Press Comment : MGR inquiry completed but publication may be delayed

Jonathan Walker, Political Editor, Birmingham Post, 26th June, 2009

MG Rover enquiry complete... what will come of it?

MG Rover enquiry complete... what will come of it?

The inquiry into the collapse of MG Rover has completed its work – but we may still have to wait to discover what it says.

My colleagues on the business desk are working on a story reporting that the inquiry into the collapse of MG Rover has been completed, at a cost of almost £16 million, four years after it began.

The collapse of the Birmingham carmaker in 2005 directly cost around 5200 jobs according to the National Audit Office, which measured the number of former MG Rover staff who signed on for Jobseekers Allowance. Their 2006 report (a 1.38mb PDF download) is here.

The Government has revealed that a new report setting out the findings of an official inquiry into MG Rover is now in the hands of Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, in a Parliamentary written answer to Richard Burden (Lab), the Northfield MP who has been increasingly vocal in demanding its publication.

Business Minister Ian Lucas said in the written answer: “The inspectors delivered their report on 11 June 2009. It will be for my noble Friend the Secretary of State to consider its findings and next steps.”

The steps Lord Mandelson will take obviously depend on what the report says.

The Government has revealed that a new report setting out the findings of an official inquiry into MG Rover is now in the hands of Lord Mandelson

I say there could be a delay before it is published because the report’s findings will determine whether any further action is needed. If it is needed, then the publication of the report could be considered prejudicial to that action.

The inquiry was ordered by the Business Secretary (at that time, Alan Johnson) under section 432(2) of the Companies Act 1985.

The Act states that the Secretary of State may appoint inspectors to investigate the affairs of a company “if it appears to him that there are circumstances suggesting–

“(a) that the company’s affairs are being or have been conducted with intent to defraud its creditors or the creditors of any other person, or otherwise for a fraudulent or unlawful purpose, or in a manner which is unfairly prejudicial to some part of its members, or

“(b) that any actual or proposed act or omission of the company (including an act or omission on its behalf) is or would be so prejudicial, or that the company was formed for any fraudulent or unlawful purpose, or

“(c) that persons concerned with the company’s formation or the management of its affairs have in connection therewith been guilty of fraud, misfeasance or other misconduct towards it or towards its members, or

“(d) that the company’s members have not been given all the information with respect to its affairs which they might reasonably expect.”

The inspectors – led in this case by Gervase MacGregor, of Accountants BDO Stoy Hayward, and barrister Guy Newey QC – will have considered whether any such circumstances exist, and presented their findings to Lord Mandelson, who now has to decide what to do next.

[Source: Birmingham Post.net]

Posted in: AROnline News, MG Rover
Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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  1. Mark Baxter says:

    What a total waste of taxpayers’ money – if the £16m. had been used at the time maybe a deal with the Chinese could have been done instead of the pathetic company that now remains.

  2. jonboy4969 says:

    That PATHETIC company, as you call it, employs people here in the UK and China, makes cars here in the UK and China and will be building new cars here in the UK. If it were not for this PATHETIC company, there would be NO MGs. You cannot expect the company to be reborn building 250,000 cars a year from next to nothing….

    Like they say, from small acorns etc etc..

    I am happy that this PATHETIC company is here, now, doing what it does, with new models coming forward, rather than nothing at all.

  3. Merlin Milner says:

    I hope that the National Audit Office looks into why it cost £16m and took four years. Can someone, in the know, explain why it can cost £16m for this investigation? The report must contain the costing for this investigation.

  4. £16 million would have been better put towards the development cost of a new Metro replacement.

  5. Chris Chapman says:

    Don’t bet on seeing it this side of the General Election. At least they seem to be saving a lot of the £2,300 million promised amid a great PR puff to support the motor industry – amount spent so far £0.00 ignoring the rather cynically self-funded Scrappage Scheme… Pity Mandy can’t, apparently, see his way to letting LDV have a few more groats.

  6. Alicecat says:

    @Glyn Scothern
    The point is that the £16m, whether wasted or not, was spent as a result of the collapse. Nobody offered it to MGR themselves and it never fell into their hands so suggesting it might have helped the company is nonsensical.

