History : BMC/BL/MG Rover/JLR/MINI/MG timeline

Here is the definitive BMC/BL/MG Rover/JLR/MINI/MG timeline – now fully updated. This page covers all the major events during the period from 1952 through to 2024 and includes many links to other detailed articles elsewhere on AROnline.

We’ll keep this page updated, and make sure that all new significant pages are reflected in the list below, which is probably already the Internet’s most comprehensive account of BMC/BL/MG Rover/JLR/MINI/MG history. As always, if you have anything to add, please email Keith Adams or comment below.

BMC/BL/Rover timeline - 1952-2005 - Austin Metro production, Longbridge 1980
Austin Metro production, Longbridge 1980

BMC/BL/MG Rover/JLR/MINI timeline


Year Events New models
1952 British Motor Corporation is created as a result of talks between Leonard Lord and Lord Nuffield. The actuality is an effective takeover of Morris by Austin – Lord and his second in command, George Harriman, take control of the new conglomerate.

Surprisingly, they do not crush Morris because Lord insisted on maintaining the Nuffield marques – MG, Morris, Riley and Wolseley – allowing them to flourish in order to optimise BMC’s market share. Lord revelled in the situation that allowed him to control the largest car producer in the UK – and he once famously said of the situation, ‘You know what BMC stands for, don’t yer? Bugger My Competitors!’

Morris Minor Series II
Riley RME
Riley RMF
Wolseley 4/44
Daimler Regency
Daimler Empress II
Triumph Renown MkII
1953 MG TF
MG Magnette ZA
Riley Pathfinder
Austin Healey 100
Alvis TC21/Grey Lady
Daimler Conquest
Jaguar XK120 DHC
Triumph TR2
Standard Eight
1954 Austin A40 Cambridge
Austin A50 Cambridge
Austin A90 Westminster
Austin FX3D/FL1D
Morris Oxford Series II
Morris Cowley
Wolseley 6/90
Daimler Sportsman
Daimler Regina
Lanchester Sprite
Jaguar XK140
Standard Ten
1955 Leonard Lord persuades Alec Issigonis to return to BMC after moving to Alvis to work on a new sports car.

Morris Isis
Daimler One-O-Four
Jaguar 2.4-litre MkI
Triumph TR3
Standard Vanguard III
1956 George Harriman becomes BMC’s Managing Director, following the resignation of Joe Edwards. Issigonis begins work on his XC (Experimental Car) projects.

Austin A95 Westminster
Austin A105
Austin A135 Princess IV
Austin Healey 100-Six
Morris Minor 1000
MG Magnette ZB
Wolseley 15/50
Alvis TC108G
Jaguar MkVIII
1957 Austin A55 Cambridge MkI
Riley One-Point-Five
Riley Two-Point-Six
Wolseley 1500
Princess 4-litre limousine
Jaguar XK150
Jaguar XK-SS
Standard Pennant
Standard Ensign
1958 Austin A105 Vanden Plas
Austin FX4/FL2
Wolseley 15/60 (Farina)
Austin Healey Sprite
Austin A40 Farina
Alvis TD21
Daimler Majestic
Jaguar MkIX
Rover P5
Standard Vanguard Vignale
Land Rover Series 2
1959 BMC now becomes committed to a front-wheel-drive future, following the successful development of the Mini – Leonard Lord sees BMC as a world-leading producer of advanced motor cars.

Austin A55 Cambridge MkII
Morris Oxford Series V
MG Magnette MkIII
Riley 4/Sixty Eight
Austin A99 Westminster
Wolseley 6/99
Princess 3-Litre
Austin Healey 3000
Daimler SP250 (Dart)
Jaguar Mk2
Triumph Herald
1960 Leonard Lord retires as company Chairman and is replaced by George Harriman. Lord takes on a new title as BMC Vice-Chairman. Alec Issigonis is promoted to the role of Technical Director of BMC.

Jaguar purchases Daimler. Vanden Plas launched as a marque in its own right, with the renaming of the previous year’s Princess 3-litre.

1961 Leyland Motors purchases Standard-Triumph.

Mini Cooper
Riley Elf
Wolseley Hornet
Austin A60 Cambridge
Austin A110 Westminster
Austin Healey Sprite MkII
Morris Oxford Series VI
MG Magnette MkIV
MG Midget
Wolseley 16/60
Riley 4/Seventy Two
Wolseley 6/110
Daimler DR450
Jaguar Mk X
Jaguar E-type
Triumph TR4
Rover P5 Coupe
1962 Leonard Lord becomes Lord Lambury.

