Advert of the Week : Rover 800

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Turn up your Sony Trinitron, un-pause your Ferguson Videostar and enjoy this prime slice of 1980s nostalgia. 10 July 1986 was the launch date of the Rover 800 and, as you can see from this advert, its high-tech demeanor must have looked like something else, compared with the olde worlde charm of the outgoing Rover SD1.

Mind you, this being Rover – even if it’s the slick Graham Day-era Rover – there was, of course, a blooper in the advert. Fast forward to 17 seconds in on this 41-second piece, and you’ll see that one of the main beam headlamps has blown. Wonder how many people noticed back in the day? Not many, given how successful it was, and how quick sales were…

Keith Adams


  1. Great ad. I also enjoy the US Sterling James Bond spoof… search youtude for:-

    Sterling Cars – Someone Else

  2. To summarise in one word – “SAD”

    This was a magnificent start to a complete turn around in fortunes. Just how was it allowed to go so wrong?

    I think with HHR the Honda high point was over but I’m not blaming Honda. Surely BMW, with the stunning 75 and albeit ageing 25 & 45 now carrying the same family look, you could have weathered short term difficulties. Pushed 25 and 45 a bit harder with even different versions leaning more towards SUV. Exploited, more fully, the gem you had with MG. Ditto Land Rover, although this was less neglected.

    BMW being the parent of Rover should have seen it soar to new heights. The potential was there. In terms of a lost opportunity, a marketing, a business blunder you certainly made one BMW.

    Heart felt but true !!

    • Absolutely. The management split in BMW cost Rover and BMW dearly.

      BMW are excellent but have hugely diluted their brand now.

      The strategy they had was correct and they should have kept their nerve.

      BMW would still make high quality, exclusive and highly desirable RWD drivers cars, smallest one being the 3.

      Other brands within the ex BL portfolio would be used for other tasks. Cowley and Longbridge completely redeveloped and modernised and running likely close to full tilt.

      Hams Hall running at planned capacity.

      What a clusterfuck.

      • Now what we have, is BMW lost a load of cash, Rover and many of the brands are no more.

        BMW’s own brand is now too widely used and abused and now lacks exclusivity.

        • Absolutely, and ironically if there was ever a BMW crying out to be badged as a Rover it is the 2 Series Active Tourer.

          • Totally agree.

            A friend of mine has one with oyster leather, wood trim, a nice spec car in a good colour and I have actually thought a few times it would be much more fitting wearing the Rover badge than the BMW roundel.

            Feels like an R8 did back in 1995. Spacious, well screwed together and upmarket.

            German companies are run very autocratically so the boardroom split – Pietschesreider V Reitzle was very shocking for a German company.

            Unfortunately, Reitzle and his supporters had been running around harnessing the growing despondency and ill feeling growing within BMW.

            Germans plan, plan and plan again. It is extremely rare for them to change their strategy or to do anything “seat of the pants”.

            I blame this BMW management spat as being a key factor in the story which ultimately led to the loss of confidence and demise of the Rover brand.

            I think BMW may have had a hard time but I think they were at or just after rock bottom when they pulled out.

            So near but yet so far. Like I said, a clusterfuck with no real benefactors.

        • But you could say that about Mercedes, Audi and even Jaguar Land Rover – as well as many non-automotive brands that used to be considered exclusive or premium – Bosch appliances for instance. Despite recent events, society is generally more affluent and credit is easier to access, consumers will vote with their wallets and gravitate to the best they can afford – same reason family holidays in places like Florida and Cuba are now common place.

      • But BMW are making more money – that’s profit not just revenue – than ever. Remember also BMW walked away with the Mini and got a fortune for Landrover from Ford. Don’t think it ended that badly for them.

  3. This is a much better advert than the “Pizza” family MG GS one. Despite changing trends in marketing, I don’t think car adverts have done justice to the products. Even MG Rover’s 2004 corporate advert voiced by John Nettles had patriotic style… more so than MG UK put out now.

  4. Power… Performance… Prestige….., I found the theme of this advert vulgar and hackneyed. this advert seems to targeting someone who has exercised his council house “right to buy”.

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