    This is the type of logic I often saw applied within the company and was why I knew I was joining a failing company in 1989 and leaving one in 2000. I will never forgive BMW for the arrogant way in which they treated us and don’t think much of the cowboys who bought the outfit next – it was always destined to fail and the last players just spurred on the end.

  7. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Alicecat
    It’s always interesting to hear the views of an insider in this way. The impression of the company being raped by BMW is one I have always had as a casual observer, although I have heard a flip side of that from ex-BMW employees who have said that Rover management just wouldn’t listen. I suspect that maybe the truth is somewhere between the two… After all, I tend not to listen to people who treat me with arrogance!

    I did think that the Government should have done more to help at the time of the collapse; after all Renault are now quite a strong outfit after decades of government subsidies. However, given what has happened to the automotive industry in general since, you’d have to think that any help then would simply have delayed the inevitable.

  8. Ken Strachan says:

    Mark, are you referring to Renault’s “vested interests” – or should that read STRONG?

  9. @Ken Strachan
    Ken, I missed that one! However, I have now altered “string” to “strong” as Mark presumably intended.

  10. Mark R says:

    The question was always when would MG Rover fail. I am sure BMW knew they would fail when they sold it for £10 and I suspect that the Goverment and the management knew they would as well.

    They were never big enough to survive on their own – the same goes for LDV and I suspect Saab will go the same way. The future of Jaguar and Land Rover must be in doubt in the long term unless they can find a partner to provide new platforms and share the development cost.

    In conclusion, a waste of £16m of taxpayers, money. Why are the Government so frightened to tell us what we already know?

  11. Ayd says:

    The additional crime here is the Government’s total lack of understanding of what was ‘given away’ for £50m to the Chinese companies. £50m would have meant the intellectual property, including the brands from Austin to MG, would have remained British and could have been licensed to any future manufacturer creating passive income. £50m is nothing considering the billions that have been wasted bailing out the banking system. 100 years of production and they just gave it away…

  12. Mark says:

    It’s a sick joke from start to finish and we all know it.

    Mandelson will be more than happy to sweep this whole palaver away thanks very much. I don’t think he could be bothered at all with something as grimy as the car industry.

    What’s the likelihood of any fraud allegation being proven? The investigation will say Phoenix was sold a sinking ship etc., etc..

    The French auto industry has had Euros foisted on it under one guise or another for decades. Trust the British to play by the Euro regulations – ‘subsidise Rover… not allowed you know’.

    Should have got a new Michael Edwardes with some real teeth in there and done the unpleasant job of thinning the workforce, cutting the old models and pushing on with good upcoming models.

    Poor management compounded by a Government too scared of a money pit to do anything at all…

  13. Chris says:

    Never agreed with venture companies taking over businesses – they only look at pound signs and don’t care about the actual company or its workforce.

    BMW were doomed because they didn’t understand how to run a large volume company and how much investment it would take to modernise this ailing megalith. It was a dream of someone who had the power and position within BMW but not the wherewithall to see the underlying problems – and it cost him his job.

    I agree with Mark – they needed a new Michael Edwardes (and the Government resources to initiate a recovery)to revitalise/ modernise this once proud company who was part of our motoring heritage. It needed action not spin to achieve and a person who would do what was necessary (not politically expedient) to restructure Rover into a viable force once more.

    Sadly, it all went pear-shaped and now we suffer the consequences.

  14. James Riley James says:

    The problem is that, as we have seen with nearly every major manufacturer in recent months (and not just tiddlers like MGR), it clearly costs more to develop and produce cars than can ever be recouped in the prices at point of sale – otherwise any business, however big, should be able to survive and prosper.

    Giants such as GM, Ford and Toyota all make massive losses and yet they have good products. People slate BMC when they allegedly sold the Mini at a loss on every unit – but, these days, all the manufacturers make a loss on every unit otherwise they wouldn’t be in the turmoil they are in. People want overengineered, bullet proof, uber-luxurious cars but they aren’t prepared to pay for them.

