By David Benson
The MG BADGE is to be dropped from the Rover car line-up. It will not be used again until the company produces a full-blown MG sports car some time in the late Nineties. The first of the present model names to go will be the MG Metro and MG Metro Turbo when the revised Metro range is launched in May. The MG Monlego and MG Maestro will also be dropped when these two cars are replaced â€” probably next year.
“MG is a separate marque in its own right, not a name lo be used for cynical badge engineering on mass-produced cars,” said Rover’s commercial director Kevin Morley. “Rover is also our main marque and we do not want to dilute the importance of the name.”
This latest move completes Sir Graham Day’s plan to divorce the new privatised Rover Group from all associations with the black days of the nationalised British Leyland company. The Morris name was dropped by Sir Michael Edwardes when he changed the group name to BL. Then Sir Graham changed BL to Rover Group and last year dropped the Austin name from the cars and the dealer signs. His declared intention is to use the Rover marque with its quality connotations to move the whole group up market and turn it into a rival to BMW.
“Our new Metro will be known as the Rover Metro,” said Mr Morley. “But we will only be keeping the Metro name for’ the United Kingdom where has an established reputation.”