The Times podcast: Coyotes go urban; humans freak out about the new breed of supercars
“If you look at the future, it’s very dangerous,” said John Cederquist, the CEO of the Phoenix-based Land Rover company. “Our role is to provide a safe place and vehicle for people to go, rather than just to look after them.”
That is where the Land Rover LR4 came in.
The company has been working on it since the 1980s, when they built four prototypes and tested it in the British countryside. (The next test was in the United States, where the concept was quickly adopted by General Motors in its fleet.)
In the ensuing decades, Land Rover got some good ideas, such as the electric-battery LR5 and the LR6, both with a four-wheel drive system that allowed them to traverse rocky terrain. But the LR4 was different.
Cederquist, one of more than 100 employees at Land Rover’s headquarters near the northern end of the Valley, says he had been thinking for decades about what should be a more affordable and fuel-efficient urban vehicle.
“I knew we were going to have a car like this (LR4) in the future, but I couldn’t say much about it because it wasn’t ready to show the world,” he said.
So in 2002, he took the idea to his boss, Mike Hawes, the CEO of Mitsubishi, who was interested in the concept, and soon Land Rover was getting money to put together this car that took the concept and made it commercial.
On a Wednesday, June 24, just 10 days after a record-breaking rainy day in Phoenix, Land Rover unveiled the final version of the prototype car to a packed house of reporters and reporters as they tried to figure out what it was.
It was about 40 feet long, 15 feet wide, and topped with a two-seat bench and a windshield. Inside, the Land Rover has the full suite of Land Rover brand amenities, from an air-conditioner to a garage