With Nanjing now the proud owner of the MG brand and Shanghai Automotive producing the old 75 as the Roewe 750, another Chinese car maker is turning to the defunct British MG Rover’s former dealer network in Europe.
Landwind, which is launching a 4×4 sport utility model plus an MPV across Europe towards the end of the year, will be using former Rover dealers in France and Spain.
The models will not come to the UK until spring next year and a dealer network has not yet been established – and they will not necessarily be former Rover outlets.
Paul Williams, the managing director of LWMC, the European distributor for Landwind vehicles, said: “The important thing is that we work with people who have the right attitude. In the UK we are already talking to people interested in taking on the franchise and we will make announcements about dealers when we are ready.
“In France and Spain, independent distributors have been set up which will utilise former Rover dealerships. This is purely co-incidental. The people involved in both distributors had a history with the Rover business in those countries.”
The two vehicles will be launched initially with petrol engines only, although LPG and bioethanol will be available from launch. Diesel will follow, but Williams was not saying when.
He believes that Landwind will be able to establish its vehicles as value brands. “There are opportunities for no nonsense, value for money vehicles with a simplicity of offer and choice.
“We will have a pan-European pricing and margin policy – although there will be regional variations on the VAT rate, there will be limited specification options and just three colour choices.”
Landwind was the first Chinese manufacturer into Europe two years ago but got its fingers burnt, spectacularly failing a crash test conducted in Germany.
Williams, who used to head up Kia Motors in the UK, said: “We have learned from that and investments have been made to ensure the vehicles meet Euro 4 emissions and crash test requirements.”