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MG NEWS STORIES FOR 2005

All Press Releases are provided by MG - Rovers Press office unless stated otherwise!

 
21 September 2005 - Rimmer Bros Appointed as an MG Rover Parts Distributor
The uncertainty surrounding the unfortunate demise of MG Rover has left many owners and the trade wondering where they will be able to buy original parts and accessories. Well, it is good news for owners and traders both in the UK and overseas. Rimmer Bros have been appointed as an official MG Rover Parts Distributor.

Over-The-Counter *** Mail Order *** Local Trade Delivery Service

Rimmer Bros have been supplying parts and accessories for classic Triumph and Rover SD1 for 25 years. More recently they have been supplying both genuine and aftermarket parts and accessories for Land Rovers, and are an Approved Land Rover Parts Supplier. The MG-Rover parts franchise compliments these perfectly. Using the latest in mail order technology and order processing they can despatch orders anywhere in the world from the vast stock of parts in their 55,000 sq ft warehouse complex.

This is in addition to the over-the-counter and local trade delivery service they offer. They can be contacted for retail or trade enquiries and orders as follows:

Telephone: 01522 563344
Fax: 01522 567600
Email: mgrover@rimmerbros.co.uk
Website: www.rimmerbros.co.uk

3 August 2005 - Press Release from the GB Sports Car Company Ltd
Fraser Welford-Winton, MD GB Sports Car Company Ltd announces the next steps in the development of MG automobiles at Longbridge

Nanjing Automobile Group and Fraser Welford-Winton, Managing Director of the GB Sports Car Company Ltd, have reached an agreement to collaborate on the next phases of activities resulting from the acquisition of the assets of MG Rover Ltd and Powertrain Ltd and in particular the finalisation of the UK strategy.

In conjunction with Nanjings established advisers, Arup Group and China Ventures Ltd, Fraser’s team will work on the development of a range of MG automobiles to be designed and developed for manufacture at Longbridge, Birmingham. Other activities will include the consolidation of the Longbridge site for automobile manufacturing and related activities in conjunction with St. Modwen Plc.

Fraser Welford-Winton said:”I am delighted I will be at the heart of the development and implementation of a business plan that will produce long term skilled jobs at Longbridge and create a centre of excellence for sports car activities for which the UK is world renowned”

Wang Hong Biao, Vice President Nanjing Automobile Group said:” We are delighted to have such fine British partners to reach our goals. In particular the wide knowledge and experience of Fraser and his team will complement the skills of ARUP and Nanjing Automobiles”

John Miles, Director of Arup Group said:” We welcome this agreement between Nanjing and Fraser. We look forward to deploying our engineering and design skills to help them to bring their vision of an MG car range to fruition”


Notes:

GB Sports Car Company Ltd
The GB Sports Car Company Ltd was founded to design, develop, manufacture and market British sports cars and to provide consultancy services to automobile related businesses. Fraser Welford-Winton, who held Managing Director roles in both Delphi Corporation and Powertrain Ltd, leads the team.

Nanjing Automobile Group (NAC)
NAC is China’s oldest automotive manufacturer with a strong capability in manufacturing and design- one of only three companies in China who produce a full range of vehicles and engines. NAC is headquartered in the Jiangsu province of China, one of the most economically developed provinces in the country.

China Ventures Ltd (CVL)
CVL is a company focusing on developing Sino-European business. It provides commercial and technical consultancy services to both Chinese and European companies in their automotive global strategy and acquisitions. Led by Dr.Qu Li, CVL has a highly experienced team and has successfully delivered many significant Sino-European turnkey projects.

Arup
Arup has been in the automotive and engineering business for 20 years, with offices around the world including in the UK, China, the US and Japan. Arup is already a key supplier for design and engineering for most of the world’s vehicle manufacturers, providing strategy, product development, production and operational services.
 
22 July 2005 - MG Rover Group and Powertrain Limited have been sold to Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation.
MG Rover Group Limited and Subsidiary Companies – In Administration – Sale of Assets 22/07/2005 00:00

The joint administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers have announced the sale of the assets of both MG Rover Group and its engine producer, Powertrain Limited to Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation. The sale concludes a three month process following the collapse of MG Rover in early April. Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation was one of the two Chinese groups that had planned to become joint venture partners with Phoenix Ventures, prior to the collapse of negotiations.

Tony Lomas, joint administrator, said:

“In early June I reported to the creditors that there were no viable bidders for the business as a going concern. As a result, plans had been put in place for a break-up sale, unless a bidder pre-empted that process before it could be completed. SAIC had offered to buy the engine plant for relocation to China, so negotiations were underway to sell those assets separately.

“Whilst we have been negotiating with Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation we have been aware of Martin Leach’s interest in the car production assets, although no bid has ever been made by Mr Leach.

“Until late last week SAIC had offered to acquire only the Powertrain assets. On Monday of this week SAIC submitted a conditional bid for all of the MG Rover and Powertrain assets. However the level and conditionality of SAIC’s bid left Nanjing’s bid as the preferred way forward.

“Nanjing will now begin to take control of the assets and develop its plans for the future. It has indicated its intention to relocate the engine plant and some of the car production plant to China, to retain some car production plant in the UK and to develop an R&D and technical facility here in pursuit of the same global expansion ambition that it had when it joined with SAIC as the intended joint venture partners to Phoenix Venture Holdings before the collapse of MG Rover.

“For a transition period a residual workforce will continue to be employed by MG Rover Group and Powertrain, assisting the Administrators as they have for the last three and a half months. In the meantime Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation intends to begin to hire staff to assist it in implementing and developing its strategy.”

 
29 June 2005 - Good news from Luffield cars!

Loughboroughs Motor Dealership, LUFFIELD CARS are pleased to announce an Exciting Change to their business which will take effect within the next few weeks. LUFFIELD CARS have been very active and passionate with the MG brand for many years and due to their commitments MG Motorsport, both through TF & ZR Racing and Sponsorship of the MGCC Speed Championship since 2001, their status as an official MG XPower Dealer and involvement with MG Car Clubs, they have continued to receive significant customer loyalty which has convinced them to continue and strengthen their links with the Marque.