    Clearly the maths are wrong somewhere, because people claim it costs a pittance to produce a car yet all the manufacturers plunge into losses when sales dip even slightly – how can they get it so wrong?

  15. James Riley James says:

    And as for MGR – they didn’t invest so they simply made losses on each car sold because it cost them more to make them than they sold the cars for – a simple equation and one that was destined to lead to failure from the start – everyone knew it or should have known it – but this doesn’t explain why the majors are suffering in the same way.

    A car costing £1billion will need to sell a million units at a £1000 profit just to cover even the cost of development let alone the continuing cost of production. Does it really cost £1billion to develop what is essentially an oversized tin washing machine on wheels with seats and fancy interior plastics to make it look more substantial than it really is? No, of course not, but the manufacturers continue to spend the money…

  16. James Riley James says:

    Ayd :The additional crime here is the Government’s total lack of understanding of what was ‘given away’ for £50m to the Chinese companies. £50m would have meant the intellectual property, including the brands from Austin to MG, would have remained British and could have been licensed to any future manufacturer creating passive income. £50m is nothing considering the billions that have been wasted bailing out the banking system. 100 years of production and they just gave it away…

    In fairness, what the Chinese bought were some decent designs but none of MGR designs contained any particularly outstanding IP – any cutting edge or technologically advanced items of engineering in MGR products was bought in.

    In essence, the Chinese got some pretty but outdated car blueprints and plant equipment that was long past its best – if the Government had stumped up £50m to keep the company British what would have happened then? Someone had to fund continued production, energy bills, salary costs for products that weren’t selling. Nobody stepped forward and seriously offered to do this in the UK and for good reason – it would have meant commercial suicide.

    Quite simply people no longer wanted the products MGR sold and supply and demand dictates the end of that story – what cannot be so easily explained is how all the other manufacturers who WERE selling the cars that people DID want are now going the same way as MGR – perhaps it really brings home just how well MGR did to stay in operation beyond the 18 months everyone said they would last.

    RDX60 might have been lauded as the potential saviour but was it any better than a Focus or Astra? I doubt it and those cars haven’t saved their makers regardless of sales numbers.

  17. Daryl Misselbrook says:

    MG Rover would never have survived. Phoenix acted like venture capitalists in the end, as ‘four legs’ at the start of their tenure. In simple economic terms, how could they have ever envisaged maintaining the wages of hundreds of surplus workers?

    The company struggled in a time of prosperity because the Directors surfed an initial wave of optimism and waited for that wave to crash to shore. Instead of working hard to run the company as a business, MG Rover became an ego project (the Directors reached an extreme at the end, as asset strippers – did they always envisage an end from which they would profit?).

    On the subject of Renault, it has never been run as a business and, whilst it has made efforts to modernise, its lacklustre design ethos reflects the Directors’ complacency over what is relevant to consumers. The new Laguna is the French Rover 400. They will either need Nissan to save them, or will shrivel into another partner. Maybe they will end up facelifting old models ad infinitum. I wince whenever I see the interiors of the last Rover 25s and 45s – so poor, so many panels.

    I don’t think we’ll be surprised about the findings of the report. The culprits have already gotten away with the whole thing. The Chinese were duped and the clever thing is that they were lead to believe that they were the economic predators.

  18. Chris says:

    The situation is down to simple economics: too many cars and too few customers.

    The industry has been dominated by scales of economy dictated by analysts who have worked out that profitability equates to high turnover and reducing cost per unit by continuous production at ever increasing levels.

    The obvious flaw in this is that you have to sell what you make, whether by discounting or pre-registering and selling on. If your market dries up, then your in serious trouble as has been demonstrated by the collapse of the SUV market in the US.

    The volume car industry will have to get a lot leaner and reduce capacity before they can return to profit. Those that cannot make the necessary changes will be bankrupted or consumed by those who have.

  19. Steve McGill says:

    @jonboy4969
    It is a pathetic company which employs only a handful of people in the UK and has little or no chance of ever producing cars in any volume again in Britain. I couldn’t give a toss about China – they are the parasites as far I am concerned. Longbridge is now a ghostown and a tiny, sad, little shadow of its former self. I would call that pathetic!

