BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
I was chatting with my dad on the phone last night as I come from just outside Birmingham and he was saying that a friend had just lost his job at Midland Gears.

The hyperlink is at the bottom, the short story is Midland Gears is a BMW subsidiary and makes the gearboxes for the new Mini but also the Rover 25, 45, MG ZR and ZS. MGR wanted to extend the deal but BMW hiked the prices by 30% !!!! So MGR re-sourced its gearboxes from Getrag that supplies the 75 and ZT gearbox.

BMW's response was try to blame MGR and then close the factory, 300 jobs are to be lost.

It's hoped that MGR steps in and buys the gearbox plant. The workers are that miffed there are rumours of sabotage of Mini gearboxes. BMW are moving to Getrag for the Mini in 2004.

It might also explain something to do with the reason for production changes at Longbridge keeping the factory closed for five days.

Personally, where do BMW get off? This kind of behaviour is absolutely irreprehensible especially when the Mini has sold 150,000 since launch and that's not enough to keep 300 gearbox manufacturers employed?

I'll never own a BMW, the Rover fiasco was enough for me, I'm amazed that BMW can actually find the corners of the car to put the wheels on. I only hope any BMW driver reading this next time they get misty-eyed when Beckham scores a winning goal for England remembers who his money is really backing and the job losses that he's indirectly encouraging.

I'd also steer well clear of a BMW MINI for a while as well.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - CM
As a BMW driver I do find all these anti-BMW rants pointless.

When I buy a car I try and get one that is going to last more than 6 months before falling to pieces. If Rover made a RWD 6cyl diesel that was efficient, I would probably have considered buying one but as they don't, I can't.

As for patriotism and car buying, if you could let me know which UK car manufacturer makes a RWD 6cyl diesel that will last 10 years without falling apart I would be quiet interested. As I have to pay for my own vehicle I want something that will work.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Mark (RLBS)
"We have assured all workers at Midland Gears that we will offer them continuity of employment, probably at our engine plant in Hams Hall, Warwickshire.

"For those who don't want to take up that opportunity there will be redundancy packages."

How unreasonable. What do they think they are ? A company in business to make money ?

If I was them I'd pull out of everything else that has been threatened with sabotage as well.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - volvod5_dude
I think it's outrageous that some workers are threatening sabotage, I hope the culprits are caught and brought to book.

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
Sabotage should never be condoned but the talk of it alone is enough to cast doubts especially as BMW do no quality checks on many outsourced components.

If BMW wanted to make money, then rather than close a factory and all the costs of paying redundancy etc and paying a higher price for outsourced gearboxes why try to slap on a 30% increase?. You are right, companies are in the business of making money so MGR had no choice, it was happy enough with the arrangement to continue. The wholesale price of a gearbox is about £350 and BMW were asking £500. Are you seriously suggesting that's reasonable in the light of how BMW have handed all its dealings in the UK?

No, it knew that MGR wouldn't pay that and so it gave BMW the perfect excuse to close the plant.

As for the line about Hams Hall they won't get to keep their current terms and conditions. If it's anything like the transfer of engine production from Longbridge when Hams Hall opened the conditions were not as favourable. Many full-time jobs at Longbridge were transferred on to short-term contracts at Hams Hall.

This has backfired for BMW because MGR has taken the spare options on the same Getrag gearbox needed for the new MINI and so BMW cannot get the Getrag gearboxes it needs now until late 2004. So they have having to maintain supply from Midland Gears and have a serious cheesed off workforce there.

It's the same story over the BMW diesel engines supplied for the 75, MGR are now going to source those from VW in future after a similar hike in prices. The L-series diesel is a good engine but its getting long in the tooth and not suitable for the 75.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Tony N
I agree with 3500s, BMW seem to be particularly ruthless with their business dealings in the UK. We all understand the idea in business is to make money but they have seriously taken the mick. At least we can take comfort in the fact that they lost a huge amount of cash with the Rover sale, Rover have inherited some nifty suspension technology, and there's at last a decent Range Rover!
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - CM
I agree with 3500s, BMW seem to be particularly ruthless with
their business dealings in the UK. We all understand the idea
in business is to make money but they have seriously taken
the mick. At least we can take comfort in the fact
that they lost a huge amount of cash with the Rover
sale, Rover have inherited some nifty suspension technology, and there's at
last a decent Range Rover!