DEDICATED MG LOW COST SERVICE FACILITY
Recognising the need to continue to give a Experienced & Dedicated service to all current MG customers, LUFFIELD CARS will be opening a NEW SPECIALIST MG APPROVED SERVICING FACILITY alongside its Belton Road Site. This new facility will include the continued display of MG Cars on sale together with Specialist MG workshops, MOT Bay, MG Diagnostic & 4 Wheel Alignment equipment together with a Relaxing, New Customer Waiting lounge. Paul Hands, MG-Rover Service Manager said We recognise that to remain competitive in this market place, whilst still offering true dealer dedication and professionalism, our prices must challenge the pricing policies of less experienced independents. He added We have already taken steps to expand our range of services offering customers Competitively Priced Servicing packages starting at £69.95. We will now be focusing on other key areas for the MG Rover driver, and using our status as XPART MG-Rover Parts wholesalers, will be able to offer many more keenly priced repairs

SPECIALIST MG SPORTS CAR CENTRE
Recognising the passion and enthusiasm that the directors, staff and customers have for the popular MG sporting brand, Luffield Cars will be continuing with the Sales of MG Sports Cars and Accessories from their new MG Centre. Additional focus will be given to MG Sport & Racing and XPower products, even offering customers pre-booked MG Race Track Days. They aim to continue their strong relationships with the MG Car Club, MG Owners Club and X Power Forums, including the continuation of their annual sponsorship, which commenced in 2001, of the MG Car Club Speed Championship.

COMMENTS FROM THE MANAGING DIRECTOR
David Wood, Managing Director of Luffield Cars said We are delighted to have be in a position to offer continued attention to all MG owners in the East Midlands, giving them full attention and expertise gained from our years with the MG Franchise and using Factory Trained Expert Technicians. I am sure that our future business plans and propose Marketing Activity will enable LUFFIELD CARS to remain a dominant force in the World of MG for some time to come.

Luffield Cars
Belton Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 1LR
Tel: 01509 216100
Fax: 01509 218806
e-mail david@luffield.com

www.luffield.com

 
16 June 2005 - DTI drove ‘news agenda’ to bring MGR down
The Department of Trade and Industry has been accused by opposition MPs of aiding the collapse of MG Rover.

Charles Hendry MP, the Tories' industry spokesman, says: "The Government proceeded to bring forward the closure of the company so that it happened at the beginning of an election campaign and not towards the end. The Government's hands are not clean on this."

Speaking in a Commons adjournment debate yesterday, John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP, said MG Rover's directors had agreed on December 17 that the car company was "balance sheet insolvent and dependent on the SAIC deal to carry on trading".

MG Rover's chances of success were undermined when the DTI confirmed rumours of a £100m bridging loan on April, resulting in suppliers demanding payment for parts.

He said: "It undermined the credibility of the company and increased its working capital requirements by £50m. That information should not have been made public. The DTI made the decision."

While the Chinese needed a few weeks to create an "escrow account" for the cash lifeline, the DTI ‘drove the news agenda’, first briefing journalists that talks with Shanghai Automotive had stalled on April 4 and then announcing that MG Rover had appointed receivers in a late night press conference on April 7.

Hemming added: "That announcement should not have been made by the DTI. It was a totally inappropriate thing to do for a public announcement. This deal could have been done."

Meg Munn MP, a junior DTI minister, said the Government had been monitoring MG Rover since last autumn and insisted it was inevitable that the loan would become public. She said: "The loan would have had to be decided by the European Commission. There was no prospect of it remaining secret."
 
15 June 2005 - MG Rover race dream ran up debt of £48m

By Chris Morley, Evening Mail

MG ROVER'S attempts to break into the glamour world of racing succeeded in selling fewer than ten cars - and clocked up £48 million debts.

The Phoenix Four's bid to create a "halo effect" to boost the image of the group proved a hugely expensive flop, selling cars at £80,000 - when they would have needed double that to come in at a profit because of the hi-tech materials used.

The full disaster of Longbridge-based MG Rover Sport and Racing venture was exposed to creditors at a meeting at Birmingham's Hilton Metropole yesterday.

Out of the £48.2 million owed when the subsidiary crashed into administration in April, £41.2 million was owed to the parent company, mainly in pension payments.

Virtually nothing has been left with which to pay the 200-plus companies saddled with unpaid bills.

Joint administrator Steven Pearson told the Evening Mail: "The reality is when you divide anything by £50 million, you don't get very much.

"We hope to preserve a few jobs and do a sale of the business, but I would not expect there to be anything except a few pence in the pound for creditors."

Sixty interested parties had inquired about the business but only three serious contenders were left in discussions, he revealed. A sale would go through in a month when checks had been carried out on finances.

Mr Pearson said the operation had been set up by MG Rover to ape bigger car makers who had loss-making supercars in their range.

But the Birmingham attempt had been beset with problems and Mr Pearson said that sales "were politely described as disappointing".

Finally launched for sale in September, the powerful V8 Mustang-engined MG SV sports car was not a hit in a highly competitive market. Fewer than ten were bought as the firm fought in a market range containing the likes of prestige Aston Martin.

Mr Pearson said the image was also dented by revelations from Mr Bean funnyman Rowan Atkinson that the car continually broke down as he test-drove it for a motoring magazine. The car's body was made from highly advanced carbon fibre which could have cost up to £30,000 alone. "Arguably, the car should have been sold at £150,000 not £80,000," added Mr Pearson.

The antics of the racing division were criticised this week by design guru Peter Stevens, who criticised John Towers and his directors for running the group like a "corner shop". He claimed money was lavished in attending glitzy racing meetings such as Le Mans.