  20. Steve McGill says:

    @James
    MG Rover failed because the company’s product range was so old and the customer base for them was falling rapidly, not just because they weren’t making a profit on them.

  21. Stefan Overy says:

    So have the Chinese actually paid up the pitiful £50 million yet? Last I heard they’d paid less than half.

    I personally think Blair (and previous Governments going back to Thatcher *spits*) should be lynched for what they allowed to happen.

    As said, the French car industry DEPENDS on Government subsidies (against EU competition rules iirc) and has done for decades.

    As for all this stuff about the “outdated” MGR product range, I personally think they did a damned good job of keeping those platforms alive. If they didn’t sell, then why is it that I see MGR cars where ever I go every day without fail?

    There isn’t a simple reason for their collapse (just like most problems in the world, despite what the Mail would have you believe 🙂 ) but, in my view, the main architects of MGR’s destruction were:

    Thatcher
    BAe
    BMW
    Phoenix 4 (Mr. Towers in particular)
    The Chinese (who were playing MGR along until they went under)
    Blair

  22. Stefan Overy says:

    @Steve McGill

    But why was the product range outdated…?

  23. Maffc says:

    Stefan Overy :@Steve McGill
    But why was the product range outdated…?

    Why indeed? Was it really outdated or is it just that customers are fed expectations that aren’t really sustainable by them or the manufacturers?

    My first car was a 1.0l supermini – basic but it did just what I wanted, was nippy and economical and gave me the freedom of personal transport.

    Recently my wife bought the 4th gen descendant of that car with a 1.2l engine. With 20% extra power it should’ve have been nippier. But no. 20 years of expectation have added aircon, power steering electric windows – all as standard, all adding weight and all adding cost to both manufacturer and customer and making the car more sluggish and the mpg is no better.

    Is it, then, fair to say the 20yr old car was outdated when it fulfilled its primary purpose in a marginally better way?

  24. Dolomitefan says:

    It does not take £16m of taxpayers’ money to work out that MGR were selling too few cars that no one wanted to buy. As a former Rover and MG owner, I can say that, particularly in the later years, the cars really had very little going for them when stacked up against the rivals. Yes, they were different but they were expensive and tended to be made from poor quality components.

    As has been mentioned before, I do fear for Saab and JLR but, if market forces are such that companies fail, why should UK PLC prop them up?

  25. Paul says:

    £16m is a drop in the ocean. MGR was burning through around £5m a week leading up to receivership. It’s unlikely this would have made any difference to the Chinese who already owned the rights to manufacture the cars. It was in their interest to let MGR go to the wall knowing that, once the company was in receivership, they could pick over the bones and get their hands on the production facilities without picking up any of the liabilities.

  26. Ross Armstrong says:

    Mark R :
    The question was always when would MG Rover fail. I am sure BMW knew they would fail when they sold it for £10 and I suspect that the Goverment and the management knew they would as well.

    They were never big enough to survive on their own – the same goes for LDV and I suspect Saab will go the same way. The future of Jaguar and Land Rover must be in doubt in the long term unless they can find a partner to provide new platforms and share the development cost.

    In conclusion, a waste of £16m of taxpayers, money. Why are the Government so frightened to tell us what we already know?

    That’s precisely why the linkup between Alfa Romeo and Jaguar makes sense. Jaguar, at least, to develop the large chassis and powertrains, Fiat to produce the smaller lightweight clean engines and chassis or whatever combination… it could be a dream made in heaven. Mind you, given the aforementioned BMW vs Rover debacle, it could even be one big nightmare…

  27. Mark says:

    Despite my enjoyment of the facelifted ZS I have, it needed serious development to compete in this decades market.

    I think that, the minute BMW washed their hands, the search should have been on to replace 45/ZS and 25/ZR with some rebadged, SERIOUSLY upgraded Korean stuff (ie: [don’t roll your eyes – this is just a suggestion] Shuma II with a decent front end for the 25 and Magentis for the 45).

    I know this sounds shocking but I’m sure Kia or whoever would have been more than happy with extra volume and Rover would have products at a fixed price (benefiting from Far East low costs) without worrying about the economics.