I am not sure that they did seriously take the mick. I think that they thought that they could make a serious go of Rover but under-estimated the depth of its problems. Once they realised that they were in too deep they started trying to offload it as soon as possible (whilst keeping the profitable parts of the company). After all you don't invest hundreds of millions in a company lightly.

It boils down to who BMW want to upset the least. Is it going to be the workers who have no financial stake in the company or the BMW shareholders?

On a different note, how do you think Rover would be fairing today if BMW had not come in? I cannot remember what the situation was like before hand?
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Tony N
BM were after one thing and one thing only - Land Rover. BAE - the then owners would no way split the company and it was a good way of off loading the poorly performing Rover. BMW had no interest in Rover but had to take the whole package underestimating the level of rot at Rover. Agreed the 75 perhaps may not have been as good without the BMW input but if you look at the real sellers the ZT and ZS, these have nothing to do with BMW and are a stroke of genius in terms of product rebranding. Hats off to the MG-R boys, they've really made a go of it!
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
Thanks Tony N,

My family have a lot of ties to the automotive industry and Rover and these stories come on a regular basis, this is one of the more clear cut ones. Speaking with a P5 owner (my dad's mechanic he's been with for 20 years) last summer he told me how BMW kept the rights to the ubiquitous old warhorse Rover V8. In a fit of what I can think of as simple spite. Why?

Rover were only too happy to give permission to use designs for limited owner's club runs. BMW won't so spares for this engine will eventually dry up especially pre-fuel-injected ones.

It's tantamount to a very childish attitude from a company that makes 'macho' cars and does very well out of the UK car buying public.

It's very sad really.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
Rover were doing well with Honda, they had adopted the Andon method of production and learnt modern manufacture techniques mainly Just In Time and flexible manufacture.

The Rover K-series engines were developed using Rover patented processes and subsequently licensed to Aston Martin and Jaguar.

The R8 project had yielded two cars permanately in the Top 10 best sellers in the UK. Rover really were enjoying a rennaissance, I've owned two Honda collabouration cars, both 600s and they've been great cars.

John Towers had very successfully with very limited resources taken the company to new heights.

Then BMW moved in.

Rover needed a new medium car as the 400 was based on a first generation Honda Civic and getting old. Ignoring the advice of the Rover board, many resigning or being sacked in the process,

BMW opted that Rover build an new large car rather than a mass market medium car. The Rover 600 was doing well and only two years into its run. However, BMW didn't like paying the higher royalties to Honda to use the Accord platform than the 1 Gen Civic platform. So in 1993 it started the R40 project, or Rover 75.

Also it wanted to consolidate the range whereas Rover were very adept at getting the most of a platform (flexible manufacture). BMW wanted a simpler range with less flexibility. As a result you had 25,45,75, MGF and that was it, no coupes, softop's as you would have got with the R8 project like the 200 Coupe or Tomcat, no outrageous performance like the 200 2L Turbo. It canned the Metro without a replacement for two years, 20,000 sales a year lost there. There was no serious MGF replacement as BMW didn't want a Z3 competitor.

They also changed the production process. Believe it or not, BMW manufacturing processes haven't changed in 20 years. The Honda method was thrown out (proven the world over as the best) and BMW replaced it with making the car and then finessing it at the end to iron out the bugs. That was the old BL way of working and it really unsettled a lot of workers who simply didn't like it. The Andon system means that any worker if they are not happy can stop the line to correct a quality problem. This was stopped, to use someone else's words 'We weren't to be trusted.'

The MINI design and implementation was a fiasco from day one and someone should really write a book about it. It was interfered with, poked, prodded, passed around like an unwanted baby and cost someone on the BMW board his job. It's no wonder it's not that reliable, it's what happens when you design a car by committee. The rumours go that John Cooper hated it so much it took a lot of persuasion to let him license his name on it. Cooper, Moulton (Alex) and some of the original Mini designers were on the Rover team and they came up with something Iggy would have been proud of. It was called the Spiritual. BMW sat on it and imposed it's design on Rover.

