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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Third World' logistics service The Birmingham Post - United Kingdom; Apr 12, 2002 BY JAMES O'BRIEN

A distribution deal signed by MG Rover with US company Cat Logistics has got off to such a bad start that dealers have been asked to collect their urgently needed parts from the Longbridge plant.

Insurance companies who lease cars for motorists while their Rover and MG cars are in repair shops are now telling some customers still waiting for their vehicle to be returned that they will no longer pay for the leasing.

Cat Logistics - part of the Caterpillar group - has its distribution hub at Desford in Leicestershire.

An MG Rover dealer who asked not to be named because he feared he would lose his franchise said the supply of parts to dealers had 'reached crisis point'.

The dealer said: 'Since the contract has been placed with Caterpillar we have experienced a dire shortage of parts which is causing an enormous amount of customer dissatisfaction. MG Rover has written to us asking us to collect our spare parts.

'We have moved from having one of the world's best systems to a logistics service which can only be described as Third World.'

MG Rover signed its distribution contract with Cat Logistics in November last year and it became operational last month. Cat Logistics replaced Unipart.

MG Rover said when it signed the deal that the agreement would build a worldwide parts operation with an expected turnover of pounds 250 million.

This month MG Rover started e-mailing dealers about the parts they had ordered and told them they were invited to collected their orders from the Longbridge plant.

A letter was sent out on April 2 to dealer principals, service managers and parts managers about emergency action on back-orders by Mike O'Hara, MG Rover parts director.

In the letter he stated: 'This material is assumed to be urgent so will not be packaged in the usual way. Wholesalers may wish to co-ordinate transport with neighbouring wholesalers where long journeys are involved.'

The letter also refers to the 'concern and determination expressed by the MG Rover board to turn around the current situation' and that Cat Logistics and MG Rover would take whatever steps were necessary to return the business to the 'high service levels that were previously enjoyed'.

MG Rover said it apologised to its dealers for the disruption that had been caused since March 5.

Andrew Cocksedge, group operations manager at West Midlands company All Electric Cars, said: 'It was inevitable there would be difficulties with the transfer of the parts operation from Unipart.

'When the distribution programme was piloted it was successful but it was not done in the UK and that is part of the problem.

'When it started in the UK the Cat Logistics system could not cope with the demand and it collapsed.'

Mr Cocksedge, who is also Midlands region member of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, said: 'The insurance companies - like dealers - are under pressure from their customers who want their cars back. The customer does not have a choice of repairer. The insurance company tells them where to take the car.'

When the agreement was signed Bill Springer, vicepresident of Caterpillar said: 'We can certainly contribute to the business with our own expertise.'

Cat Logistics did not reply to three requests from The Bir-mingham Post for comment about the situation. Norman Thompson, parts operations manager at MG Rover, said: 'I am too busy to talk about it.'

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Part Problems

Thanks for providing some info.

2 months I have been waiting for warranty parts for a ZT and MGF with no straight answers from the dealer or MG.

To be honest I find it a disgrace that MG or Dealers can not give a straight answer. If they provided proper information you would live with the problem until they sort it out. As for the apology to dealers from MG "What about the Customer". After such a good start and excellent build of cars I feel that MG will suffer long term sales. I am afraid the way I have been treated to date I will not be purchasing another MG in the short term. We currently run "or trying to run" a ZT, 3 75s and an MGF.

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