Video : The 1995 Rover model range

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

It’s hard not to shed a tear when watching this one. A little more than 20 years ago, Rover’s model line-up looked magnificent when shot in the press-launch azure world of Spain/Southern France – even if we’d lost the 200 and 400 (R8) models in favour of their less than stellar replacements.

The reality was that the 100 was aging, the Tourer and Tomcat had a limited life ahead of them, the 400 was just plain unappealing, the 600 was costing the company a packet to make and the 800 didn’t stack up against the opposition. Despite that, we still love them today – and, with a little luck and bravery from its then-owner, BMW, Rover could still have been a success had the right decisions been made.

That’s all in the past, though. Enjoy the video, and revel in this lovely little time capsule.

 

 

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

9 Comments

  1. I was selling that exact range in 1998. Admittedly it was residual 100-series stock and we had the over priced and under sized 200 series, but that was it. Highlight of the range was the Mini, but that didn’t make a lot of sense new. August 98-on-the-S was a real struggle.

    • @ Lord Sward:

      I know what you mean by “August 1998-on-the-S was a real struggle”. By late October 1998 the recently discontinued 800 Series and the 600 Series (the latter actually discontinued in the first week of January 1999) were being advertised with hefty discounts by the dealer network. Savings of up to £3,500 were possible on some models.

      The last of the 100 Series stock had dried up and annual sales of the R3 200 Series and HHR 400 Series had already peaked, with no major enhancements or product enrichments in the pipeline. The 200 BRM Limited Edition was one such product enrichment but it was too specialised in its appeal for its effect to cascade down to the lesser variants (and it ultimately did not arrive in dealer showrooms until March 1999).

      Meanwhile, value-for-money variants such as iE/iL/iXL/SEi etc. with enhanced specification, new interior colour schemes and a few new exterior colours (Morello and Celadon Green) did not arrive until April 1999 for the runout phase before the 25 and 45 were announced. In reality these runout editions were actually quite appealing and might have been more useful in helping to shift stock if they had arrived six months earlier.

      Definitely a difficult time for the dealer network and high discounting on 600 and 800 Series probably made potential customers worry more about residual values on a new purchase rather than whether they were getting a good deal.

    • Alistair… by chance I recognised that background music, it’s from a music library CD aimed at TV & Video Production and was recorded / published in the early 1990’s. I used to work in Corporate video and have the same CD in a draw at home.

      Looking at the Rover 600 reminds me what a good looking car it was.

      • The 600 was, and still is for remaining examples, an exercise in elegance, especially when compared to the slightly awkwardly styled “not quite a fastback” mk5 Accord on which it was based.

        Rover seemed quite good at taking awkward Honda designs and making them elegant – cf. Domani and the HH-R 400 saloon, or even the Concerto vs the R8 (especially Tomcat and tourer) where the minor detailing made it seem like more of a premium product.

  2. I’m surprised R3 doesn’t feature in this, as I recall that the R8 “niche models” only lost their 200/400 badges after it was launched?

    I’m guessing then that this was a “rest of the range” video produced to go with the R3 launch?

    • @maestrowoff:

      As you mention, it is a surprise that the R3 does not feature in this video. From studying the three remaining versions of the R8 featured, they are all 1996 Model Year spec examples (formally announced in March 1996) with the R3 style dashboard fascias and also new two-tone cloth seats for the Cabriolet. The 800 Series was also 1996 MY (formally announced from mid January 1996) with new colour schemes, revised interiors, colour-keyed bumper tops and of course the new KV6 engine.

      I am guessing this was a promotional video made in 1995 for the dealer network and issued in late 1995/early 1996 to update them on the changes planned for the first quarter of that year.

      Despite some of the aforementioned downsides with certain model ranges, I still love the air of confidence and conviction being displayed through this footage.

  3. The Escort sized 400 (HHR) sold as a Mondeo alternative, the 200 not really sized for any market slot at all competing with the 400, the old 400 (or is it 200) still on sale as an estate and cabrio, the 600 which should compete with the Mondeo competing with the 800 instead and the 15 year old Metro chucked in for good measure. What a bloody mess!

    • The models were pitched a segment too high, because they straddled segments. The R3 200 should’ve replaced the Metro/100 (or at least complemented it), the HH-R should’ve been the Golf beater, with the 600 in the mid range.

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