It’s official. The new Discovery Sport is in production, and Richard Branson has called dibs on the first one. As part of the marketing partnership between Land Rover and Branson’s Virgin Galactic, the new compact SUV will presumably be put to work at the private spaceflight venture’s Spaceport America in New Mexico.
The start of production is more significant to Land Rover, however. The Discovery Sport is built in England at Land Rover’s Halewood factory, which also builds the Range Rover Evoque and the Freelander2/LR2. The popularity of the Evoque has boosted productivity and employment at the factory, where the workforce now numbers more than 4750 people, a threefold increase over just four years ago.
The Discovery Sport will make its official public debut next month at the Los Angles Auto Show. The first in a new line of family-focused Discovery vehicles, it features “5+2” seating, despite sharing its platform with the compact Evoque.