Tata : No Rover revival for European launch in 2010

Tata’s Prima concept – taking Tata upmarket but why not use Rover for that role?

Tata’s Prima concept – taking Tata upmarket but why not use Rover for that role?

Newspress has reported that Tata Motors Limited is preparing for a full-scale European launch – including the UK – in 2010, with both the tiny Nano city car and a fully-revised Indica B-segment hatchback – including an electric version.

However, according to Newspress, the launch will not use the Rover brand – which Tata acquired through its purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover. Instead, the Tata brand will be used worldwide for small cars.

Tata Motors’ Chairman Ratan Tata was at this week’s Geneva Motor Show to unveil a revised ‘Europa’ version of the tiny Nano, which will go on sale in India, priced around $2000, in April. It’s just 3.29 metres long and 1.58 metres wide, but the Tata Nano Europa has a slightly longer wheelbase of 2.28 metres.

The launch will not use the Rover brand – which Tata acquired through its purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover. Instead, the Tata brand will be used worldwide for small cars.

The biggest changes are under the skin. The Nano Europa will be powered by a 3-cylinder all-aluminium MPFI engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission and electric power steering. This will address one of the complaints about the Nano – that it’s not as green as it could be. Ratan Tata said the gasoline engine will provide CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km. Inside the car, fit and finish has been enhanced over the India-market Nano, and the Nano Europa has ABS, ESP and air bags.

Tata Motors also exhibited a concept C-segment saloon, the Tata Prima. Styled by Pininfarina, the Prima is expected to go into production around 2012 and will form part of the Tata range alongside the Nano and Indica.

The battery-electric Indica Vista EV is a true four-seater, with a predicted range of up to 200km and acceleration of 0-60km/h in under 10 seconds. It is currently undergoing extensive tests in Europe. The EV uses super polymer lithium ion batteries which have superior energy density to conventional batteries. Tata electric vehicles will be produced in association with Miljo Grenland/Innovasjon of Norway. Tata Motors’ UK subsidiary, Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc, has a 70 percent stake in Miljo.

[Source: Newspress]

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.

23 Comments on "Tata : No Rover revival for European launch in 2010"

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  1. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Best to let Rover rest. The CityRover was awful. Better for Rover to continue to mean P5, P6, SD1, even R8, etc., than to become Tata’s EU brand. Tata’s probably already got a more saleable reputation in Europe than latter-day Rover.

  2. Alex Scott says:

    I would still like to be able to buy a nice sporty Rover in a few years time. The 827 Vitesse and the Rover 75 were both very good cars while the Tomcat Turbo could have done with slightly better handling but was still nice looking, didn’t look over the top and went like the clappers.

    I’ve got a Jaguar XJ40 at present but I prefer Rovers -they are a little more compact yet different to the run of the mill stuff. I would be quite happy for a Rover to be a rebadged Tata for the smaller cars and, perhaps, a mid-sized car that shared a platform with a smallest Jaguar (B-segment). I think that only 2 or 3 sizes should be made.

  3. Ken Strachan says:

    To me, Tata (apart from meaning “Goodbye”) is still a dreadful brand in Europe.

  4. Jon T Pierce says:

    Are they MAD???? If they do not want to use the Rover brand sell it to someone who does (Nanjing) After all they offered BMW £50 MILLION for the brand ta, ta tata

  5. Leslie says:

    Rover should be reserved for premium segment vehicles. It is the P5 and P6 that people will remember.

    Once Tata have grown their operations and the Austin-segment cars that were badged as Rovers are forgotten, they will be able to revive the Rover brand as the brand to fill in between their Tata cars and the Jaguars. It will also not compromise the name of Land Rover which, although seen as very separate in the minds of those in the UK, will be seen as linked elsewhere in the world where, if you talk of “Rover”, people tend to hear “Land Rover”.

  6. Antonio Valdina says:

    Doesn’t Ford have the Rover brand now?

  7. Gordon says:

    No Antonio. Ford sold it to TATA as a package including Jaguar and Land Rover last year!

  8. Ryan Taylor says:

    I’d love to see the Rover name return, but not on a rebadged Tata, so the decision not to use Rover in 2010 is sad, but probably the right one.

    Rover needs to be used on a high-class executive express, but not a BMW-clone. It needs to stand out from the crowd to give it a distinctive USP.

    Let’s have a modern SD1, I say.

  9. Old Fashioned Gentleman says:

    Quite right too. The keyword here is ‘small cars’ – Rover wouldn’t work for that.

    The smallest car to use the Rover brand should be a Jaguar X-TYPE replacement, but it should be RWD and not Mondeo-based. This would be the perfect opportunity for Tata to use the Rover brand.

  10. Owain Wright says:

    I agree with Old Fashioned Gentleman – even before Ford sold Jaguar to Tata I was thinking that the X-TYPE replacement should be launched as the Rover 85.

  11. Richard says:

    I truly believe I would bring up my breakfast if that drove past me with a Rover badge on it!