Also the BMW accounting methods they placed on Rover were not pleasant, all the investment rather than made by the parent company as liabilities on the whole group was placed as liabilities on the Rover balance sheet, hence the terrible profit figures, sales were actually rising during the BMW era despite some awful marketing decisions placing the 25 and 45 in the wrong market segments for example.

Then it upset all the suppliers by saying they wanted massive cost reductions and savings of £2bn. They were so aggrieved, many shortened their credit lines to 14 days rather than the usual 40. This gave Rover a serious cash flow headache causing more BMW money as operating capital to be pumped in.

Finally, project R30, a medium car replacement was started about in 96., a few pictures exist, would have been a nice car. It ended up in the BMW crusher. So much for giving the new MG Rover Group a helping hand. Fortunately many of the design team are working on the TCV, they look quite similar ;)

Not to mention the deliberate and public BMW anti-Rover sentiment. The R75 launch was deliberately upstaged by news that production at Longbridge might stop. 'Quality' issues were leaked to the press. Productivity figures for Longbridge were given to the press when BMW NEVER report their productivity figures. The collation of these figures were conducted in secret, because during the use of the Andon system, productivity was a respectable output.

They wanted Longbridge long gone before they finally came clean.

Like I say, BMW do what they do best, make luxury cars. They haven't a clue when it comes to mass manufacture. Rover are well shot of them and John Towers et al have largely reversed the damage caused, reintroduced the Andon system, sorted out its supply lines and got its suppliers on side. The new designs and cars are looking fantastic and if they can hang on in the medium term I think they survive.

BMW did not run Rover well, destroyed its market with some really stupid moves and really didn't develop the potential of the company. They made some fundamentally bad decisions and you can't help thinking that no car firm is that stupid.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Tony N
Yeah I totally agree with the Honda link, I never understood why that ended as Rover started to produce some really good cars at that point as well as developing one of the best 4-cylinder engines around. I stand by the LR argument though, I really think that they were after a quick way into the lucrative 4x4 market as during that period they didn't have they're own vehicle. Also, I don't thing BMW are in as good shape as they would have you beleive, Mercedes is by far the prefered brand in Germany and relying on one model (318i) for your bread and butter is not good business...

Its good to here such dedication to Rover, I too am a Rover fanatic and my '82 SD1 3500SE is currently residing on my drive awaiting some serious tweaking in the horse power department! Watch out M3s...!
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
At a auto show in the summer, I took my P6, didn't win anything though :( I must get the rear bumper re-chromed.

There was an '84 SD1 Vitesse the one with the twin plenum. Wow ! Anything made '82 and post are good cars. There were a few old bill there enjoying their day off, after pouring over the Special Protection Squad P6 they got all misty eyed over the seriously quick SD1 Vitesse.

I'm not usually a great fan of traffic Police but the stories they were telling were quality stuff including a chase between three SD1's and a Lancia Integrale on the M3.

I'm happy to see MGR have got their mitts on another V8 with the pedigree of the Mustang, I guess we may see them on Police livery once more.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Morris Ox
A few home truths, please.

While I have every respect for Rover's ability to make the most of limited resources, some of the claims you make about it do it no favours and betray an unfortunate prejudice.

If you want to understand why the Honda link ended, ask BAE, whose decision to make a mint out of BMW went down like a lead balloon with the Japanese.

The K series was certainly an improvement on some of the old lumps knocking around in the Rover range, but it too has its design weaknesses (as HJ will testify).

You're spot on about Land Rover; Wolfgang Reitzle told BMW's management board after his first visit that the rest of the business should be shut or sold. He was right.

Right, too, about BMW's early mismanagement of Rover, but wrong to suggest they fiddled too much - they didn't fiddle enough, specifically failing to sort out some of the notorious internal rivalries or knock heads together at Land Rover to solve design problems get the dreadful build quality sorted.

The facts don't support your assertions about BMW. If you look at the figures you'll see that BMW is in excellent financial shape and has posted above average growth for a lengthy period. Mercedes has been doing well, too, but its parent DaimlerChrysler is still struggling with problems at Chrysler and at Mitsubishi.

