Revival of a legend
A British consultancy and 150 former MG Rover engineers are aiming to start up production of Rover cars in China. Ricardo, the engineering group, is working on turning the intellectual rights into production and on creating a range of cars including a stretched version of the 75.
Ricardo originally advised SAIC that buying the whole of MG Rover when it was a going concern would be inadvisable because of the car-maker's pension liabilities, among other issues. SAIC had been in joint venture talks with MG Rover for several months before it grew increasingly concerned about the financial strength of the organisation.
SAIC intends to build Rover-based cars in China by the end of this year or the start of 2007 using new equipment. Nanjing has also said that it will soon begin manufacturing cars from the 75 and 25 production lines, which it has shipped to China.
When both companies' cars are produced, there could be a fight over copyright if they look too similar. Both companies are also in talks with BMW, the owner of the Rover brand, about buying the name. Rover is thought to retain some value as a prestige brand name in China.