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Evoque puts Liverpool on sat-nav map

Disused Wapping tunnel thunders to life as world's press take Halewood car for a spin

Written by . Published on August 1st 2011.

Evoque puts Liverpool on sat-nav map

IT'S Liverpool biggest ever freebie. Global publicity for the city over the next couple of months and guess what, it hasn’t cost us a penny.

Jaguar Land Rover is bringing over 800 journalists from every continent to Liverpool this month to test drive the Halewood-built Range Rover Evoque.

The idea of motoring around
the cornices of the French Riviera
sure as hell beats driving along
Torrington Drive or Leathers Lane
in miserable looking Halewood

And if the car wins the Oscar as Star of the Show, Liverpool would certainly pick up a gong for best Support.

It’s probably costing JLR a significant seven figure sum – I’d guess between £1m and £2m - to pull off this media coup, but the result is images of Liverpool popping up everywhere. JLR refuses to say how much it's shelling out.

The journos in small assault teams of up to 30, are arriving by air in Anglesey to get behind the wheel of an Evoque for a route to Liverpool taking in the mountain passes of Snowdonia.

Their sat-nav programmed course takes them around the city centre, and then comes the highlight. The cars, each worth between £30,000 and £40,000 head to Edge Hill where they disappear into the long disused Wapping Tunnel.

The long tunnel, the world’s first to be built beneath a metropolis , opened in the 1830s to link the emerging dockland with the world’s first inter-city railway.

The drivers emerge from the pitch-black tunnel close to Wapping where they head for the Albert Dock system before completing their test-run at the Hope Street Hotel, ready to be fed and watered courtesy of the London Carriage Works.

Edge_Hill_Tunnel_006Getting in at Edge HillParking the car is easy. Many of the bays have been suspended in Hope Street to accommodate these daily groups of media folk.

The Evoque is destined to become the best selling model from the Land/Range Rover stable. There are already over 20,000 orders, mostly from people who haven’t seen it or test driven it. It means an order book for Halewood worth around £700m.

The car also guarantees the Halewood plant for years, and along with it thousands of production jobs and even more in the auto supply chain.

Lorraine Rogers TMP Chief Executive of the Mersey Partnership told me: “As well as putting the city region in the spotlight,  there is a significant economic impact  from all the activity taking place here during this month.”

Another tourism expert in Liverpool added: “Liverpool is winning a massive amount of publicity around the world on the back of the Evoque. Journalists writing about the car are also singing the praises of Liverpool.”

Whether Divine intervention has given this exercise a helping Godly hand is anybody’s guess, but the car was launched inside Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

JLR spokesman Neil Roscoe believes it’s the first time a new car has been launched in the place where it is manufactured.

In the distant past when the Halewood plant was owned by Ford, many models were built there – but never publicly launched.

Instead early models rolled off the Halewood production line to be shipped to exotic locations like Monte Carlo, and the media were then transported to these faraway places to test drive the latest models.

The idea of motoring around the cornices of the French Riviera sure as hell beats driving along Torrington Drive or Leathers Lane in miserable looking Halewood.

My early days as a reporter saw me virtually encamped at Halewood, covering the disputes, strikes and walk-outs that epitomised 1970s Merseyside. Pork Chop Hill was my second home as I eavesdropped on mass meetings.

Once, having managed to sneak into one, a bruising and large production worker, spotted that I hadn’t bothered to vote to continue a strike. “Get yer ‘and up, yer effing little scab,” he screamed at me. Although not a member of the TGWU, I duly obliged and voted for strike action. It was that or almost certain death.

The transformation of Halewood from those dark days to world envy and respect has been amazing.


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AnonymousAugust 1st 2011.

Great for Liverpool, and what a car. Seen them driving around Liverpool and they look smart. What's great is Halewood is flying the flag for Merseyside these days rather than being seen as it was in the past as the very worst of industrial relations in our area. Let's hope the Evoque has a long life span so we reap the rewards for many years to come. Tell you what though, you'd pay good money to take a car through that Wapping Tunnel.

London RoadAugust 1st 2011.

I dunno, you'd get a cab driver in there if only to charge you clock and half

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2011.

Fascinating that this is allowed in the tunnels.

AnonymousAugust 3rd 2011.


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