News : December 2004

CityRover’s list price droppped, equipment levels increased…

20 December 2004

MG Rover press release…

CityRover is to be launched across European markets in 2005 and the development of a diesel model is to be accelerated, MG Rover announced today. Responding to the tough environment of the small car market, particularly in the UK, the appeal and competitiveness of CityRover has been significantly enhanced.

Following a business review between MG Rover and Tata both companies have restated their commitment to make the CityRover a success across Europe.

The business review allowed both parties the opportunity to reassess the market while also allowing joint teams of engineers to work on the technical development, aimed at increasing the appeal and competitiveness of the CityRover. New vehicle specifications have been agreed along with the introduction of the diesel engine that will greatly enhance the roll out of the vehicle across Europe.

In the UK the 2005 model year CityRover will be launched from £5995 with an enhanced specification for the Solo model including anti-lock brakes, power-assisted steering and driver’s airbag; the three model line-up will include the Select at £6995 and the top-of-the-range Style featuring air-conditioning, 14 in alloy wheels and luxury trim at a price of £7995. The new models will go on sale in spring 2005.

All models benefit from more than 50 improvements ranging from new interior trim materials to a doubling of the service interval from 6000 miles to 12,000 miles for reduced running costs.

“This is excellent news for both our UK and European dealers as they need a city car to increase our market penetration which will boost our efforts to raise overall sales next year,” said Rod Ramsay, managing director, sales and marketing, MG Rover Group. “Our model line-up will be significantly more competitive with the enhanced CityRover we are planning to introduce during 2005.” The left hand drive version of CityRover will be launched in Europe from May 2005.

Divyendu Kumar, head of international business, Tata Motors Limited, said. “CityRover supplies remain a priority for Tata Motors and the company continues to be committed to the overall success of the CityRover project.”

Model revisions accompanied by commitment to expand dealer network.

16 December 2004

ROVER’s 25, 45 and 75 ranges have received across the board upgrades in order to maintain sales appeal going into 2005. The 25 now comes in GLi, GSi and GXi trim levels, and they all feature standard leather interior and wood trim, extra equipment and competitive prices; the Rover 25 GLi 1.4 (84PS) 3-door (with leather seats) starts at a reasonable £8,995.

The 75 now comes with SmartNav on all models, barring the Classic, and 45 are similarly upgraded. The CityRover will also be upgraded in the upcoming weeks, and an announcement about this is said to be imminent.

Improved equipment levels signify the beginning of a more aggressive marketing strategy by MG Rover, which finally sees he welcome return of national advertising and increased buyer awareness of the company.

The sales and marketing team has been suitably beefed up – and experience has been drafted in. Robert Hazelwood, Kevin Brown and Guy Jones have all been around the block, and bring a level of gravitas to Rod Ramsay’s team, which has been lacking for some time. Rod Ramsay will be heading a serious push into Europe, and has stated his aim to add 100 dealer’s to MG Rover’s tally within a year.

As the dealer network is expanded across Europe Paul Stroud takes on the new position of European sales and marketing director, moving from the role of commercial director UK. Stroud was previously head of brand strategy and communications and regional director Europe south for MG Rover. Road Ramsay said: “I am delighted we have recruited talented and proven executives into our front line team which only increases my confidence that we can raise sales worldwide in 2005,” commented Rod Ramsay, managing director, worldwide sales and marketing. As part of a company streamlining programme, sales and marketing has been established as a stand-alone organisation. In addition to the existing sales and marketing functions, the division will now have responsibility for aftersales and Phoenix dealerships.”

MGR Considering entry into the 2005 DTM Series?

14 December 2004

Not the M1 on a Monday morning, this is Hockenheim, and a typical afternoon’s racing in the hard-fought DTM (German Touring Cars) Series

THE latest rumours doing the rounds in Germany suggest MG Rover is on the verge of announcing a project to take on Mercedes-Benz and Audi in the DTM. Opel will be present in 2005, but will then depart the series. MG Rover has been keen on its motorsports since it was acquired from BMW by Phoenix Venture Holdings in 2000, and ran teams at Le Mans and in the BTCC before money problems forced the programmes to be stopped.

It seems that the plan to form a Joint Venture company with SAIC has opened up the possibility of competition again, and the company is hoping to go into action in Germany, probably (and somewhat surprisingly) with the Rover brand. The move follows the announcement, a few days ago, stating Brilliance China Automotive is to become the first Chinese automobile maker to compete in an FIA World Championship, having secured an entry in the new FIA World Touring Car Championship using its ZhongHua brand.

Could a wildly modified one of these be thundering the DTM next season? German rumours seem to think so…

Keith Adams

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