, the company was sold by BMW to the Ford Motor Company, becoming part of their Premier Automotive Group. In June 2008 Ford sold its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors.
Land Rover is one of the longest surviving Four-wheel drive (4WD) brands, coming in close second to Jeep.
Land Rovers were manufactured primarily at the Solihull plant, near Birmingham, England, but production of the "Freelander" (2) was moved to the Jaguar car factory at Halewood near Liverpool, a former Ford car plant. Defender models are assembled under license in several locations worldwide, including Spain (Santana Motors), Iran (Pazhan Morattab), Brazil (Karmann)and Turkey (Otokar). The former BL/Rover Group technical centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire is home to the corporate and R&D H.Q.
On 11 June 2007, Ford Motor Company announced its plan to sell Land Rover, along with Jaguar. Ford retained the services of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and HSBC to advise it on the details of the deal. The buyer was initially expected to be announced by September 2007, but the sale was delayed and an announcement was not made until March 2008. A UK based private equity firm, Alchemy Partners, Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra (both from India) expressed interest in purchasing Jaguar and Land Rover from the Ford Motor Company.
Before the sale was announced, Anthony Bamford, chairman of British excavators manufacturer JCB had expressed interest in purchasing Jaguar Cars in August, the year previously; only to back out later when told the sale would also involve Land Rover, which he did not wish to buy. Tata Motors received endorsements from the Transport And General Worker's Union (TGWU)-Amicus combine and Ford as a preferred bidder.