Morris 1100
MG 1100
Morris Minor (1098cc)
Daimler 250
Triumph Spitfire
Triumph Vitesse
1963 Austin 1100
Vanden Plas Princess 1100
Jaguar S-type
Rover 2000
Triumph 2000
1964 Austin 1800
Vanden Plas 4-litre R
Alvis TE21
1965 BMC purchases Pressed Steel. Rover purchases Alvis. BMC makes its millionth Mini.

Riley Kestrel
Wolseley 1100
Triumph 1300 (FWD)
1966 Joe Edwards returns to BMC and becomes Managing Director. George Harriman becomes Executive Chairman.

BMC purchases Jaguar forming the conglomeration known as British Motor Holdings (BMH); William Lyons retains role as Managing Director of Jaguar.

Morris 1800
Jaguar 420
Daimler Sovereign
Rover P6B
Alvis TF21
Triumph GT6
1967 Leonard Lord dies.

Leyland Motors purchases Rover. Alvis passenger car production ceases.

Austin 3 Litre
Wolseley 18/85
Jaguar 240/340
First 1275cc ADO16s
Rover P5B
Triumph TR5
1968 Leyland Motors and BMH merge to become The British Leyland Motor Corporation. Donald Stokes becomes company Chairman, Harriman becomes honorary President of BLMC (a non-executive role). William Lyons retains a seat on the Board, becoming the BLMC Deputy Chairman. Joe Edwards resigns, resulting in a Board of Directors which is dominated by Leyland executives.

Stokes protégés John Barber (Director of Finance) and George Turnbull (Head of Austin Morris) take up the role as Stokes’ right-hand men. Stokes approaches the IRC (Industrial Reorganisation Committee – a Government-sponsored organisation to help finance mergers and acquisitions) for a £25m loan.

Harry Webster replaces Alec Issigonis as Technical Director. Riley Kestrel was renamed Riley 1300 for its final year in production.

Austin America
Jaguar XJ6
Daimler Sovereign
Daimler DS420
Triumph TR6
1969 Post-Leyland rationalisation begins on the range: Riley marque is killed, as is the 998cc Mini-Cooper and Wolseley Hornet – the result is the Mini name now becomes a marque in its own right – just when the company makes its two millionth Mini.

Austin Maxi
Mini Clubman
Triumph 2000/2.5PI MkII
1970 Standard-Triumph International renamed Triumph Motor Company. This is followed by a major re-organisation to speed up integration of the former Leyland and British Motor Holdings companies.

The seven operating divisions are cut to five. The most significant move is the amalgamation of Austin Morris, the corporation’s volume car division, with the Pressed Steel Fisher body building division to form Britain’s largest car manufacturing organisation.

Austin Maxi 1750
Triumph 1500 (FWD)
Range Rover
Triumph Stag
1971 The Morris range is reduced to two models: the new Marina and the 1800. This event marks the death of the much-loved Morris Minor – a car mourned by many.

Austin Healey Sprite is renamed the Austin Sprite for its final year, following the termination of the royalty agreement with Donald Healey.

In a similar move, the sole remaining Mini-Cooper model (the 1275S) is discontinued, due to the termination of the agreement with John Cooper.

Morris Marina
1972 British Leyland builds its three millionth Mini, just as the ADO74 project really kicks off to replace it.

Rover and Triumph are officially merged. Spen King becomes Technical director of Rover Triumph in 1972.

Austin 2200
Morris 2200
Wolseley Six
Triumph Dolomite 1850
Jaguar XJ12
Daimler Double Six
1973 John Barber promoted to the role of Deputy Chairman, Leyland House opened at Marylebone, London, Stokes announces a huge BLMC expansion programme.

George Turnbull resigns. George Harriman dies.

Austin Allegro
Rover 2200
Triumph Dolomite Sprint
Leyland P76
1974 The finances of BLMC are in a perilous position – the result is that the company’s creditors approach the Government for help. Tony Benn instructs Sir Don Ryder to prepare a report on the company’s finances and their future under government ownership.

Charles Griffin replaces Harry Webster as Technical Director.

Vanden Plas 1500
1975 Ryder Report published, recommending the company be enlarged under Government ownership. Alex Park replaces Donald Stokes, who becomes British Leyland President (a non-executive role).

The majority of British Leyland’s shares are purchased by the Government – and, as the major shareholder, the Government appoints Ryder, as Chairman of the National Enterprise Board (NEB) to vet all decisions regarding the running of the company made by Alex Park.

Derek Whittaker is placed in charge of running the entire car division, now known simply as Leyland Cars. John Barber resigns. Sir Ronald Edwards is made the Non-Executive Chairman. Spen King becomes technical director of Leyland Cars.

Company renamed British Leyland Limited. Wolseley marque is killed with the introduction of the Princess.

