This article covers the whole Rover CityRover saga in 4 parts. First Part MG Rover.

MG Rover (2000): The story technically starts in 2000 but we need a to go back in time in 1986 British Leyland Plc gets renamed to Rover Group Plc soon after Margaret Thatcher appointed Graham Day as the Chairman & MD of the company.

After divesting of its commercial vehicles divisions (Leyland Trucks, Leyland Bus and Freight Rover), and the spares and logistics firm Unipart, the company then consisted of the car manufacturing arm Austin Rover Group and the Land Rover Group. This group was privatised in 1988 by the sale of the company to British Aerospace Plc for £150 million who retained Day as joint CEO & Chairman, and made Kevin Morley MD of Rover cars. Cut to 1994 the Rover Group is sold to BMW. In April 2000 BMW sold car & powertrain manufacturing assets of the Rover Group to Phoenix Consortium also known as Phoenix Venture holdings a company consisting of John Towers (Former Executive Of Rover Group), Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards. Phoenix Consortium bought Rover Group for £10 in April 2000 with a £500 million dowry payment form BMW. (BMW retained the Rover marque allowing MG Rover to use it under licence but later sold it to Ford after MG Rover was dissolved.)

The key people in MG Rover were John Towers (chairman), Kevin Howe (MD) & Peter Stevens (Chief Designer). After the acquisition the then current lineup of the brand was not looking so good. There was the then newly launched Rover 75 (MG Rover launched a badge engineered MG version called MG ZT in 2001), the 45 & 25 range , the Mini & the MGF roadster.

The 45 & 25 were facelifted but they were 5 years old and the Mini was discontinued 6 months after the acquisition. MG Rover didn’t have much R&D because BMW sold the Gaydon facility to Ford (which ultimately went to TATA Motors in 2008 along with JLR). They didn’t inherit the Rover 55 eity which was a new model being developed under BMW (codename R30) and the lack of an entry level model since the Metro/100 was discontinued in 1998, the management reached a conclusion that collaboration was needed.

The 2 companies were finalized China Brilliance Industrial Holdings & TELCO.

To be Continued…..

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