ROVER FAILS TO END AR6 SPECULATION
Rover yesterday described as “totally speculative” a report that it is considering scrapping development of its new British small car to make a Japanese model instead as a cost cutting measure. But the state-owned company refused to deny outright that the scheduled replacement for the Austin Metro, codenamed AR6, was to be scrapped.
A spokesman said : “We don’t, as a company, talk about product development. That is confidential.”
The newspaper report claimed the Rover chairman , Mr Graham Day, was studying plans to give Honda a slice of Austin Rover equity with a seat on the board as early as next year. The AR6 is due for launch in 1989. Speculation that the vehicle might be scrapped brought condemnation from senior Labour backbencher Mr Doug Hoyle, who described it as ” shameful news”.
Mr Hoyle, president of the white collar union ASTMS, accused Mrs Thatcher of presiding over the burial of the British motor industry. “If this happens there would no longer be an all-British small car designed and built in this country. The results of this would mean a Honda designed small car range built in Britain instead.”