Austin/Morris 18-22 Series
(later renamed Princess)
Jaguar XJ-S
Triumph TR7
(US launch)
1976 New factory at Solihull starts to produce production versions of the Rover 3500.

Triumph Toledo and Dolomite ranges rationalised and consolidated under the Dolomite name. British Leyland builds the four millionth Mini.

Sir Richard Dobson becomes the Chairman of British Leyland, replacing Sir Ronald Edwards, who died in post after serving less than four months in the job.

Following in the footsteps of the Mini, all Austin badges are dropped from the Maxi, so that it is presented in all literature, simply as the ‘Maxi by British Leyland’.

Triumph TR7 (UK launch)
Rover SD1 3500
1977 Sir Don Ryder resigns, and is replaced by Leslie Murphy, who persuades Michael Edwardes to take over the Chairmanship of British Leyland from Sir Richard Dobson.

Alex Park and Derek Whittaker resign.

Rover SD1 2300/2600
1978 Speke manufacturing plant is closed by Michael Edwardes after a long and bitter battle with the Unions. Edwardes obtains Government backing for an emergency product recovery plan that centres on the LC8 and LC10.

Re-shuffle of the car division results in it being split into two: Austin Morris (which also included MG) headed up by Ray Horrocks and Jaguar Rover Triumph (JRT) headed up by William Pratt Thompson.

Company renamed BL Limited.

Princess 2
Morris Marina (O-Series)
1979 BL signs collaborative deal with Honda to produce Japanese cars under licence in the UK. JRT is disbanded, Pratt Thompson resigns and Ray Horrocks is promoted to Managing Director of BL. Harold Musgrove becomes Austin Morris Managing Director.

Vanden Plas factory at Kingsbury closed, 1500 production is transferred to Abingdon.

British Leyland Technology opens at Gaydon and is headed by Technical Director, Spen King.

Austin Allegro 3
Land Rover V8
Triumph TR7 convertible
Triumph TR8
Jaguar XJ6 Series III
1980 Edwardes closes more BL plants: Abingdon and Canley. The MG marque is put on ice and Triumph sports car production is transferred to the Solihull plant.

Longbridge is renovated to accommodate production of the Metro – the plant is now considered one of the most automated in Europe.

The new Leyland Assembly Plant opened at a cost of £33m.

John Egan becomes Jaguar Managing Director.

Austin miniMetro
Morris Ital
1981 Rover SD1 production is transferred to Cowley

Triumph TR7 is taken out of production and the Solihull plant is is put on ice.

MG marque is resurrected with the launch of the MG Metro 1300.

Triumph Acclaim
Jaguar XJ12 HE
Jaguar XJ-S HE
Range Rover 5-door
1982 Sir Michael Edwardes‘ contract is not renewed by the Conservative Government – his replacement as Chairman is Sir Austin Bide. Edwardes manages to persuade the Government to part with £990 million in order to fund further model development.

Ray Horrocks remains in charge of car production, and a further reshuffle of divisions results in the formation of Austin Rover (the volume arm) and Jaguar. Harold Musgrove becomes the Chairman and Chief Executive of Austin Rover Group.

BL sign a collaborative deal with Honda to jointly develop their first car, the XX/HX.

Roy Axe replaces David Bache as BL Director of Design.

Austin Ambassador
Rover SD1 MkII
Austin Metro Vanden Plas
MG Metro
1983 Government pushes Austin Rover to negotiate terms with Honda for the production of all further engines. Harold Musgrove and Ray Horrocks firmly oppose the idea and eventually persuade Norman Tebbitt to drop the plan. Austin Maestro
MG Maestro
1984 Jaguar floated on the Stock Exchange; Ray Horrocks loses his battle with the Government for BL to retain a minority shareholding.

The last Morris passenger car is produced at Longbridge – marque now effectively dead. Triumph marque killed as the Acclaim model is replaced by a Rover.

Austin Montego
MG Montego
Rover 213
1985 BL negotiate a further £1.5 billion cash injection to secure the company’s future. Government unimpressed by the request and push Austin Rover again to drop their new engine plans. The result is that the Government start looking for other companies to buy their shares in BL.

Rover 216
MG Montego Turbo
1986 Failed attempt to sell Austin Rover to Ford and Freight Rover to General Motors results in the resignation of Ray Horrocks. The Government decides to replace Sir Austin Bide as Chairman and persuades Graham Day to assume the roles of Chairman and Managing Director of BL, with a view to getting the company back into private ownership as swiftly as possible.

Company renamed Rover Group plc. Harold Musgrove resigns shortly after the launch of the Rover 800. Noel Edmonds celebrates the five millionth Mini at Longbridge.

Rover 800
Jaguar XJ (XJ40)
1987 The company now refocused on effective marketing of its cars. The future of the Mini is assured and Austin badges are removed from all Metros, Maestros and Montegos.