 
13 June 2005 - Why Rover Crashed.
Julia Finch, City editor of the Guardian

The consultant director of design claims senior staff wasted company cash by taking business flights to Europe from Birmingham airport, when they could have flown for a fraction of the price on low-cost carriers.

He also accused the car group's top executives of naivety in the way they handled negotiations with Shanghai Automotive, whose withdrawal from takeover talks pushed MG Rover into bankruptcy.

His comments, in a TV interview to be screened tonight and on Friday, come just a few days after the car group's creditors were told they are unlikely to receive a penny of the cash they are owed. MG Rover's debts, the administrators revealed, totalled £1.4bn and they have now all but given up hope of selling the business as a going concern.

Mr Stevens, who designed the McLaren F1 racing car before joining MG Rover in 2000, said the chances of pulling off the rescue deal with the Chinese were never more than 50-50. Even if it had been successfully concluded, he says, the benefits were never going to be as people had imagined. "They [Shanghai Automotive] weren't going to take on the factory here, continue production just as it was and send cheap seat frames from China or something to cut the cost. It wasn't going to happen like that."

He describes Shanghai Automative as "undoubtedly very sharp people" and tells of a dinner for the two teams of negotiators in China. Mr Stevens claims the Chinese plied the MG Rover team with alcohol before starting talks after midnight in a bar. "I think the Chinese would have given themselves an advantage there."

Mr Stevens says that an alternative deal could have been done with Fiat, but says the car group's chief executive, Kevin Howe, seemed "over-awed" at a meeting with the Italians.

Fiat, he says, were keen to do a deal. "They were really up for that, totally," but Rover backed out. Mr Stevens says the Rover bosses were worried about doing a deal with a company they did not know and concerned about the number and cost of redundancies it would have caused at Longbridge.

The car designer said executives refused to consider taking cheap flights to save money: "The concept of getting up early and driving to Stansted was just absolutely anathema to people within the company," he says. Instead staff would spend £640 to fly from Birmingham to Italy. "I just used to die of frustration at that."

Mr Stevens also criticised huge overstaffing at the plant. There were people employed, he says, to ensure snow chains would fit on cars.

The TV programme also suggests Rover wasted millions of pounds trying to build the brand with a return to motorsport. Former racing driver Mark Blundell, who was employed by the company as a driver and adviser, says: "There was a massive muddle in terms of what they were trying to do ... There was disarray at so many different levels."

A department of trade and industry inquiry is now under way into the collapse.

· Why Rover Crashed: Tonight with Trevor McDonald is on ITV1 at 8pm on Monday June 13 and on Friday June 17.

 
7 June 2005 - PWC briefing!
MG Rover Group Limited - in administration - news conference alert 07/06/2005 00:00

The joint administrators of MG Rover Group Limited will be holding a news conference on Friday 10 June at 1.30pm to provide an update on the company’s affairs. The conference, which follows the MG Rover Group Limited creditors’ meeting, will take place in the Arden Room at the Hilton Metropole NEC Hotel, Birmingham. Broadcast crews and journalists will be able to set up equipment from 11am.

Media are requested to respond via email to confirm attendance.

Journalists who are unable to attend are invited to dial-in to the conference by following the instructions below. Again, journalists are requested to register for the dial-in facility by emailing either Jon Bunn or Caroline Feltham by Thursday 9 June.

Full PWC Release!

 
23 May 2003 - The Bidders according to Autocar!
Chapman Automotive:
Is bidding for the MG brand, the MG TF and the plant to manufacture it. It claims funding from a consortium including an overseas vehicle manufacture, a US based investment fund with a wealthy investor.

The Chapman plan involves reviving TF production and moving it to another West Midlands facility, but not producing any more MG saloons.
Production would begin "later this year" and cars would be sold through a revived dealer network in RH drive countries. A return to the US would also be on the cards. Chapman was involved in the production of the seductive but unsuccessful Tommy Kaira and MD Colin Spooner was a leading light in the production of the Mk2 Elan.

Welford-Winton
Six ex-Powertrain bosses have banded together, led by MD Fraser Welford-Winton, to form a company called UK Sports Cars Ltd, aiming not only to resurrect MG but the Austin-Healey marquee as well with a V8 powered rear wheel drive roadster.

The consortium's first move will be to restart MG TF production at Longbridge and soon afterwards launch a coupe version of the car, first revealed last November. The company is also believed to be planning an entry-level MG Midget. If its bid were successful, UK Sports Cars would aim to have the Austin Healey 4000 in production by 2010. The plan would be to give the car an extruded box-section chassis, of the type used by Lotus Elise & Aston Martin range, and to use super formed aluminium body panels.


Alchemy Partners
Bid now withdrawn

SAIC
MGR's proposed Chinese partner in 2004, which has already acquired rights to several MGR models and to some K-series engines, is believed to be a bidder for much that remains at Longbridge. Other bidders fear that it maybe interested in some of the MG properties - perhaps not all, but enough to make revival of the sports car company an impossibility.

The seriousness of its intentions in the UK wee underscored last week by a cryptic announcement from Ricardo engineering consultancy late last week, which stated it had signed a "significant contract" with SAIC. The Chinese have yet to approach BMW to negotiate the rights to use Rover's name. The fortunes of those negotiations will affect how SAIC views bidding for MG.

Peter Stevens is behind both British Bids!
 
20 May 2005 - PWC Update

Price Waterhouse and Cooper Website!

 

MG Rover Group Limited and subsidiary companies (in administration) - update by the joint administrators - 20 May 2005 20/05/2005 13:07
 

The joint administrators of MG Rover Group Limited asked potential bidders to provide proof of funds for their bids by the end of last week and have spent this week examining these. Interest in the MGTF sports car business has been narrowed down to three potentially viable proposals, which will now be explored in detail to see if one of these can be transacted, and discussions for the sale of the rest of the business and assets are continuing with two credible interested parties.

