Blog: Dave LeggettMG Rover's 'urban tough' Streetwise

Dave Leggett | 9 July 2003

I'm really not sure about this one, but you have to admire the MGR people's resilience. Things haven't been going all that well lately, but Longbridge continues to show some spirit. That Polish FSO deal seems to have proved elusive and the much trumpeted China Brilliance alliance has gone pear-shaped because - from what I hear - the Rover people were talking to a Mr Big Shot on the Brilliance board who turned out to be a little less than solid; the politics is now a complete mess. And the much-needed replacement for the 25 and 45 ranges is still some way off (not helped by TWR's collapse). The MG Rover 25 and 45 ranges are having to soldier on well beyond their sell-by date and sales are inevitably dropping off. But the ZR and ZS sports variants are having some success, at least in Britain.

And what about the new 'urban tough attitude' 25-based 'Streetwise'? Bigger wheels, raised suspension and more prominent moulded bumpers and off you go. I can't wait to see it in the flesh. It will either look strangely cool or totally naff, but you have to hand it to Rover for trying. And that Tata deal CityRover could yet be the company's saviour. It is a clever move for a company in Rover's position. If Professor Garel Rhys from Cardiff is right (and he's a guy who I have immense respect for, although I sense, like many in Britain, he has a soft spot for Rover that may cloud objectivity at times) the financial position of the company is not quite as bad as widely rumoured in the industry. Breakeven a couple of years away? It would be nice to think so.


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