Well, it was certainly an interesting weekend.
We now know that SAIC/Magma are going for MG Rover, and intend to build a similar company in the UK (with Martin Leach heading the management chain), as it intended to with MG Rover. The only difference being that there will be no pensions or other liabilities for the Chinese to worry about – and it probably doesn’t even need to give anyone guarantees about continued car production in the UK. Yes, it’s a Chinese takeaway, but I guess it’s employment and continued car production in Birmingham. SAIC has confirmed car production will continue in the UK, although won’t commit to numbers for obvious reasons.
Then we have Nanjing. Advised by our own Nick Stephenson and cogniscent of all the skeletons in the MGR cupboard, its PR people went out on the offensive over the weekend, publishing design sketches (produced with British consultants, ARUP, and seen wearing ‘AUSTIN’ badges, two weeks ago by an austin-rover.co.uk correspondent) illustrating the range it intends to build over here if PwC gives it the green light. There seems to be a refreshing consistency in Nanjing’s dealings with the press – and its plans don’t seem to have changed over time…
Then we have the English contingent – led by Triple-A (Martyn Moseley and Krish Bhaksar) and David James.
Confusion reigns over this, not least because both parties claim to be talking to PwC – whereas PwC states that it is only dealing with one UK-based bidder. One thing is for sure, Triple-A certainly believes it is in the race to win MG Rover, and with a product plan based around the Lotus VVA system (as proposed by Chapman Automotive some time back) there is much interest here. There’s also talk of substantial investment from Taiwan and the USA – which is nice. If contracts are won on the strength of a bidder’s openness, then Triple A would be ahead at the winning post….
David James – well, who knows here. It seems like a sound and viable bid to re-build MG as a solid small-scale producer, but without much needed backing from the Department of Trade and Industry (for an estimated £80m), then it probably won’t be able to continue…
We know for definite that SAIC and Nanjing have placed official offers with PwC, and it is said Triple A did the same last week. But either way, whoever wins the hearts, minds and wallets of PwC, please can we get some production back into Longbridge – and an end to this interminable waiting. Either it’s dead or it isn’t – but this limbo is bad for one’s state of mind…
I hear tomorrow’s the day, but we’ll see
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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