Leyland Bus sold to its management.

Leyland Trucks and Freight Rover merged with DAF Trucks to form DAF NV, with Rover holding a 40% share. Freight Rover renamed Leyland DAF Vans.

Unipart division both sold off.

1988 Rover Group plc is sold to British Aerospace (BAe) for £150 million. All former debts amassed in the public sector are written off and the aircraft manufacturer is given £800 million of working capital.

Leyland Bus bought by Volvo

During the period of Government ownership, BL consumed £2.6 billion of public money.

Rover 827
Rover 800 fastback
MG Maestro Turbo
1989 Graham Day promotes George Simpson into the role of Managing Director of Rover Group Limited. Rovers are increasingly marketed as premium products in order to maximise profits.

Jaguar bought by Ford for £1.6bn.

For the first time in a generation, a new car (the R8) is launched by the company without being touted as being the ‘one to save the company.’

DAF NV is floated on the Amsterdam and London stock exchanges, reducing Rover’s ownership to 16%

Rover signs a further agreement with Honda to produce a replacement for the Montego, only this time, it is not a collaborative venture.

Rover 214/216
Land Rover Discovery
1990 The European Union works with Ford to ascertain the value of Rover in 1988, when it was sold to BAe. The EU Commission finds that, as Ford estimated the company’s true worth at £800m and the sale was closed to other parties, the Government was guilty of operating an unfair competition.

Mini Cooper is re-launched following public demand.

Honda buys a 20 per cent stake in Rover, and Rover buys 20 per cent of Honda’s UK installation in Swindon.

Jaguar F-Type (XJ41/42) sports car cancelled by Ford.

Rover Metro
Rover 400
Rover 200 three-door
1991 John Towers promoted to the role of Group Managing Director. New cars plans for 1995 are drawn up and known collectively as the Rover Portfolio models – among these is an entirely new MG roadster.

Following unprecedented success of the R6, Rover rethinks future strategy.

Rover 800 Series 2
1992 BAe financial pressure ensures that Rover’s future model plans are becoming increasingly cost constrained. The former Morris Motors factory in Cowley is closed as all car assembly at the site is rationalised into the former Pressed Steel Fisher factory over the road.

George Turnbull dies, aged 66.

Rover 200 Coupé
Rover 200 Cabriolet
Rover 800 Coupe
Jaguar XJ12 (XJ81)
Jaguar XJ220
1993 MG return to convertible manufacture with the MG RV8.

The first Jaguar developed under Ford’s management, the XJ12 (XJ81), is introduced to replace the long-lived XJ12 Series 3. Huge quality improvements are made to the basic XJ40 design at the same time.

DAF NV collapses. Three separate companies are created, Daf Trucks, Leyland Trucks and LDV.

Rover 600
Jaguar XJ12 (XJ81)
1994 BAe sell the Rover Group to BMW for £800m. BMW ensure cash injection into the company’s development centre at Gaydon. BMW management approve the production of the Portfolio models with little modification. John Towers remains in charge of Rover, but his job title changes to Chief Executive.

Rover 400 Tourer
Range Rover P38
Jaguar XJ (X300)
1995 Work begins on replacing the Honda-based 600 and 800 models, which are costing BMW a considerable amount in licence payments. These models are considered to be a higher priority than the newly-launched 200 and 400 (which are also, to differing degrees, Honda based).

BMW begins to take leadership of the Mini replacement programme.

Rover 100
Rover 200
Rover 400
1996 John Towers resigns.
1997 Quality problems cause a delay in the development programme of the R40 (Rover 75) and also sour the introduction of the Freelander. BMW take firmer control of Rover, as losses begin to mount at an alarming rate.

Jaguar’s Radford factory is closed, with all engine production moving to Bridgend in Wales.

Land Rover Freelander
Jaguar XK8
1998 BMW gain a Government grant to finance the renovation of Longbridge. Wolfgang Reitzle of BMW takes the post of Chief Executive of Rover and begins to try and address growing losses in the UK division.The Quandt family (the majority shareholders of BMW) report that they are growing impatient with mounting UK losses.

Bernd Pischetsrieder torpedoes the launch of the Rover 75 at the British Motor Show, which immediately shakes confidence in the new car. Despite this, it steals the show from the rival Jaguar S-Type.

Leyland Trucks is acquired by Paccar, who have already taken over DAF Trucks, reuniting the two companies.

Land Rover Discovery Series II
Jaguar XJ8 (X308)
1999 Bernd Pischetsrieder (BMW CEO) and Wolfgang Reitzle are fired from BMW as the losses in the UK lead to BMW making their first overall loss in living memory.