    They could then have concentrated on the flagship 75 and TF. Yes, redundancies would have been needed and the press would be cruel initially but the British have been buying German-built Vauxhalls and Indonesian Fords for ages.

    I think this kind of strategy would have given MGR the breathing space they needed and some new liquidity to get those new models developed – maybe with some help from the likes of Hyundai – or is it Kia? – who now have a sparklingly amazing factory in Europe that could have been turning out rebadged mid-range cars to this day.

    MGR could have concentrated on the more high-end models here and the specialist tweaking of their rebadged imports (MG tuning à la Prodrive/Lotus), whilst developing their own new ranges at a pace that suited them.

    That’s what I would have done anyway…

  28. Alex Scott says:

    I think that the Phoenix Four took too much money out for themselves but that there were also too may car variations. I think they should have not bothered with the CityRover, they should have dumped the 45 /ZS and just made two car ranges: the 25 / ZR and the 75 / ZT and made them well.

    The other things might then have fallen into place nicely and then there might have been more money to update the 25 on a new platform. They probably should have paid more attention to partnerships earlier on. The engines, for example, could have been supplied by anyone.

    The features that make Rovers attractive are conservative styling that doesn’t date, lots of luxury and good allround handling. The cars needed to be very reliable with no perception that they are unreliable. The latter probably didn’t help – even if the cars were reliable, the perception was that they were not reliable.

    I also reckon that fitting the Freelander AWD gearbox into the ZT would have found more friends in the market than the V8 did.

  29. James Riley James says:

    The whole auto industry has turned into a money machine and forgotten it’s core purpose – which is to manufacture vehicles that not only fit the customer purpose but also attract customer interest to buy one.

    Instead, it is a tale of two cities, one who are the beancounters where simple, cold hard profit and cost is king, and the other, the engineers who have lost all sight of what they are making and stuff their cars full to the brim with overengineered, unnecessary, heavy equipment that makes care less efficient in real terms than they were 20 years ago and more prone to customer complaint because of the complexity of the design. A culmination of the primary focus being on the financials and the engineers working overtime to eat into what profit margin there might be has led to the industry being in crisis.

    It isn’t helped by the interference in the market of the state which seeks to prop up businesses that, following the model of survival of the fittest, should disappear – instead those businesses continue to add to the overcapacity problem in the industry and so the whole problem continues unabated. I drive a Hyundai i10 at the moment – it weighs probably twice as much as an original Mini, is slower, less efficient (in the real world) and doesn’t particulary add anything extra into the mix that the Mini could already do – sure, it’s safer, but only because it has to be because most other cars you’re likely to crash into these days are equally bloated and tanklike.

    There are so many problems in the car industry today that it is hard to focus on the priorities but, at the end of the day, it is simply a manufacturing industry making products to suit a purpose – a shame then that it seems to have lost sight of that simple but fundamental fact.

  30. James Riley James says:

    Alex Scott :I think that the Phoenix Four took too much money out for themselves but that there were also too may car variations. I think they should have not bothered with the CityRover, they should have dumped the 45 /ZS and just made two car ranges: the 25 / ZR and the 75 / ZT and made them well.

    The other things might then have fallen into place nicely and then there might have been more money to update the 25 on a new platform. They probably should have paid more attention to partnerships earlier on. The engines, for example, could have been supplied by anyone.

    The features that make Rovers attractive are conservative styling that doesn’t date, lots of luxury and good allround handling. The cars needed to be very reliable with no perception that they are unreliable.

    The latter probably didn’t help – even if the cars were reliable, the perception was that they were not reliable.

    I also reckon that fitting the Freelander AWD gearbox into the ZT would have found more friends in the market than the V8 did.

    I agree – MGR should have introduced the 2004 facelifted 25 in 2000 – should have worked on the minor but crucial changes to the package that caused so much negativity in the press, such as the seating positions, pedals arrangements, fit and finish and perceived quality of the materials – they could have done this I’m sure if they had spent every hour of the early days focusing on these things.

