NEW YORK TIMES
Published: Monday, February 7, 1994
The Honda Motor Company has threatened to pull out of its partnership with Rover if Rover ceases to be a British company after BMW buys a big stake in it. Honda’s president and chief executive, Nobuhiko Kawamoto, said in a BBC television interview today that his company, which owns 20 percent of Rover, would not be interested in a relationship with Rover if it were controlled by BMW.
Last week, BMW paid about $1.2 billion for an 80 percent stake in the company, the last large British-owned car maker. Honda, which had been seeking to double its 20 percent stake, was said to have been furious about the deal at first. But it said later that it was willing to talk with BMW.
The chairman of BMW, Bernd Pischetsrieder, minimized the threat, saying his company was eager for Rover and Honda to continue their relationship. “We are all businessmen, and we are all responsible for our shareholders’ money,” he said.
Asked what it would mean if Honda walked away, Mr. Pischetsrieder replied, “I think it would mean, for Rover as well as for Honda, tremendous losses and I think it would be irresponsible to accept this.”