The Alchemy Group (a venture capital company) commences negotiations with BMW regarding the takeover of Rover.

Rover 75
Rover 25
Rover 45
Jaguar S-Type (X200)
2000 John Towers leads the Phoenix Consortium to buy Rover from BMW. The price paid is a symbolic £10, but this includes financial and pension settlements from BMW.

BMW sells Land Rover and the Gaydon Technical Centre to Ford in order to recoup losses amassed by Rover.

BMW retains the rights to the marque names of Riley, Rover and Triumph, while the new British company gains the names of Austin, MG, Morris and Wolseley, along with rights to the Vanden Plas name outside the North American market, where it is used by Ford-owned Jaguar. The company continues to use the Rover name under a licence agreement drawn up with BMW.

Other agreements with BMW include the stipulation that MG Rover do not produce any four-wheel-drive cars, so as not to clash with Ford-owned Land Rover in the marketplace. MINI remains with BMW, as does the Cowley plant where it is manufactured.

Company renamed the MG Rover Group.

Ford turns over its Halewood factory in Merseyside to the production of the forthcoming Jaguar X-Type.

Bob Knight dies, aged 80.

2001 MG Rover launches the ‘Zed’ car range- with MG-badged versions of the 25, 45 and 75 making an appearance under the MR ZR, ZS and ZT banners. The launch is also used to announce that the company will be producing a rear-wheel-drive version of the ZT in 260 and 385hp form.

MG-Lola competes in Le Mans and performs well before breaking down… MG Rover acquires the Italian carmaker Qvale for £10m.

The X80 prototype is unveiled – it uses the underpinnings of the defunct Qvale Mangusta supercar and MG plans to build 10,000 per year.

Work begins on the RDX60 project to replace the Rover 45 and MG ZS.

BMW opens its new Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham.

Rover 75 Tourer
Range Rover L322
Jaguar X-Type
2002 MG Rover shows the TCV at the Geneva Motor Show. MG Rover executives embark on talks with a number of foreign manufacturers with a view to picking up a collaborative partner.

Potential partners spoken to are Fiat (with a view to taking on the Stilo platform), Matra (for the Gen. 2 Espace) and Tata (for the Indica supermini). The Fiat deal is turned down by MGR executives, the Matra deal falls by the wayside as neither party can agree on numbers, but talks with Tata have a positive outcome.

A partnership is announced with China Brilliance, which would see MG Rovers built at a new factory to be set up in China.

Major development on the RDX60 programme is handed over to Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR). MG Rover express an interest in purchasing the ex-Daewoo factory in Poland, with a view to expanding its own production possibilities. MG XPower SV is launched to the press, although it is clearly some way from production…

2003 Negotiations with China Brilliance collapse, leaving MG Rover the task of finding another Chinese partner. Talks begin with Proton.

TWR goes into administration. The RDX60 programme is frozen – although a running prototype is produced to show prospective partners as well as dealer principals and suppliers. MG X80 programme changed course to become the XPower SV supercar – a higher-priced and lower-volume model.

Tata Indica rebadged and launched in the UK as the CityRover – it is priced at least £2000 above what the dealers were initially told it would sell for.

Longbridge is sold to the property developers, St. Modwen, and then leased back in a 50-year deal. Parts and distribution XPart, is sold to Caterpillar Logistics. Phoenix Four pension fund story breaks cover, and sales go into freefall…

MG XPower SV
MG ZT 260 V8
Rover Streetwise
MINI Cooper S
2004 Facelifted versions of the 25, 45 and 75 are announced, and manage to underwhelm…

A ‘letter of intent’ is signed with Proton, and a deal is hammered out involving production of the company’s newly-launched Gen2 supermini. In the end, the deal flounders quickly over money – MGR is now concentrating its efforts on China.

A deal is announced with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) – a Joint Venture Company is planned, with the Chinese controlling 70 per cent of the venture. Car production would take place in China and Longbridge, and new models would be jointly developed. MG Rover sells the rights to the 25 and 75, as well as the K-Series engine, to SAIC for £67m, in anticipation of the Joint Venture Company being formed.

Rover 75 Coupe and MG TF GT concepts unveiled at Autocar awards dinner…

John Barber dies, aged 85.

Rover 75 V8
Jaguar XJ (X350)
Land Rover Discovery 3
2005 MG Rover falls into administration due to the continuing sales collapse and SAIC’s decision to pull out of the Joint Venture Company deal at the last minute. Production is halted at Longbridge as supplier bills cannot be met and the Administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, are brought in to find a buyer for the remaining assets of MG Rover.

SAIC announces it is to build the Rover 75 in China using the rights it bought from MG Rover in 2004. Nanjing Automotive Corporation is announced as the new owners of MG Rover, and immediately pledges to re-start production at Longbridge as soon as it is possible to do so. In the meantime, it removes the production facilities housed in Longbridge and ships them back to China.