    The 45 should have received the same treatment – it was old but, in 2000, it wasn’t completely outclassed and they didn’t focus on the strengths it did have, which were superior ride and handling. MGR continued to market it as if it was a clear contender at the top of the market and priced it accordingly.

    MGR should have acknowledged where both models sat in the market (I mean really sat, not the delusion) and made that place in the market their own with considered marketing. It wouldn’t have changed the position regarding R&D funding, but this strengthening of their core values and clear direction would certainly have helped them tout their business as viable and one worth investing in.

    As it was, apart from a flurry of brief public affection and press in 2000, MG Rover seemed to just pick up the baton of Rover Group and carry on exactly as before – which was both arrogant and helped cement the belief that the people running the show didn’t really have a clue about the modern car market. They weren’t brave enough to reduce the workforce which hurt everyone in the business rather than the necessary few who should have gone.

    The confusing brand image that resulted in the 90’s strategy of making Rover some kind of retro-British “golden age” brand didn’t help – from the 1960’s onwards Rover had been a very progressive marque, with the P6, SD1, 800 and, to a great extent, the early ‘grille-less’ R8 range.

    This reduced their customer demographic further and, whilst this might work when you’re aiming for high-end VW/Audi type customers, it didn’t work for Rover who ended up making themselves attractive to those mainly of pensionable age – which will not create repeat-purchase anywhere near as regularly as the younger fashion conscious generation.

    How many 20s something young and trendies, for example, buy a car to keep for 10-15 years? Having tens of thousands of R8s in the loving hands of 60+ somethings wasn’t helping Rover’s cashflow.

    The second and probably most damaging strategy was that of their public relations. Reliability concerns can come about simply by perception and Rover and MG Rover made hardly any effort to stave off such rumours even when they probably could legitimately have claimed to be no worse than some more mainstream peers.

    Bungled press interviews and TV appearances backed up even more the perception that MG Rover really hadn’t learned anything since its dark BL days and thus it bore the burden of BL’s questionable reputation on cars that were really much more deserving of positive praise.

  31. Hilton says:

    I think the money (£16m) could have been “loaned” to MGR (plus a few bob more)to help seal the China SAIC deal and they would still be British and making “British” cars. That’s, after all, what MGR asked of the Government in their final days. This Government was quick to bale out the corrupt banks with billions – not millions.

    I don’t think MG Motor UK is a pathetic company. Given time after the recession, I’m hopeful of it building more MG cars into the future…

  32. Mark says:

    Ooh,ooh, they’re getting the SFO involved now… maybe the Funboy Four will come unstuck after all. Something to do with pocketing £40m for themselves and running off.

    Who knows, even though £16m has been racked up already, there might be some penalty. Maybe even enough to cover the enquiry. Getting a few quid more to boost jobseekers in the Midlands is probably too much to ask, sadly.

  33. Mark R says:

    Would the £40 million trousered by the Four have made any difference to the company in the long term? At the rate that cash was being burnt it would have kept the operation going for a few more weeks. I don’t think BMW expected any of their cash back – they were just relieved to walk away from it with others taking the blame.

    With hindsight errors were made with model development and marketing but, without the cash to develop a new model, I doubt whether they made a hugh difference to the final outcome.

  34. Lord Sward says:

    There was a deal – and money – on the table to save MG Rover before the collapse but it would seem the deal was just too politically sensitive for this Government to handle. I’d guess that the Phoenix Team (inc. HOWE) are going to be the whipping boys for the ultimate failure and not just the manufacturing mess.

  35. Umm… An interesting point about political sensitivity. I wonder where MG Rover Group Limited might have been now if the collapse had not occurred a matter of weeks before the General Election in 2005.

    I am beginning to think that the Phoenix Four might have a point about HMG seeking to delay publication of the “Rover Report” until after the next General Election…

  36. Martin Green says:

    I drive a Rover 75 Tourer diesel. It is the best car I have ever owned. I have done 141,000 miles in the car and it’s now 7 years old. My 75 still has the same exhaust, battery, steering – everything and I mean every thing for nearly 7 times around the world. Pure brilliance. I cannot understand why people say that Rovers were poor quality. That’s rubbish – people bashing British cars again….shame on you. I am only 40 years old and have been buying Rovers for 20 years and they are pure engineering class.