 

Tony Lomas, joint administrator and partner PricewaterhouseCoopers said:

“We are still discussing a sale of the rest of the business and assets with two credible interested parties. They are particularly concerned to understand what rights SAIC or other third parties have in physical assets at Longbridge and in the intellectual property rights. We can now provide them with a lot more positive information regarding these points as we have further examined the matter.”

 

“While there is still an outside possibility that some form of car production could recommence at Longbridge, the cost and complexity of the challenge should not be underestimated. Engine production would be a lesser, but still very demanding, challenge. The potential buyers are known to be looking at the alternative scenarios of continuing production at Longbridge or relocating it elsewhere.”

 

“While efforts to sell the business continue, we are progressively downsizing the support functions in order to further reduce costs. Around 400 people are still employed at MG Rover, helping us mothball the facilities and support car sales activities in the UK and Europe. A further 110 people are employed at Powertrain undertaking similar roles.”

 

“We will be posting letters to creditors early next week, notifying them of a meeting on 10 June at which we will report on the companies' affairs.”


Notes:
 

1. On Friday 8 April 2005, Ian Powell, Tony Lomas and Rob Hunt were appointed joint administrators of MG Rover Limited, while Tony Lomas, Rob Hunt and Steven Pearson were appointed joint administrators of Powertrain Limited. Steven Pearson and Rob Hunt were appointed joint administrators of MG Sport and Racing Limited on 12 April. Tony Lomas, Rob Hunt and Steven Pearson have also been appointed joint administrators to eight European subsidiaries of MG Rover Group Limited.

 
12 May 2005 - Chapman Automotive Limited bid for the TF line!
Chapman Automotive Limited is in the final stages of putting together a bid to purchase assets related to MG from the administrators of MG Rover Group Limited and Powertrain Limited, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Finance for the bid - which relates only to the MG brand, the TF two-seater sports car and associated manufacturing equipment – is supported by a consortium of investors including an overseas vehicle manufacturer, a US-based investment fund and a wealthy entrepreneur.

The Chapman Automotive plan sees the revival of the MG TF model only and the transfer of its production from Longbridge to another facility in the West Midlands. It does not include the MG range of saloons, hatchbacks and estate cars.

It is envisaged that production will commence later this year, with sales through a revived dealer network in the UK, Europe and other right-hand drive markets. A return to the US market is predicted within the medium term.
Chapman Automotive was founded by Colin Spooner former design director of Lotus Cars; Colin Cushing, founder of Canewdon Consultants Group; and Barrie Wills, who, for the last 20 years has acted as a consultant to mature and emergent car OEMs.

Past clients of the three include: Proton, Lotus, Lamborghini, Ford, Fiat, Yulon Motors, Eicher Motors, Iran Khodro, Tianjin Auto, Kia and Tata Motors.
 
9 May 2005 - Former MGR Head of training launches FREE website to help people back into work!

Free Website www.mgrovertoptalent.com has been launched (Tuesday 10th May) to help anybody who has been affected by the recent closure of MG Rover, Longbridge Birmingham back into work.


Former Head of Training at MG Rover Longbridge, Jo Cameron of
www.enliven-uk.com

has teamed up with Paul Curtis of www.theateammarketing.com and local award winning web designers www.threadcreative.co.uk to launch this innovative solution to assist people in their job seeking activities. It is the first service of its kind to match job seekers directly with employers. All parties have friends and family who have worked at Longbridge and have been deeply affected by events there.

 

The website will enable people looking for work (the seekers) to post their profiles, providing a shop window for employers (the finders) looking to fill vacancies. It will hold details of people with a whole range of skills who make outstanding employees in most sectors from IT to Manufacturing, from Engineering to Finance and HR to Sales and Marketing.

 

The service is free to employers, employees and agencies and will run initially until the end of September. It is a one-stop shop for local and national employers to plug their skills gaps.


Ken Kelly Head of Vehicle Assembly who has worked at the company for nearly 25 years and managed over 2000 employees commented, "There are thousands of highly trained, adaptable, flexible skilled people who are now looking for work. If employers are having difficulties filling vacancies simply log on to the website”.


Adrian Ross of the Longbridge works committee supports the idea, commenting "When something likes this happens it affects a whole community, its great to see so many people helping out"

 

For more information please call :

 

Jo Cameron 07841 764 781

 

Paul Curtis 07780 663007

 

Ken Kelly 0771 5699369

 
20 April 2005 - Glasses Guide reassess MGR depreciation!

Following on from the news that MG Rover was being put into administration, there has been widespread speculation about the effect this might have on residual values. According to Glass’s, a definitive situation regarding increased rates of depreciation for MG and Rover-branded cars has yet to emerge fully, with most dealers unwilling to make dramatic price reductions until patterns of demand become more clear. However, it is already apparent that the market can expect minimum additional falls in value of around 10 per cent.

"It is still too early to provide a definitive assessment of how MG Rover is perceived in the eyes of the wider buying public and how this translates into what they are prepared to pay," explains Adrian Rushmore, Managing Editor at Glass’s. "Not unsurprisingly, this uncertainty has initially resulted in low trade and part-exchange prices as the measure of risk is considered to be high. When market prices start to stabilise, it is likely that some of the recently quoted prices will appear to be an over-reaction."

Glass’s says the question of price is more acute in relation to the age of the car. "MG Rover cars beyond six or seven years old are scarcely affected because prices are low and customers are far less brand conscious. For these older cars, the buying criteria have much more to do with reliability, practicality and low running costs.

"However, for younger cars the issues are greater. Warranties have to be offered to make them saleable and prospective customers need to be reassured about future backup for servicing and parts. Rover cars will also carry the stigma of being ‘defunct’. These are the key elements that will determine the market price realignment that is necessary."

Another qualifying factor is that in recent months MG Rover prices have been falling across the board, and at an accelerated rate compared to the broader market. "Prior to the closure announcement, market jitters had already repositioned prices against competing brands and, for the key models of 25, 45, and 75, the residual value ranking was already low," states Rushmore. "Clearly, since the announcement, prices have stepped down again."

