Rover Plans to Build New Mgs within two Years

Published May 28th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Besides building the mid-engined roadster, the MGF, in traditional British motoring style, Rover Cars, acquired by the Phoenix Consortium from BMW earlier this month, intends to start building a whole line of cars carrying the famous octagonal MG emblem within two year, Bloomberg news reported on Sunday. 

According to the American news service, Co-Chief Executive Nick Stephenson said Rover Cars wants to introduce a new line of MG-brand cars within two years, that would include an MG sedan, a derivative of a current Rover car, with upgrades from Mayflower Plc and Lola, the British race car maker that Stephenson is on loan from.  

"We can bring volume to them and they can help us develop the MG," Stephenson was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. Mayflower makes body panels for the current MGF sports car that Rover makes. Lola could provide improved "dynamics, chassis and aerodynamics" to make the cars fun to drive, he said.  

Stephenson is co-chief executive of Phoenix along with John Towers, who led the group of ex-Rover executives and British investors that formed Phoenix and acquired the money-losing business from BMW earlier this month.  

Yesterday, Rover hired Kevin Howe, the former managing director of Rover's Longbridge assembly plant, to become chief executive starting June 1. After that, Towers likely will become chairman and Stephenson will be co-chairman and they will deal with strategic issues for Rover, Stephenson said.  

A former design chief at Rover, Stephenson said Rover wants a major automaker to help it redesign its best sellers, the Rover 25 and 45 cars, in three years. He said the company hasn't yet approached any companies. Honda Motor Co., a former Rover partner, said it's not interested.  

"We're confident we can find a major player in the industry to work with," Stephenson said.  

He also said Rover will make an offer to buy within three weeks the engine plant at Longbridge and a stamping plant at Swindon owned by BMW.  

He dismissed analysts who questioned whether Rover could be profitable as a seller of 200,000 cars a year. The company's finances, which include a $734 million loan from BMW, are "very solid," he said. "We don't intend to go away." – 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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