Land Rover has started production of North American specification Freelanders. Sales start in the USA and Canada in December.

This 2.5-litre V6 version of the Freelander, introduced in Europe in September 2000, will become the third Land Rover product to be sold in North America, complementing the Discovery and Range Rover models already available.

Originally launched at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Land Rover Freelander has secured a number of accolades including the Queen's Award for Innovation, for Hill Descent Control.

Almost 250,000 Freelanders have been assembled in the purpose built 9.5-acre facility at Land Rover's Solihull plant. With more than 60,000 units sold worldwide in its first year, the Freelander quickly established itself as Land Rover's most popular product.

Land Rover chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Dover, said: "Launching the Freelander into North America is a very significant move. It will virtually double our volume in America, making it Land Rover's biggest market world-wide, overtaking the UK."