Glass’s says franchised dealers have made additional pricing adjustments with their stock over recent days, but there was little evidence that prices were slashed. "Price reductions were more in line with the actions that would be taken as stock ages. A logical approach would be to test the market with incremental drops of perhaps £500, measuring customer reaction at each price adjustment. The practicality of doing this will depend on the urgency to liquidate stock and the actions taken by competing dealers with a similar profile of stock.

"Glass’s Guide values for MG Rover cars are down in the order of 10 per cent. We are conscious that some of the low prices we have recorded recently are a possible market over-reaction and the last thing we want to do is to lead prices to an artificially low level. What we are reflecting is the highest possible level that prices could settle at in the coming weeks, given that values are now lower than all competing brands," concludes Rushmore.

 
18 April 2005 - Warranty Direct offers 20% discount on MGR Warranty!
Following the demise of MG Rover, independent warranty company, Warranty Direct is offering MG Rover customers 20% off any new warranty policy purchased. The offer is applicable to cars under 5 years old.

Last Wednesday, the administrators, PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC), wrote to MG Rover dealers confirming that they will no longer be able to meet the cost of repairs.

Previously, MG Rover had reimbursed franchised dealers for the cost of any repairs carried out for a period of up to three years after a new car was sold. However, following the analysis of their financial state, PwC has confirmed MG Rover can no longer afford to honour the commitment.

It's estimated 150,000 MG Rover owners have lost their car warranty cover - vehicles which were ranked 16th out of 28 in the annual Warranty Direct Reliability Index Survey (
www.reliabilityindex.co.uk)

"MG Rover owners have been left in the lurch with their vehicle warranties. Should their vehicle develop a fault, they will no longer be able to return to their franchised dealer and expect the cost to be covered by a manufacturer warranty," said Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher.

"Under the Sale of Goods Act, consumers can find some protection. Should their car need remedial work, depending on the fault and age of vehicle, they may be able to claim through the small claims court. However, the industry is already raising questions marks about the futures of many of the franchised dealers.”

For further details please visit
www.warrantydirect.co.uk or call 0800 731 7001

ENDS

For further information please contact Andrew Francis or Charlotte Latham at Performance PR on Tel: 0208 946 3456 Mob: 0787 981 3639

Warranty Direct’s annual Reliability Index (
www.reliabilityindex.co.uk), examines
 
15 April 2005 - A statement from PVH!

Statement:

 

During the course of this past week the administrator, PWC, the Trades Unions, the DTI and members of the management team have explored every avenue aimed at avoiding today’s redundancy announcements.

 

Clearly, not enough progress has been made on this to provide comfort for the administrators, and for the DTI, to continue the payment process that began last week.

 

In May 2000, when Rover was saved from BMW’s liquidation process, a lot of people said that the business could not last for more than 14 months. The management and employees of MG Rover have defied those conventional predictions and worked tirelessly to create a positive result.  Almost five years later, and within weeks of what we believe to be its natural long-term outcome, it is devastating to be stopped at the final hurdle. 

 

In a meeting with the administrators this afternoon, the directors of PVH discussed whether any other possibilities, including use of PVH and personal assets, could provide a further mechanism to allow employees to continue to be paid. The conclusion of this discussion was that the best use of those assets would be to quickly realise their value for the benefit of the Trust established to benefit the families and dependants of the Longbridge workforce.

 

 

This will enable the initial Trustees, Carl Chinn and Nigel Petrie, to start providing financial assistance to the employees of Longbridge, and their families.  We can also announce that the Bishop for Birmingham, has approached us, and has agreed to become a Trustee of that fund.

 

In addition to the many millions of pounds being made available for the Employee Trust, we are also committed to provide any other support that the administrators request in creating the best possible employment outcome for this business emerging from insolvency.  Despite a concerted view to the contrary, we remain hopeful that car making at Longbridge is not at an end.

 

For all of us this is a desperately sad day.  Our hearts go out to all of our employees, their families, and the local community, at this terrible time.

 

John Towers, Peter Beale, John Edwards, Nick Stephenson

 
13 April 2005 - XPart speaks out to MG and Rover Customers!

Desford, UK – 12 April 2005 – XPart, the company that owns and operates the entire spare parts business for MG Rover, today reassured owners that the ongoing parts support of their vehicles is in good hands. XPart, a division of Caterpillar Logistics Services, is largely unaffected by the current difficulties at MG Rover and is running its spare parts distribution operations as normal.

“With £40million of parts in our warehouse, and strong ongoing partnerships with the 800 companies that supply parts for MG Rover models, we are in an excellent position to maintain uninterrupted supply to MG Rover dealers worldwide,” said John Parkinson, Chairman of Xpart.
“Whatever the outcome of the negotiations at MG Rover in the next few days and weeks, it is important that everyone who owns one of the three million plus MG Rover vehicles on the road today understands that the entire dealer network is supported by a thriving, dedicated and world-class spare parts business.”

XPart’s Desford facility, one of the largest warehouses in Europe, carries the manufacturer’s total range of parts required for all MG Rover vehicles, present and past.

Background Information about XPart!

XPart is a division of Caterpillar Logistics Services, Inc. Cat Logistics provides world-class supply chain solutions and services to its parent company, Caterpillar Inc., and more than 50 other leading corporations throughout the world. Headquartered in Morton, Illinois, USA, Caterpillar Logistics operates more than 100 offices and facilities in 25 countries on six continents. Caterpillar Logistics provides its full service capabilities to companies in market sectors, which include automotive service parts, industrial service parts, consumer durables, technology and electronics, manufacturing logistics, and aerospace service parts.
More information is available at www.XPart.com

 
8 April 2005 - Appointment of Administrators

The Board of directors has met with PriceWaterhouseCoopers this morning. The directors are taking the necessary steps to appoint administrators from PWC for MG Rover Group and Powertrain.

Following the completion of these formalities the administrators will issue a statement and press release later today.

