Blog: You’ve read Autocar?

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SO the SAIC/MGR plans are a little clearer today, following the interesting story which ran in today’s Autocar magazine.

The upshot is that MG is going SAIC, the MG ZR/Rover 25 is moving abroad (as revealed on this site last week), and the Chinese now own the rights to the K-Series engine, the Rover 75 will eventually be moving overseas, and the 45 will continue in the UK – although effectively as part of the SAIC deal. MG Rover should now effectively considered annexed by the Chinese (or it will be when the deal is announced on April 21)…

However, Phoenix Venture Holdings will keep hold of the TF, the SV, part of MG Sport and Racing, as well as remain in charge of the TATA deal…

So, although some may see it as the end of a UK owned volume business, at least Longbridge stays open, and the local economy won’t fall apart. It’s certainly a future – and that is something very few of us thought would happen in March 2000, when BMW dropped its bombshell. Personally speaking, I’m delighted at the deal because it means Rover will continue – and although the emphasis of the company will shift Eastwards, at least it will remain a part of the industry – something that cannot be said about so many other marques covered on this website.

Another exciting possibility could well be what Phoenix decides to do with the rump of car production left in its control. Think about it – there’s a ready-made and well-established sportscar, which it still owns (the TF), a supercar (the SV) and a deal with the Indians, which at some point in the future could be turned into producing the Aria concept.

Okay, it’s a long shot, but could this not form the basis of the much talked about Austin-Healey revival, which we know has been discussed many times within the inner sanctums at Longbridge. If that happens, then the Phoenix Four will have achieved so much more than Jon Moulton and Alchemy promised – because they have assured the survival of the Rover marque – and they could well be instrumental in creating a sports car company based in Longbridge we’re all proud of.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed…

Keith Adams
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