The end result is that SAIC ends up with IP for the Rover 75 and 25, while NAC finishes the year with Longbridge (promptly signing a 33-year lease on the place), the MG brand, and its assets.

Phoenix Venture Holdings and its four Directors remain solvent, as Powertrain, MG Rover and Sport and Racing shut up shop… The final Rover 75 rolls off the line in July…

The final Jaguar XJ rolls off the line at the company’s spiritual home in Browns Lane, Coventry. The factory is downgraded to a management centre and wood veneer plant.

A £100m investment in MINI’s Plant Oxford, located in Cowley, is made by parent company BMW in order to increase production of the R50 – which is comfortably exceeding demand.

Range Rover Sport
2006 Ford purchases the Rover brand from BMW for around £6m in order to stop SAIC using the Rover name on its own products. This forces the Chinese company to alter its plans to use the Rover brand as a launching pad for its own version of the 75.

Nanjing creates NAC-MG and announces ambitious production plans for MG in China and the USA while downgrading the scale of operations in Longbridge, only confirming that the re-engineered TF will be made there.

Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer, GAZ, takes control of LDV.

Land Rover sets a global sales record for the second year running, with 192,500 vehicles around the world, an increase of 4 per cent (8500 vehicles) on 2005.

Jaguar XK
Roewe 750
Land Rover Freelander 2
MINI Cooper S Works GP
2007 SAIC (Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation) merges with NAC-MG and all of its assets from Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC), uniting the MG and Roewe brands – creating a sort of latter-day MG Rover.

Car assembly restarts at Longbridge with the relaunch of the MG TF, which has undergone a limited re-engineering programme under the ownership of Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC).

The Roewe brand is launched and its first product, the 750 is announced. It’s a re-engineered Rover 75 that’s built in China which had been developed by Ricardo (2010) in the UK under the codename SAC528. Meanwhile, NAC-MG’s version of the car (unchanged from the MG Rover-era car) goes into production as the MG7. Both NAC-MG and SAIC are now building their own versions of the ex-Rover KV6 engine in China.

The second-generation BMW-era MINI ushers in a new UK-assembled Prince engine, which is a Joint Venture with PSA. Unlike the R50-generation MINI, which was engineered in the UK, the R56 was almost wholly developed in Germany.

Jaguar XF
MG TF LE 500
MINI Hatch (R56)
2008 Jaguar and Land Rover as well as the rights to the Rover name sold to Tata by Ford for £1.15bn, with the sale completed in June 2008. The holding company Jaguar Land Rover was created by Tata in January 2008 in anticipation of the sale’s completion – although it wasn’t until 2013 that the two companies’ operations were fully integrated.

Lord Stokes dies, aged 94.
Sir Austin Bide dies, aged 93.

MINI Clubman
MINI Convertible
2009 Government-backed 850-page report into the failure of MG Rover is published, costing the taxpayer £16m. It accuses the Phoenix Four – John Towers, John Edwards, Nick Stephenson and Peter Beale – of putting personal gain ahead of the success of the company and of being out of their depth.

The final Jaguar X-Type comes off the line at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood factory in Merseyside – it becomes a Land Rover-only production facility at this point.

MG6 is introduced in China.

LDV goes into administration, with 800 jobs lost.

Jaguar and Land Rover posts a £673m loss.

Alex Park dies, aged 83.

2010 The first SAIC-era LDV vans go on sale in China. The V80 van is a rebadged LDV Maxus built in Jiangsu using the tooling the former UK factory near Birmingham.

Chinese group Geely takes a stake in black cab manufacturer Manganese Bronze – and soon transfers production to China, with CKD operations commencing in the UK.

SMTC UK – the new Design Centre in Longbridge – is opened.

Ralf Speth becomes CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover.

Spen King dies, aged 85.

Land Rover Discovery 4
2011 The Range Rover Evoque goes on sale following its successful launch. Its arrival coincides with the announcement that 1000 more jobs are required at Halewood where it’s built in order to meet demand. They more than make up for the losses following the end of the X-Type in 2009.

Jaguar Land Rover opens a new assembly plant in Pune, India.

The first all-new MG since MG Rover went into administration goes on sale in the UK. The MG6 is launched by newly-named MG Motor UK and is based heavily on the Roewe 550 – it is not only styled and engineered in the UK, but final assembly takes place in Longbridge.

A £500m investment in MINI’s Plant Oxford, located in Cowley, is made by parent company BMW in order to increase production of the R56 – this creates another 5000 jobs.

MG3 launched in China.