All employees are asked to come to work normally on Monday.

 
7 April 2005 - Statement from board of directors!

The board of MG Rover has asked Price Waterhouse Coopers to accept engagement to advise the board of directors on the current position of the company.

The management is committed to working closely with the Trade Unions, DTI and Advantage West Midlands agency who can provide support.

This is a deeply worrying time for everyone and our thoughts are with the workers and their families. We would like to thank everyone for their loyalty and commitment at this very trying time.

 
7 April 2005 - MGR calls on government to decide on loan!
Today MG Rover called on the Government to make a decision on the bridging loan which will open the way to the car maker completing complex negotiations with the Chinese company SAIC. The loan is crucial if the partnership is to be established.

Peter Beale, PVH vice chairman commented:” We requested the bridging loan from the Government to provide the additional time needed to complete our partnership with SAIC. The PVH directors will provide £10 million of personal money to convince the Government of our commitment. What we need now is the Government to decide.

“Speculation about the ability of MG Rover to survive will continue to mount as long as the decision on the loan is delayed. The speculation has affected the confidence of our suppliers and dealers and time is clearly running out.”

 

30 March 2005 - Lewis Day embrace the Unmistakeable Style of Rover

LEWIS DAY EMBRACE THE UNMISTAKEABLE STYLE OF ROVER

 

When you operate an executive car service you want to offer an experience that’s welcoming and refined, style that’s distinctive and elegant in an environment that feels effortlessly reserved and stress free.

 

Having recently taken delivery of 128 Rover 75s Lewis Day Transport provides that exact same experience.  With clients who range from the cream of the FTSE 100 executives to the darlings of the media world, each patron is rewarded with premier service in a luxurious atmosphere.

 

“The Rover 75’s smooth drive, refined looks, reliability and spacious boot make it a perfect executive vehicle,” said Jeffrey Ritterband, Lewis Day Transport, operations director. “The drivers think the car is fantastic and it’s even been the cause of one or two arguments as they all want to drive one, I’ve never heard of that happening before!”

 

The Rover 75s are not the only Longbridge models Lewis Day purchased.  As rapid response vehicles for delivering urgent medical supplies the company recently opted for two MG ZT 190s.  “Not only are they exceptionally quick,” said Ritterband of the ZTs, “but they have a real presence which makes other road users sit up and take notice.”

 

“We’re delighted that Lewis Day has recognised the essence and core brand values that each of the marques offers,” said Kevin Brown, MG Rover Group, director, corporate sales.

 

17 March 2005 - Hands free Kits available

MG Rover Group today announces it is equipping all Rover 75 and MG ZT models with integrated wiring for hands-free telephones.  To complement this action, a full range of compatible phone kits offering extensive choice and value is now available from dealerships.

 

By making the ‘hands free’ wiring part of the standard line build specification, installation of the cradle and microphone is reduced from two hours to 15 minutes.  Also, and more importantly, the fitment of the external equipment does not disturb the car’s integrity and quality.

 

The initiative developed with leading telephone accessory supplier Pama, gives MG and Rover customers the benefit of being able to keep their current mobile phone and easily install it into their new car.  The integrated wiring combined with the Basic Car Kit is compatible with 95 per cent of all mobile phones.  No other manufacturer currently offers this level of compatibility with integrated phone preparation.

 

“The mobile phone is a part of everyday life so I am delighted that we’re the first to integrate mobile phone wiring with such a wide choice,” said Rod Ramsay, MG Rover Group managing director, sales and marketing.  “The chances are that you change your phone more often than your car,” added Ramsay, “so the low cost of repeat telephone installation is a key issue to encourage legal phone compliance.”

 

Four optional packages are available with different levels of sophistication and range between £229.99 and £299.99 with installation included.

 

MG Rover Basic Car Kit – £229.99   

The harness operates with 95% of phones – includes a phone holder, Peiker microphone, electronic control unit and installation.

 

MG Rover Standard Car Kit – £259.99

A range of bespoke telephone cradles operates with 70% of all phone designs and kit includes a Peiker microphone, Panorama antenna, electronic control unit with integrated harness and installation.

 

MG Rover Deluxe Car Kit, with user interchangeable cradle – £289.99      

A range of bespoke telephone cradles with user interchangeable connections operates with 75% of customer phone designs.  The kit includes a Peiker microphone, Panorama antenna, electronic control unit with integrated harness and installation.

 

MG Rover Bluetooth Car Kit – £299.99

Works with all voice enabled Bluetooth phones – includes a phone holder, Peiker microphone, electronic control unit with integrated harness, charging lead and installation.

 

Note: Since 1 December 2003, the law prohibits holding a telephone while driving, however due to widespread disregard, the Government is in the process of introducing greater penalties and high policing to ensure compliance in 2005.

 

17 March 2005 - MG Ice Maiden is Double World Champion - Bobsleigh!

While ice and snow brought the UK to a standstill, one lady was using the elements to her advantage.  Down the icy curves and straights of the World Cup bobsleigh tracks, MG sponsored-Sandra Kiriasis and her German team were cutting up speeds of over 80 miles per hour and taking corners at four times the force of gravity to take the World Championship and World Cup titles.

 

With over 1475 metres of adrenaline, raced in under 60 seconds, Sandra took the MG motor racing spirit to the ice. Together with her team-mates Anja Schneiderheinze and Berit Wiacker, Sandra had the perfect end to an excellent season by winning the World Championships at the final round in Calgary, Canada.  The World Cup, a competition that runs consecutively over seven selected venues, was secured with an outstanding five wins.

 

“The MG-sponsored women’s bobsleigh is a genuine high-speed ride of excitement, so we are naturally thrilled that the ladies have achieved success and are odds-on for more,” said MG Rover Germany, managing director, Jürgen Voss.

 

Sandra and the MG bobsleigh team are now looking ahead to the winter Olympics in 2006, “Our recent success is brilliant, now we’re aiming for gold in the Turin 2006 Olympics.”

