News : Roewe at Auto China 2012

Keith Adams

Roewe 950
Roewe 950

Auto China 2012 officially saw the severing of the genetic ties between SAIC Motor’s faux-UK brand and the Rover products it formerly based its cars upon. The impressive new car that headed up Roewe’s motor show hoopla was the 950, which is based closely on the Buick LaCrosse/Saab 9-5, nestling atop a GM Epsilon II platform. The new car looks Asian-generic and comes with a petrol-only engine line-up but, as the Roewe marque looks set to remain China-only, that is not a problem for us.

Stephen Harper also confirms that SAIC Motor’s intention to create a ‘British’ style brand out of Roewe has been abandoned completely, with MG now being the sole point of focus for this interesting way of marketing cars. The car itself is an impressive looking machine, although the 75-style ‘cigar shape’ that the Chinese management spoke of at its launch in Beijing seem a tad fanciful. The 950’s arrival also underlines just why SAIC Motor’s Joint Venture partner, General Motors, did not want to see Saab 9-5 technology (namely the Epsilon II platform) going to a potentially rival Chinese company.

The arrival of the 950 does not mean the 750 is going out of production. The older Rover 75-based car remains on the new car lists and will do so as long as there is a demand for it. Indeed, a pair of hybrid models were shown in Beijing, alongside a new hybrid derivative, this time based on the 550. SAIC Motor is strongly backing the petrol hybrid as its next big development, but is also investing heavily in electric power. A spokesman said that the E1 is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to electric vehicle development within SAIC Motor.

In 2011, the company built a total of over four million cars around the world, and is looking to beat this figure handsomely in 2012.


Keith Adams


  1. The 950 looks potentially good but I still like the Roewe750 (R75). I still wish it had been / or was available in the UK market

  2. I like my big saloons, and the 950 gets my approval.

    With a diesel engine (from GM?) it could bring the fight to the Superb.

    Just sell it as an Austin / Morris, not a Roewe!
    (I reckon Austin is still known in the US, where they speak fondly of Austin Healeys. MG-Austin?)

  3. Yes it looks very nice, also aggree and I have mentioned that would be great for 750 be available for the UK,yes I also agree sell Roewe as Morris or Austin, I know been noted before in earlier bloggs. Regards Mark

  4. LMAO! When will you leave the ‘should be sold as an Austin or Morris’ thing alone – it’s simply not going to happen! Otherwise, the cars are starting to look impressive……..

  5. It actually does look good- but could also be a fictional car from Grand Theft Auto IV- Übermacht Oracle XS, anyone?

  6. The 950 looks good enough but to me it has no ‘oh, I like that’ factor.

    Similarly, the 750’s new front and rear look ok in themselves but are rather at odds with the centre section still carrying the distinctive chrome.

  7. I’m with Will M on the 950.

    In a way it’s nice to see the 75 soldering on. Maybe if Rover had lived the 75 would have already gone?

  8. H Jones are you joking??? That hideously shapeless plastic restyle of the 750 looks better than the original 75??? You need glasses!!

  9. i dont understand why they cant use the rover name under some sort of agreement with tata will add value to the name as well!! and why dont they have the mg 7 over in the uk for sale am sure theres loads of people wanting to update there old zt and at least they would have another type of car to fill there show room

  10. @George, it would seriously devalue the name plate which TaTa use on the successful LR and RR vehicles if the Chinese used it to brand cars

  11. @20 it also give Tata the opportunity to bring it back as a standalone brand some 10-15 years down the line, much the same instance that BMW are seriously considering with Triumph Cars. Tata acknowledges though that they need to bring car building up to VW’s standard before they can consider doing anything of the sort, even with their own Tata brand.

  12. I think Tata are keeping the name Rover in the same way as Ford did when they owned LR, as it prevents confusion in some markets (eg. the US) with 2 seperate companies selling ” ‘ Rovers”.

    The name also gives them a handy sub-Jaguar premium brand should they ever wish to leverage it…

  13. Re: Shanghai.

    Would we want to see Roewes badged as Shanghais over here?

    – It is a name that sounds like it has an origin but isn’t made up
    – You don’t have to explain to everyone that it’s what Rover was and thats why it sounds similar but isn’t
    – We could be speaking about Shanghais in 10 years time in the way as Hondas and Toyotas, or Hyundais and Kias at least

  14. No one else sees this car as the death of Rover/MG enginnering? its just a rebadged reshelled Vauxhall

  15. Its a fact of modern car manufacturing that no manufacturer can go it alone. MGR knew this and seeked out platform sharing agreements with Fiat, Proton etc. before going bust.
    If the future is platform sharing with GM, so be it.
    No-one gurns that these audi things are rebadged reshelled Skodas, they sell like hot cakes.

  16. basically it looks quite ok the tail lights look theyve been borrowed from a 6 year old maxima. but its still quite nice looking. i think on the whole I like the styling of the SAIC Rowew cars. its thr MGS styling I cant get my head around. weird. Yes the Roeve R75 still looks nice :-)which makes me wonder why they never tried to sell in western countries. perhaps the answer lies in james may’s experience in China recently. alex

  17. @ Stewart – yep, I agree 🙂 A sad re-badge that only has serious potential to damage the reputation of MG (except thankfully they don’t want to brand it as an MG!). After all, didn’t the 9-5 fail (financially) for Saab?

    While it’s nice that SAIC are tossing ideas round, their behaviour is reminiscent of BMC – lots of new models, big sales, but long-term profit….? Actually, Phoenix 4 is more like it – tons of car show models, but how many make the actual market? (in China or RoW) SAIC must be spending a fortune on R&D.

    BTW, anyone know why the smaller MG3 is not using the TCI-Tech engine? (if I understood the PR rightly) The K-series sizes gave them a nice 1.4 and 1.6L they could have used…

  18. If the MG7 had been sold in the UK, people would actually be aware that MG is over here selling cars.

  19. @25 Will M – true but I haven’t yet see an Audi based on a Skoda… Of all the VAG brands, Audi do manage to keep certain parts unique like door handles, and certain switchgear whereas the rest do seem to look rather similar. Though it has to be said when the parts bin contains stuff as good as VAG stuff who can blame them for sticking to the formula. Although I doubt their indicator stalks have proved as robust as the British Leyland one’s still adorning the cockpit of the Land Rover Defender in 2012!!!!!

  20. George – comment 19

    Good point – Why haven’t they made efforts to sell the MG7 in the UK? I’m sure there’s a significant market consisting of ZT and 75 owners who would love to trade in for a newer one if only they could.

  21. “Why haven’t they made efforts to sell the MG7 in the UK? I’m sure there’s a significant market consisting of ZT and 75 owners who would love to trade in for a newer one if only they could” – yes, we do exist. Although in my case I wouldn’t want a 75 with anything other than a Rover badge stuck on it!

  22. The 950 would sell here but it would have to be sub £20k. The MG 7 would have to be a bout £15k and the Mg 6, cheaper still. A small market but a halo product for little investment. Shame the MG’s can’t be specified with Roewe interiors!

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