The Prince of Wales praised Land Rover for its global presence and its work to combat climate change as he visited the West Midlands on Tuesday.
Prince Charles was at the company's Solihull plant to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the marque before going on to meet staff and patients at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Selly Oak, Birmingham.
He marked the Land Rover anniversary with a two-hour visit of the Lode Lane plant, where he was presented with a £25,000 Land Rover County Station Wagon and cut a sponge birthday cake baked in the shape of the first ever Land Rover – a Series 1 model.
Clearly impressed with the detail of the sponge Series 1 model, which even boasted mud-coloured icing on its wheels, the prince told onlookers it would be a shame to ruin the "vehicle" by slicing into it.
The cake, which the prince then joked that he had "wrecked", was later donated to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Addressing about 100 workers as the assembly line at the plant continued to roll, Prince Charles said they should be proud that their product was seen all across the globe.
Recalling how he had recently travelled in a Land Rover in Uganda, the royal visitor said: "Your success is seen everywhere. Going round the factory today, the quality is only too clear.
"I just wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate all the hard-working workforce, who I know put so much skill and dedication into producing this great British product."
Land Rover, he said, had embraced innovative engineering in order to tackle climate change, adding: "With programmes such as your CO2 offsetting scheme, you really are showing the sort of commitment and real example that is essential to reduce the carbon footprint of global industry and therefore improve sustainability."
Workers who chatted with him said they were impressed by his interest in each section of the assembly line and his willingness to stop and chat.
Electrician Richard Stiles, aged 46, said: "It was a bit nerve-wracking, but he is a really nice guy. He asked how long I had worked here and about my family as well."
Team leader Gary Adney, aged 40, was asked to show the prince a chassis being assembled for the Russian market.
He said: "Sixty years is a great landmark for Land Rover and hopefully we can do another 60 years. We are being taken over shortly and hopefully there’s a good future for us."
After his Land Rover visit, the prince’s next stop was the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) at Selly Oak Hospital.
There he met military and civilian medical staff involved in the care and treatment of British servicemen and women across the globe, as well as some of the military patients.
Among the staff was consultant plastic surgeon Garth Titley. Last year, Mr Titley oversaw a pioneering operation to rebuild the shattered hand of a 22-year-old Scottish soldier, after a bomb blast in Kabul.
During the 17-hour operation, Mr Titley performed a "serratus anterior flap with ribs" procedure on Private Neil McCallion – rebuilding his hand using three of his ribs, muscle and skin from the right side of his torso.
Speaking after he was introduced to the prince, Mr Titley said the pair discussed the growing number of Army patients being treated at the centre and the work carried out there.
"It is a team effort," he said. "Consultants here train the staff who work in the field hospitals."
He added the centre featured a team of specialists from every single department, with a consultant plastic surgeon always on duty.
Fellow consultant plastic surgeon Ruth Waters, said: "The teams out in the field are brilliant. They get trained here and they really save lives. The principles of plastic reconstructive surgery are the same but there are more people coming through with more complex things to do.
"It is the only centre of its kind in the country," she added.
The prince regularly visits the centre and commandant for the RCDM, Brigadier Chris Parker, said: "Once again, Prince Charles was marvellous.
"He was on great form and it was a real morale boost for people here."
A spokeswoman for Prince Charles said: "It was a wonderful opportunity for him to meet injured personnel here and to see how brave they have been to overcome their injuries and how positive they all are."