 

On or off the track, in or out the car, the MG race fundamentals remain the same: speed, ambition, skill and an unconditional desire to perform to the limit.  This explains why the women’s bobsleigh team ‘take the MG’ and the winning title.

 

12 March 2005 - SUN scoops the RDX60!

The Sun leads the way with MG Rover news. The picture ellegedly leaked by someone from the Longbridge reveals the concept for the RD/X60, and is something of an evolution from the TCV we've been expecting.

Of course, it can be assumed this is in no way an official picture, and it may well be unrelated to the final design.

 

12 March 2005 - Herbert Austin joins Automotive hall of fame!

Geneva, 1 March – It is 100 years since Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge in the UK. Today, he is to be honoured by the European Automotive Hall of Fame. He will be remembered alongside other industry legends such as Henry Ford, Karl Benz, Etorre Bugatti, Alec Issigonis and Armand Peugeot.

Each year, during the Geneva Motor Show, the European Hall of Fame honours technical, managerial and entrepreneurial achievements in the industry. In 2005 Herbert Austin joins with Vincenzo Lancia, Pierre Lefaucheux and Ferdinand 'Ferry' Porsche.

The European Automotive Hall of Fame has a permanent home at the Palexpo in Geneva. The presentation will take place at a celebration dinner, attended by over 300 senior automotive executives, following the opening day of the motor show.

Austin was one of the founding fathers of the British motor industry. He was born in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire in 1866. At the age of 16 he went to Melbourne, Australia, where he worked as an engineer before returning to Birmingham, England in 1889 to supervise Frederick York Wolseley’s sheep shearing equipment factory.

The two later started making cars, and Austin started his own company a century ago, this year at Longbridge. Austin Motor produced 120 Endcliffe Phaetons. The 25 BHP car was priced at £6.

His business ingenuity and dream to build cars saw the company export cars all over the world. Notable products made at Longbridge include the Austin Seven, which was unveiled in 1922. The Seven set the standard for a European small car that was inexpensive and met the needs of the family. By 1926 annual production was 14,000. The car was built until 1939, when Austin’s Longbridge factory was turned into a manufacturing base for military vehicles, equipment and aircraft – the Hurricane fighter, Stirling and Lancaster bombers being the most famous. During the war, the Longbridge factory tripled its size to 22,000 employees. He was knighted for his contributions to the war effort but Austin died in 1941.

An event is being held at Longbridge to celebrate and commemorate the founding of the Austin Motor Company and 100 years of continuous motor vehicle production, during the weekend starting Friday 8 to 10 July 2005. It will be the largest ever gathering of Longbridge built motor vehicles and is to be held on Cofton Park, opposite the factory in South Birmingham. Visit www.austinmotor.co.uk for more information.

 
7 March 2005 - Auto Express visits Longbridge!
We all know hi-tech robots build cars, but you can't just plug them into a three-pin socket in the factory wall and expect them to work their magic. They need power - and lots of it. But when we heard about what's beating at the heart of MG Rover's Longbridge factory, we had to get a closer look. No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. It's a jet engine, and it's identical to the ones strapped to the wings of the RAF's giant Hercules transport planes!

This awesome powerplant, built by American firm Allison and installed 10 years ago, is on full throttle in the battle to save the struggling Midlands car manufacturer. Housed in a huge green steel box deep in the bowels of the Birmingham site, you need earplugs to go anywhere near it - we know, because we've been there.

The engine is essential to the site's £7.5 million Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, and it's waste gases are burned in a boiler which helps meet the factory's demand for heating - everything from the paintshop to the radiators in the boardroom. It also fires a generator that provides up to 10 per cent of the electricity Longbridge consumes.

And there's one man who knows more about it than any other; as site operations services manager, Tony Osbourne's job is to keep everything running smoothly. But there's more; he's also a walking encyclopaedia of the site, and that's why he seemed like the ideal person to take us on a guided tour. But we didn't just want to have a look at the secret stuff. Why? Because Longbridge is about to celebrate it's 100th birthday.

Tony is immensely proud of the CHP. Tapping a tickling dial in the control room, he told us: "Everytime that meter clocks, I have saved the company a few more pence. CHP replaced the old coal-fired boilers, and this is still the only gas turbine generator installed at a UK car factory. It means we have both reduced emissions and generate, on average, up to 10 per cent of our own electricity. That saves us roughly £600,000 annually, and we have some power-hungry facilities here, I can tell you - the paintshop especially."

Tony is an expert in running a car factory. He started as an apprentice at Longbridge in 1972, and MG Rover bosses are in awe of his knowledge of the place and the models it has produced. That's why, dwarfed by the boilers in the huge CHP plant, there stands a vintage Austin Seven. This was the car that put Longbridge on the map, and the company chairman John Towers has entrusted Tony to get it into tip-top running order. It will be part of MG Rover's centenary celebrations.

There has been a factory on this site since 1894 - when a Birmingham firm set up shop to make printed tins - but by 1905 it was disused. Herbert Austin, a former chief engineer with Wolseley, was anxious to establish his own car company, and the modern yet idle Longbridge factory was ideal. That's partly because it was so far away from the industrial centre of Birmingham, where airborne soot particles made a perfect paint finish virtually impossible!

He bought the place for £7,750, bargaining the liquidator down from £10,000. In November 1905, things started to happen, and within weeks he'd formed the Austin Motor Company. By the end of the following year, 26 cars had been built, and the rest they say, is history.

Our next port of call was just as amazing as the CHP - how many modern car plants boast their own air-raid shelters? Longbridge was a target for the Germans in World War II as it made Hurricane fighter planes and Lancaster bombers, but Austin was prepared for the attacks. It had space for 10,000 people built into the hillside behind the factory. Some shelters were later used as part of a 16 mile underground parts conveyor belt network, but today they're abandoned. Tony took us to the bricked-up front of one of the tunnels where the terrified employees sheltered from the bombs. Just looking at it was a sobering thought.

