No doubt like many others, I was surprised when BMW offloaded its Rover millstone but opted to retain the Cowley plant for the re-birth of the Mini, writes Bert Wyatt. Outwitted by VW in the Rolls/Bentley tussle and humiliated by the Rover debacle (in which Cowley, of course, played a central role), one might have expected the men from Munich to forget England as a production base rather than hang on for the sake of a few thousand cars a year.