Greenpeace shuts down Range Rover assembly line

Production of climate-wrecking SUVs stopped

Feature story - 16 May, 2005
Early this morning 35 volunteers from Greenpeace shut down the assembly line making gas-guzzling Range Rovers. The urban 4x4s made at the site are wrecking the climate.

Activists declare a "Climate Crime Scene" at Range Rover factory in the UK which makes SUVs.

The volunteers used safety shut-down buttons to cut off power to theassembly line before handcuffing and chaining themselves to unfinishedvehicles along the 150m long assembly line and branding it a climatecrime scene. It's the first time anywhere in the world that protestershave shut down a factory making Sports Utility Vehicles.

Climate change is the greatest threat the planet is facing. Accordingto the World Health Organisation, 150,000 people are already dyingevery year as a result of the impacts of climate change includingdroughts, floods and storms. Yet Land Rover continues to makegas-guzzling vehicles, most of which will tackle nothing steeper than aspeed bump.

The Range Rover is the UK's least fuel-efficient 4x4 doing a criminal12 miles to the gallon in urban areas. The new Range Rover Sport, which"has been tuned primarily for on-road performance," does fewer miles tothe gallon than the Model T Ford built 80 years ago.

Making cars like this for urban use is crazy. Land Rover aggressivelymarkets its range of 4x4s - like Discovery and Range Rover - in townsand cities throughout the UK. It spends £3 million on advertising inLondon alone. Land Rover's parent company Ford has also stood in theway of government action to tackle climate change both in Europe andthe US.

In the UK, road transport accounts for about a quarter of the emissionsthat cause climate change, which makes it the second biggest source ofgreenhouse gases. The trend of 4x4 vehicles as urban run-arounds isincreasing the amount of emissions going into the atmosphere.

Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale is one of the volunteerscurrently chained to Range Rover chassis. He said: "We've taken directaction to stop Land Rover making these gas-guzzling urban 4x4s. Thecompany used to have a reputation for making working vehicles, but nowthey market themselves as the car company for people who love thewilderness while simultaneously producing cars that threaten ourenvironment with catastrophic climate change."

Range Rover's parent company, Ford, is losing money and shedding jobsin America because sales of their gas-guzzling models are falling,whereas Asian companies are thriving by making fuel efficient vehicles.With a climate crisis developing and oil at over $US 50 a barrel,car-makers who want to save jobs have to stop making gas guzzlers.

There's no future and no jobs in making cars that wreck the climate.Land Rover and Ford have the technology to develop far morefuel-efficient vehicles but they choose not to. It's time for LandRover to stop making gas-guzzlers and time for Tony Blair to tax themoff our roads.

Please send an online fax to Tony Blair asking him to increase road tax for gas-guzzlers and offer incentives for people who choose to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles.

You can also help us halt the damage being done to our climate andsupport clean renewable energy by signing up online for regular updatesand action alerts.

For more information, download the Ford Climate Crime File. Greenpeacehas not shut down production of the Land Rover Defender, most of whichare used for legitimate agricultural and industrial purposes.

Send a fax to Tony Blair

Demand the UK put higher taxes on gas-guzzling vehicles and offer other incentives to fuel efficiency.

Help keep us in action

Actions like these don't just happen. They take planning and effort and money. Please help keep Greenpeace in action by donating whatever you can.