Nearby is evidence of German destruction of a different kind. Several rubble-strewn acres are all that's left of Longbridge's old seat-making building. It was demolished by BMW to make way for a paintshop that would have helped Longbridge make the new MINI. But when BMW sold Rover and MG in 2000 - and kept MINI fir itself - the Phoenix Consortium, which bought the plant for a token £10, cancelled all construction. "BMW did a lot of damage before it abandoned us." said Tony.

Herbert Austin controlled his empire from a small, first-floor wood-panelled office near the entrance to the factory. He was renowned for working there seven days a week, but the building had to be bulldozed to make way for what is now the South Engineering Block.

Sadly Austin died in 1941, but loyal executives moved his office in it's entirety into the new building, even down to it's carpets and light fittings. Despite British Leyland's mid-Seventies bids to destroy the past, the office survived, and in 2003 it was dismantled and transferred to a new position inside MG Rover's conference centre. It has been perfectly re-assembled to represent the room as Austin left it in his last working days.

Visitors can see the office from a gallery, but Auto Express was given unique access. I got to sit in Austin's very own padded chair behind an enormous oak desk, and even pick up his personal Bakelite telephone. It was the very spot where the venerable tycoon gave the go-ahead to all-time greats such as the Austin seven, and signed off designs for cars like the 1938 Austin 12, a restored version of which is Tony Osbourne's pride and joy.

The office is crammed with Austin's personal effects, and the panelled door that would have led to Herbert Austin's personal lavatory is still in place, even if the toilet is long gone! Fixed to the wood walls behind Austin's desk is an old coin; it's a reminder that Longbridge's current fight for survival is nothing new.

The half-crown (the equivalent of 12.5p today) is said to be the one that Austin tossed to decide whether to shut Longbridge in the early Twenties when his company was facing bankruptcy. Heads said to keep going - and heads it landed. Austin asked his workforce to work for a month on no pay in return for "a job for life", and Longbridge bounced back. "Some people were still working those jobs in the Seventies when they were well into their seventies, " laughed Tony.

Longbridge has one more secret that most people don't know about - but it's not actually on the giant site. A stone's throw to the north is an estate of neat and identical little wooden bungalows on quiet, leafy avenues. Passers-by would perhaps never realise this is what remains of 'Austin Village', created in 1917 by Herbert himself to house key workers. They were built from cedar wood kits imported from the USA, and today they are carefully preserved by their proud owners. Something which, despite all it's troubles, could also be said of Longbridge itself.
 
21 February 2005 - MGR signs a deal to meet end of Life Vehicle Regulations!
MG Rover today announced that it has signed a 10-year agreement to meet its long-term compliance with the new UK End of Life Vehicle (ELV) ‘Producer Responsibility’ Regulations 2005.

In partnership with Cartakeback.com Limited, MG Rover will provide owners with access to a national network of facilities that will ensure environmentally acceptable treatment of end-of life vehicles, optimising recycling of the cars and reducing waste.

As an incentive, all owners of complete MG Rovers will qualify for free take-back through the network from 1 January 2007.

Cartakeback is a joint venture company backed by a consortium of independent metal recycling companies. The network of Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) will guarantee regulatory standards for de-pollution treatment and recycling of ELVs, and provide a Certificate of Destruction to owners.

Enhanced Cartakeback and MG Rover standards will reflect further operational and customer service quality requirements not stated in the regulations.

Rob Oldaker, MG Rover product development director, said: "We are delighted to be one of the first car companies to have complied with the UK ELV regulations.

"We make continued efforts in product development to restrict hazardous substances to within legal limits and to implement an ethic of ‘Design for Recycling’. We now look forward to working with Cartakeback to ensure the actual re-use/recovery performance of our vehicles moves from the current levels of around 77 per cent to the new legislated targets of 85 per cent in 2006 and 95 per cent in 2015."

Growth of the network will develop across the whole of the UK during 2005, but the free take-back of all MG Rover Group’s ELVs registered new from 1 July 2002 has already been implemented.

In keeping with the ‘producer responsibility’ rules, MG Rover ‘legacy’ brand cars manufactured before the year 2000, including: Austin, Morris, Triumph, Wolseley, Riley, and the original Mini, are also covered within this plan.

When the main free take-back regulation for all ELVs is invoked in 2007, MG Rover will have a car parc of approximately 2m with around 200,000 ELVs arising in the UK during that year.

 

4 February 2005 - Rover steps out in leather for NEW ad campaign!

MG Rover Group launches its new advertising for Rover this week, targeting a discerning, affluent audience.

It is the first work from St Luke’s since the agency was awarded the business and marks a return to Rover’s focus on product quality and design heritage.

The press and radio campaign features Rover’s new ‘Leather as Standard’ proposition, whereby all 2005 Rover 25 and Rover 45 models come with leather upholstery as part of the standard package.

This campaign principally targets ‘empty nesters’ who are taking advantage of their freedom to choose the kind of life they want to live. This is reflected in the new end line: "Rover – Your Space" which features in both the press and radio ads.

137201-a-mgr-.jpgThe press campaign, which will appear in national newspapers, Sunday supplements and consumer magazines, uses the values of the marque to create an up-market, aspirational feel to the ads. The photography, together with the strong black and red colour theme signals a renewed sense of sophistication.

Two 40-second radio ads support the leather proposition with a sensual but humorous approach. The first, ‘Aromatherapy’, plays with the smell of leather, whilst the second, ‘Cloth’, examines the differences between the look, feel and durability of leather upholstery and that of cloth.

Steve Robertson, director marketing and product services at MG Rover Group, says of the new ads: "This campaign illustrates the value that Rover is putting back into our products. By offering leather as standard on Rover 25 and 45 we are creating a unique proposition which will appeal to our target audience."

Neil Henderson, joint MD of St Luke’s adds: "We’ve gone back to the brand’s roots and picked up on the quality, style and attention to detail that Rover is rightly proud of."