For Rovers the launching of the new car represents the biggest revolution in plant and production methods in their history. The development programme has occupied five years, during which £10,600,000 has been invested in the new car, a new factory built at Solihull, Warwickshire, and a 456,000 sq. ft. depot for spare parts at Pengam, Glamorgan.
Potential capacity of the factory is 550 cars a week-or one car in just over four minutes. The plant has been in limited operation for 12 months, and secret new models have been out on test all over Britain and the Continent. They have been spotted and photographed by rival manufacturers, and discussed in foreign technical journals. But with covered nameplates and unpainted bodies, the prototypes have often been taken for some Continental model, usually of Italian origin. Unhappily the man who had the greatest influence in the development and general appearance of the Rover 2000, Mr Maurice Wilks, the company’s late chairman, did not live to see the car launched today.
His son, Mr Peter Wilks, was responsible for the overall coordination of the project, and the chief stylist was Mr David Bache.
Introducing the Rover 2000 yesterday, Mr William Martin-Hurst ,managing director, said : “Into this car we have put all our engineering know-how and skills. We have built 15 prototypes , which have been driven in the aggregate more than 445,000 miles in this country and abroad. Pre-production cars have been driven over 200,000 miles and 268,000 miles have been covered at high speed on motorways.”