Range Rover Evoque
2012 Jaguar Land Rover and Chery Automobile Company Limited reach agreement on a joint venture in China. The joint venture (JV) is set up to include manufacture of JLR- and JV-branded vehicles. The first vehicles made here go on sale in 2015.

Alex Moulton dies, aged 92.

Range Rover (L405)
MINI Coupe
MINI Roadster
Jaguar XF Sportbrake
MINI Clubvan
2013 Jaguar F-Type finally breaks cover after a number of false starts. This one was said to have been signed off personally by Ratan Tata the day after he took overall control of Jaguar Land Rover. It’s based heavily on the outgoing XK, although JLR plays this down – but the old car is phased out with the arrival of the new model.

Jaguar Land Rover announces new assembly plant in Brazil.

Following a protracted development period, the UK-engineered and styled MG3 goes on sale in the UK. It’s originally marketed as being assembled in the UK, with some final preparation work initially taking place in Longbridge – but this arrangement doesn’t last very long.

Chinese group Geely takes control of black cab manufacturer Manganese Bronze.

Jaguar F-Type
2014 Jaguar Land Rover opens its new £355m engine production factory at the i54 South Staffordshire Business Park near Wolverhampton. It’s been built specifically to produce the Ingenium modular family of engines available in three-, four and six-cylinder versions.

Jaguar Land Rover’s SVO division is launched and its HQ is set-up in Ryton.

Unipart goes into administration.

Land Rover Discovery 5
MINI Hatch (F56)
2015 Geely-owned London Taxis International announces plans to open a new £150m assembly and production facility at Ansty Park, near Coventry.

Saloon car manufacturing returns to Solihull for the first time since 1981 with the launch of the Jaguar XE, while Jaguar Land Rover also announces plans to open a new factory in Slovakia.

Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar XE
Jaguar XF
Land Rover Discovery Sport
2016 MG Motor UK confirms that all car assembly at Longbridge has ceased.

Jaguar Land Rover builds a record 583,313 vehicles.

Cowley builds its 3,000,000th BMW-era MINI.

MINI Convertible
Jaguar F-Type SVR
2017 MINI confirms electric car production for Plant Oxford (formerly Cowley).

Derek Robinson dies, aged 90.

Jaguar E-Pace
Range Rover Velar
2018 LEVC TX5 black cab goes on sale in the UK. Jaguar I-Pace
2019 Jaguar Land Rover announces the all-new Land Rover Defender, which carries over nothing from the old car aside from its name.

SMTC UK formally closes in Longbridge after nine years – and SAIC winds up all operations at its Birmingham plant.

Sir Michael Edwardes dies, aged 88.

Range Rover Evoque
2020 The demolition of Longbridge begins in earnest.

March 2020 and car production shuts down in the UK as a response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Production would falteringly come back online in the autumn.

Jaguar Land Rover announces the appointment of Thierry Bolloré as its new CEO.

Nissan confirms continued investment in its Washington plant with the production of the third-generation Qashqai. However, Ineos also announces that production of the Grenadier 4×4 won’t be in the UK, moving to France instead.

Range Rover Evoque PHEV
Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV
2021 Jaguar Land Rover launches a number of mid-life facelifts for its model line-up and immediately announces that Jaguar’s model range (including the yet-to-be launched electric XJ) will become defunct in 2025 to make way for an all-new range of electric cars.

Honda closes its Swindon factory on 30 July – the next-generation Civic will be built in Japan.

Leyland Trucks produces its 500,000th vehicle.

Range Rover (L460)
2022 Jaguar Land Rover’s CEO, Thierry Bolloré, announces he’s retiring after just two years, leaving questions hanging over the company’s electrificaton strategy and the whole Reimagine programme.

MINI confirms that production of the electric model is moving to China and out of Cowley.

Paddy Hopkirk dies, aged 90.

Range Rover Sport
2023 MINI unveils its next-generation Electric model, now codenamed J01. Although production is mooted for China, the firm confirms that UK BEV production will commence in 2026. 

Jaguar Land Rover rebrands as JLR as it gears up for the introduction of the next-generation electric models. The firm names Adrian Mardell as CEO, after a year in position on an ‘interim’ basis.

Mardell’s appointment is for a three-year term, JLR said

Although now exclusively an importer, MG Motor UK‘s sales pick up strongly on the back of strong EV sales, with 4% of the overall UK market and more than 10% of EV sales.

Nissan announces it will build three fully-electric models at its Sunderland plant as part of a £2bn investment. The successor to the Leaf will be joined by the Qashqai and Juke EVs.

Harris Mann dies, aged 83.

