Just after 6.00 this evening, the news finally came through – Nanjing had bought MG Rover’s assets in a deal brokered by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It seemed fitting that I had been returning from Gaydon on a day that I had met the chaps from Retro Cars magazine to discuss the past, present and future of MG Rover, and what it was about the company and its antecedents that seemed to engender such passion in people.
We came to a few conclusions during the day, but one main one was that the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon should be renamed the Boulevard of Broken Dreams on account of its huge collection of interesting ‘might have beens’. It kinds summed up all that was good and bad about the company during the last 100 years, really. During the day, I also met up with Roy Axe, and speaking to hom again makes one wonder what could have been if only the government had allowed Musgrove, Axe and Snowdon to see their plans into fruition. I guess it’s another ‘if only’ to chalk up in the great good of BMC>Rover ‘if onlys’…
It will be interesting to see what Nanjing does with Longbridge and MG Rover. Some people are suggesting that there is the distinct possibility of a re-launch of the ‘Austin’ marque, as well as further development of the MG marque. The purchase has raised many more questions than it has answered, and it remains to be seen how the Chinese company will handle Longbridge – and whether production of any of the existing lines will re-commence. I suspect given SAIC’s protestations over the IPRs it is alleged to own, there could well need to be an accomodation reached between two companies, which nearly got into bed with each other during the latter stages of the MG Rover Joint Venture Company (JVC).
I certainly welcome the news that the process of administration is coming to a close, and a buyer has been found for MG Rover – and hope Longbridge continues to build cars, as well as becomes some kind of centre of excellence for a Chinese company with global ambitions.
But, despite the Longbridge announcement and the potential recovery, I can’t help but be sad and think about what might have been…
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.
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