  12. Mike says:

    I agree it would be fantastic to see the Rover marque back again (not the dreadful badge of the dying days tho’). Tata should sell to the Chinese whose desire to have a 75 model – they bought one and stripped it to last nut and bolt in order to design one for themselves without owning the rights to 75 – deserves a reward – it might bring work back to Longbridge too.

    If people like Clarkson (spitting feathers) had got behind them instead of knocking them at every opportunity we might have still had a car manafacturer to call our own. I have had many Rovers over the years & not one ever gave me any trouble. My current car is a MG ZR and is a terrific drive! However, if I could find a diesel automatic 75, I would buy in a instant – if you have one no earlier than 04 please lol.

  13. Ric says:

    It’s going to be hard enough to bring back MG. At least this has some marketing potential. Rover represents the old school in the same way that Jaguar did (wood, leather, old, but beautiful, designs, open backed leather driving gloves…). Even Jag have realised that this is now outdated. Rover will never work – let it die and be fondly remembered.

  14. Carlos says:

    There is nothing more I would rather see than a brand new Rover driving down the street. I’m in my early 20s and have owned 6 Rovers up to now and every one had its own character. Most of my generation drive around in Saxos and Clios but pull up in an old 600 Turbo and you show them all up. I say bring back the old days.

  15. Lamsdale says:

    I disagree. Rover only came to symbolise ‘olde worlde’ in the early 90’s through to their demise. Think of the P6, SD1, original 800 – all forward-looking, modern-styled cars. It was when BAe and then BMW tried to veneer ‘Englishness’ onto the cars that the problems really began.

  16. Gary Hitchcock says:

    I agree with alot of the comments above and would love to see the Rover name return. The Tata brand has as much chance of success in Europe as Poland’s FSO had – it is virtually unknown.

    Here’s an idea, though! Tata should sell the Rover name to Shanghai Auto (they’re selling the 75 as a “Roewe” – how stupid is that?), put an electric/hybrid engine in it and re-launch it back into Europe.

    The dreadful K-Series engine killed Rover and don’t forget that, at present, all the Jaguar/Land Rover products owned by Tata were developed and funded by Ford who turned these companies around with good decent engines. However, fast forward to 5-6 years time when these cars have to be replaced by a company that makes the Indica, Nano and a pick up that looks as if it came out of the 1970s Soviet Union and, well, God help us! We might see the Jaguar badge appear on the Hindustan!!

  17. Gary Hitchcock says:

    Just while we’re on the subject of the “Rover’s return” the sale of the Rover brand name is more complex than some of you might think.

    You see, when MG-Rover went to the wall and PricewaterhouseCoopers were called in (April 2005), BMW owned the Rover name and the Phoenix lot were using the said name under licence. BMW then sold the Rover name to Ford who, in turn, sold it along with the Jaguar and Land Rover brands to Tata.

    However, as far as I know the Rover Viking and Longship emblems were not included in the sale. I think think that BMW or Ford still own these so that’s a bit of stumbling block for a Tata re-launch of Rover. All a bit sad and petty really. A pity Rover didn’t stick with the Honda tie-up – they’d still be making cars at Longbridge today – and that BMW got their oar in, basically asset-stripped the company and walked away with prized MINI name…

  18. Jon T Pierce says:

    @Alex Scott
    What’s he on about???? Tata will not have the same appeal in Europe as Tata. I would not buy one and I am sure I am not alone – in a nutshell… It’s not over, Rover!

  19. Jon T Pierce says:

    @Gary Hitchcock
    Nice one Gary, SAIC offered BMW 50 million for the Rover name.

    I have thought the same – if Tata sold the Rover name on to SAIC Motor it would help their funds by recouping a portion of the money spent buying Land Rover from Ford. Tata should either re-launch Rover or sell the brand to SAIC Motor although another option would be an MG ROVER style lease of the Rover name to SAIC Motor.

    Roewe (if that’s how it’s spelt) is not going to take off in Europe – Austin would be a better option. Made up names would not stand a chance in Europe where badges on products from underpants to cars are noted. FOOD FOR THOUGHT PEOPLE.

  20. WillHC says:

    Tata will not sell well in the UK and Europe…

    Tata have the design and engineering of JLR to use. Give us a modern Rover at a reasonable price to start the buying off and use a different take on the badge or a new one – many car companies have changed or modernised their badges over the years, including Rover. Make it stand out from the crowd, give it 4 wheel drive or something. Just bring our Rovers back!!!!

  21. George says:

    its been a long enough wait and now is the perfect time to re-launch rover, make it standout and for heaven sakes dont make it look old like the 75 (as beautiful as it is) do what you have done to jaguar make it look modern and sculptural but with the identity of rover, call it the Phoenix.

  22. WarrenL says:

    I’d so love to see Rover return. It’d make me sigh less when looking at my P6B and 75.

  23. Will M says:

    Rover is an ideal brand for bringing low emission vehicles to market.

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