MINI Electric Hatch
Range Rover Electric

BMC/BL/MG Rover/JLR/MINI timeline

Latest updates

  • 24 March 2018 Links to the Rover Triumph story added
  • 16 January 2019 Links to the Rover Triumph story and British Leyland, Grand Illusion added
  • 11 January 2020 Timeline updated to the end of 2019
  • 19 December 2022 Timeline updated to the end of 2022
  • 4 January 2024 Timeline updated to the end of 2023
Keith Adams


  1. Great resume, but a shame that the timeline didn’t start in 1949 so that the Rover P4 could have been included. The P4 having been an influence on exterior design the final car of the timeline, the 75. (pinched in rear, bright trim at the bottom of the doors…..)

  2. Under ‘New Models’ there are plenty more Austin Rover and Rover Cars entries missing. 1958: Land Rover Series 2. 1961: Rover P5 Coupe. 1982: MG Metro (launched in May of this year not 1981)and Rover SD1 Vitesse. 1984: Austin Montego saloon and estate. 1985: MG Montego Turbo. 1988: MG Maestro Turbo. 1990: Rover 200 3-door. 1992: Rover 200 Cabriolet, 800 Coupe and MGR V8. 1994: Rover 400 Tourer and P38A Range Rover; 1998 Land Rover Discovery Series II; 2003 – Rover Streetwise.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Re 2: Yes, it says exactly what you think it does. Being and English car, it bares a reference to a well known garden tool.

  4. An interesting article, but it seems odd to me to include the likes of Jaguar and Land Rover before they became part of British Leyland, but to then effectively leave them out after they were sold, as if only MGR and Longbridge are the real successor to BL…

  5. @ Keith Adams:

    Here are two more for you: L319, the Land Rover Discovery 3, launched in 2004, and L320, the Range Rover Sport, launched in 2005.

    I have made an error with the Rover P5 Coupe – it was launched in 1962 not 1961. My apologies on this…

  6. A very useful summary.

    1981 Solihull plant closed?

    Having recently read the MGR government report, the interest in Daewoo wasn’t so much to expand production facilities as to lift and shift most of Longbridge to Poland – politically I can’t understand how they reasonably expected to get away with that one! It’s also interesting to see the full list of potential partner car manufacturers they spoke to – shame it was all done 3 years too late….

  7. Hi,

    As an ex Dealer who lived through this period I believe that when BMC was created the Company had a UK market share of 39%. Do you have the annual market share figures up to closure?

    These numbers, I believe, reveal the gradual decline of the business which underlines the fact that “despite enormous loyalty by Dealers & The Public” market forces ultimately rule!

    If your product is uncompetitive you cannot prevent people voting with their feet.

  8. Great to have this. One small amend, to the 1970 bit – the Maxi remained badged as an Austin well after 1970, I think up to about 1977 when it became a Leyland Maxi

  9. A great summary. Probably worth adding that the sale of Land Rover to Ford in 2000 also included the Gaydon technical centre, as this was a major asset of the Rover group (and BL before it)

    Was it 1992 when the “Morris” factory at Cowley closed and all assembly moved to the “Pressed Steel” factory?

  10. Correct me If I’m wrong but did not Charles Griffin replace Harry Webster at Austin Morris.
    Spen King became techical director of Rover Triumph in 1972.
    Upon its formation in 1975 Spen King became technical director of Leyland Cars.

  11. Excellent! Probably worth adding, given the onetime Rover connection, that Honda closed its Swindon factory in 2021.

  12. 2007 – minor point but I think NAC-MG and SAIC engines actually came out of the same plant despite both companies being supposedly separate – contemporary photos of finished engines show identical labelling formats, etc.

  13. I’m not sure how much of the commercial vehicle side of the business you want included with this, but to expand this really useful page a bit

    In 1980
    The new Leyland Assembly Plant opened at a cost of £33m.

    In 1987
    Leyland Bus sold to its management.
    Leyland Trucks AND Freight Rover merged with DAF Trucks to form DAF NV, with Rover holding a 40% share. Freight Rover renamed Leyland DAF Vans.

    In 1988
    Leyland Bus bought by Volvo

    In 1989
    DAF NV is floated on the Amsterdam and London stock exchanges, reducing Rover’s ownership to 16%

    In 1993
    DAF NV collapses. Three separate companies are created, Daf Trucks, Leyland Trucks and LDV.

    In 1998
    Leyland Trucks is acquired by Paccar, who have already taken over DAF Trucks, reuniting the two companies.

    In 2021
    Leyland Trucks produces it’s 500,000th vehicle.

      • There’s one other “Leyland” date which needs adding but I’m not sure of, and that’s the year when the Leyland badge was dropped, and all trucks became badged as DAFs in this country.

        Quite symbolic considering that the Leyland badge (and plughole) became ubiquitous in the 1970s, and yet now is largely defunct as a brand in this country.

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