MG Rover may shortly add a people carrier to its range, and possibly a double-cab pick-up truck too. The new models, developed by partners China Brilliance, could be imported or built under licence at the company's Birmingham plant, according to a report in The Observer. The terms of the collaboration between MG Rover and China Brilliance allow either partner to manufacture each others' models in China or the UK. Development of the people carrier is believed to be nearing completion, though MG Rover may want to make styling and engineering modifications to the car, as it did with the Hondas it made under licence, before launching it in Europe. No time-scale has been given, but an MG Rover spokesman said the car could be marketed 'within months rather than years.'
There's no indication of whether the vehicle is a large, Ford Galaxy/Renault Espace people carrier, or the smaller and more popular Renault Scenic/Vauxhall Zafira category, but the car will almost certainly be badged a Rover, in keeping with the versatility aspirations the company has for the marque, as demonstrated by the recent TCV concept car. Also up for consideration is a double-cab pick-up that China Brilliance manufactures - vehicles of this type are rare, but growing in popularity and could provide MG Rover with another business opportunity. A spokesman said that the collaboration 'is gathering momentum - four board directors were in China last week, and there is now a huge amount of activity in the company.'
MG Rover is still planning an early 2004 launch for the new medium car, and a 2005 launch for the new small car whose development is made possible by the collaborative deal. In the meantime, expect freshenings of the existing range, whose age will increasingly threaten their showroom appeal.