    What I am talking about is making a car with £4.50 in the bank that can still cut it. BMW, Audi, Lexus could never do that – they need investment. Remember Rover had 1/2 billion in the bank on take over from BMW, not enough to set up a new car platform at all with around 1 billion per car required.

    It’s all about the money… why did JC off Top Gear continuously slag off Rover? The public believed him and stayed away and bought cheap foreign runarounds. I, for one, can still get a brand new old stock Rover 75 built in 2005 with delivery mileage only and will be getting one of these very shortly. That’s how good the Rover 75 was.
    I always believed in Rover and the cars always delivered the goods if you gave them the chance.

    Our grandchildren will have nothing with all the metal bashing and call centres disappearing to India etc. so rapidly – we will have nothing to support ourselves. WATCH AND LEARN BY YOUR MISTAKES.

  37. Ian Perry says:

    @Martin Green

    I was at the (long since former MGR) dealer from which I bought my 54 plate 2005 75 Connoisseur Tourer the other day and, having smiled at seeing my old 45 Impression in the showroom (bless), was told that there are STILL some ‘new’ 75s out there. Where? This is fascinating stuff, although one of the staff said who would want to buy a car that had sat for five years? Well, with the right fettling and if I wasn’t 3 weeks into my new steed, I’d be in! Is this one of the UK’s best kept motoring secrets?

  38. Martin Green says:

    SMG Rover in Bristol on 01173 111100 still have 10 brand new old and new shape MG ZT and Rover 75 models with diesel, 1.8 Turbo and 2.5 petrol engines in stock. ALL SPARKLING!

    These are all available in Starlight Silver, Pearl Black, Ignition Blue and Platinum Gold. SMG even have a V8 build number 702 – one of only 803 to have been built. All have just delivery miles and the 8 facelifted cars are on 2008 08 registrations with life-time warranties.

    A.E Wilcox of Wickwar on 01454 294213 still have some new Rover 45s on 2008 08 plates in stock – THESE ARE THE VERY VERY LAST BRAND NEW ROVERS AVAILABLE!

  39. @Martin Green

    I have just checked the Used Car Stock List on A.E.Wilcox and Son Limited’s website:
    http://www.aewilcox.co.uk/newwilcoxusedcarsall08.html

    No 08/08 Rover 45s are listed – I guess that any remaining cars have now been sold.

    However, SMG Rover in Bristol do, indeed, have four 08/08 MG ZTs and four 08/08 Rover 75s in stock with prices ranging from £12,995 for a ZT 120 to £30,995 for the 75 4.6 V8 Connoisseur SE which you mentioned. See:
    http://users.autoexposure.co.uk/smgrover/search.cfm?

    SMG Rover’s Used Car Stock List also includes the likes of an 02/02 2002 Rover 75 2.0 CDT Turbo Diesel Club 4 Door Saloon with just 560 miles on the clock for £11,495 and a pre-facelift 04/54 Rover 75 Club SE T 4 Door Saloon with delivery miles for £14,995!!

    Mind you, my contacts in the Motor Trade all seem to work by the mantra “Move the metal” so one imagines that the guys at SMG Rover should be pretty keen to negotiate on those prices…

  40. Martin Green says:

    There are two Rover 45s at A.E. Wilcox but they are not on the website. Their number plates are and quote these:

    WX08 DXF
    WX08 DXG

    Ask for Jon or Tim, mention these number plates and they will provide all the details. One of these two is the last Rover 45 off the line – I think it’s WX08 DXG and has the Chassis No. 657815.

  41. Martin Green says:

    Here is my article for the Rover Owners’ Club’s website:
    http://www.rovertorque.co.uk/lastrov.html

  42. Gary H says:

    The company was sliding into terminal decline and yet anyone could see the potential. What would the cars look like now if:-

    a) MGR simply carried along as it was

    b) The company could have had the investment and made any new cars they wanted?

    Worth remembering that the 75 had a very good reputation…

  43. Rufor says:

    Super post, need to mark it on Digg.
    Rufor

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