Blog: A bargain if ever I saw one…

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

rover_75_v8_6

WHAT does £40m buy you these days? If you’re in the car industry, not very much. If you’re a wag, you could possibly say it buys almost three years of MGR research and development, but well, that would be cruel…

In reality, £40m amounts to very little, when you consider the budgets companies such as Ford, GM and Toyota have at hand to play with. I bet Toyota are prepared to lose that much money on Prius sales every year in the USA. As I said, in automotive terms, £40m is spare change. Consider what it cost VAG to develop its new range of FSI and EuroIV TDI engines, and you get the idea…

However, if our friends at AUTOCAR are to be believed (and they’re usually on the ball), then £40m has bought rather a lot for the Chinese.

They say: “Autocar has learned that MGR has already sold the rights to the 75 platform and production line and the Powertrain division’s engine technology to SAIC. It’s not been revealed to what extent SAIC now owns the 75 and the engine range and whether these rights extend beyond the immediate Chinese market. Newspaper reports have insisted the deal was completed for just £40m.”

MGR has already sold the rights to the
75 platform and production line and the
Powertrain division’s engine
technology to SAIC.

Think about that for a moment. MGR has just completed the sale of the Longbridge plant to property developers, St Modwen, and now it seems that it has practically given away ALL of its car and engine technology to SAIC. In other words, if this is correct, the K-Series engine – that revolutionary powerplant – is now Chinese, the class-leading 75 drivetrain, suspension set-up and body is now Chinese.

This is excellent news for the Chinese and their Joint Venture company, but what does it mean for Rover?

What MGR management tells us about the deal is MGR will design cars for SAIC and they will get built in China and at Longbridge – but as far as I can see, MGR actually doesn’t own anything anymore (or that will certainly be the case after the SAIC deal is inked).

We need to see how this deal pans out, right now, it looks like MG Rover sold the family silver, as well as everything else in the cupboard to the Chinese in exchange for the continued existance of the (Chinese owned) Rover name, and car production at Longbridge.

Jobs maintained in the West Midlands is good, but I can’t help wondering about how it all went wrong and we ended up in this position…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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