Landy makes if from UK to Beijing
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: The one-millionth Land Rover Discovery rolls into Beijing after covering 16 000km from the UK to the Chinese capital.
BEIJING, China - Land Rover's biggest modern-day overland expedition, the Journey of Discovery, has reached the finish line with the one-millionth Discovery arriving on schedule to appear at the 2012 Beijing auto show.
While thousands flew to the show, Land Rover elected to drive four vehicles more than 16 000km from Solihull in Birmingham, England, to the Chinese capital to raise £1 million (about R12.6-million) for the company's global humanitarian partner, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
'AN EPIC JOURNEY'
The odyssey started on February 29, 2012, at the Solihull plant where the millionth Discovery was built. Since its ceremonial send-off Geneva auto show it and its escorts have passed through 13 countries over challenging terrain ranging from snow in the Alps to sun-baked sand dunes in the Taklimakan Desert.
John Edwards, Land Rover's global brand director, said: "This has been an epic journey between two of the biggest events on the automotive calendar and, as we expected, it has demonstrated virtually every condition for which Land Rovers are designed.
"This has been a very relevant journey for Land Rover, taking such a landmark vehicle from its birthplace to one of our fastest-growing markets and showcasing it on all terrains.
"We are delighted to see the journey reach its physical target in Beijing and we are equally delighted by the response to the fund-raising cause. We will be continuing the push to reach or exceed our target right up to the end of May, 2012."
GOING ON SHOW
The Journey of Discovery has been all about discovering the stories of people and places along its route, the automaker says. It joined the Aosta Valley avalanche team in Italy; visited the Chernobyl disaster area and drove through a secret Soviet submarine base in the Ukraine. The crews went to exclusive inner parts of the Kremlin, tested some classic Soviet vehicles and took a tour of Moscow with a Bolshoi Ballet dancer.
It went into the wilds of the Kazakhstan desert; met a group of fishermen in the near-dry Aral Sea in Uzbekistan; travelled along the spice and silk routes into China where the final leg included dune driving, a visit to the Great Wall of China and a trip on a sheepskin raft.
After appearing in Beijing, unwashed state after a Journey that took more than 50 days, the millionth Discovery will eventually be put on show by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust in the Heritage Museum at Gaydon.
For more on the 2012 Beijing auto show, click here.
JOURNEY IN NUMBERS
17 500 images taken
80 hours of video
78 cities visited
Total people participated on event: 112, including crew and media
4700km driven in China
Highest point: 3700m (Torugart pass, Kyrgyzstan & China)
Lowest point: 10m below sea level, Turfan, China
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