Andy why would BMW carry out detailed quality checks on components arriving for final assembly from suppliers when the suppliers are meant to manufacture to certain quality standards anyway? (though oddly enough I can remember Honda doing just that at Swindon when Rover built the Legend for it!)

I've got no desire to dish Rover or Birmingham, but all the major players are large global enterprises and MGR is comparatively small. It will always be at the mercy of the big fish, both in terms of the deals it an strike and its position in the pecking order.

Plenty of people in the BR have respect for the 75 as a fine and hugely underrated car (though to suggest BM's diesel is somehow not up to scratch is ludicrous), but the 25 and 45 are both past their sell-by date.

Best of British to MGR and I look forward to the X-Power models. But let's look forward realistically rather than back spitefully.

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Dave_TD
The workers are that miffed there are rumours of sabotage of Mini gearboxes.

That's all 3500S said. Which I understand to mean, the rumours have started somewhere other than amongst the workers. These guys want to fight to keep their jobs safe, not completely b***** any chance they may have had. No-one's threatening to sabotage anything, it's just misinformation to back up BMW's case.
I think it's outrageous that some workers are threatening sabotage

If I was them I'd pull out of everything else that has been threatened with sabotage as well

Sabotage should never be condoned but the talk of it alone is enough to cast doubts

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Mark (RLBS)
Um, Dave, did you follow the link at the bottom of the original note ?
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - CM

You seem to have your finger on the pulse (ie know what feelings are like at Rover). What is the reaction to Rover's planned £225m investment in FSO's Polish plant to build the R45 replacement. (I will admit that this was being talked about in December but don't know if it has fallen through). Also aren't they pushing out the R25 replacement to India (China?) or is this something else?
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
I think but I'm not certain but the replacement 45, the TCV project is to be made at Longbridge. This is a shortened wheelbase 75 chassis and floorpan, a bit like what Alfa did with the 146? The leadtime for this car is fairly short and expected to enter production mid-2004.

Also, the beauty of the 75 chassis and floorpan is that it was designed to accept a rear wheel driveshaft and diff apparently for the 75 Coupe using the Riley name but this never came to fruition. This is the reason why the MG V8s have had such a short development lifecycle.

As for the GM-FSO plant, they are negotiating a license with GM to manufacture a range of Daewoo cars and also the existing 45 for sale in the Eastern European market. The GM/FSO plant would be a major coup for the company, it's seen some substantial investment and as a highly skilled workforce which MGR are looking to retain. The Polish Government it is understood is going to write off the debts it is owed, the deal is expected to cost much less than £225m, more like £80m.

As for the Indica or Rover 15, this is to be built in Pune, India by TATA for MG Rover but with a Rover interior, suspension changes and some external changes. TATA factory in Pune is one of the best in Asia, a major investment for TATA. Longer term should the project be successful TATA are interested in the acquiring the smaller K-series engines, MGR are interested in getting economies of scale on things like switchgear. One of MGR's main problems is that it cannot negotiate such favourable deals on volumes with component suppliers, this might be the solution. A Rover 15 is expected to retail for sub £6,000 based on a 1.4L 75bhp engine.

TATA also have an excellent design centre and a number of interesting prototypes that they may want MGR's input into and ultimately may license to them. One is for a small K-car soft top, this was rumoured in Autocar as a sub £10,000 MG Midget. MGR were quick to deny any rumours but they have done this before with the X70/71 project (a mid-range TT-sized sports car). However, TWR had extensive input into this and their difficulties are known to have delayed this and the TCV project.

Then there is the China Brilliance deal, there has been problems with corruption and fraud from one of the company's top men and as such the Chinese Government has taken control. CB have made a number of noises that it doesn't consider the MGR deal as important and it has gone very quiet, I don't know anymore than that.

Finally, Rover has had a kind of cinderella relationship with Proton, owners of Lotus. John Towers before he left Rover was in talks with Proton for a technology transfer, engines for components deals. This is continually denied by MGR but don't be surprised if this pops up again.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - madf
Hmm.. BMW are a success.

Rover have been a dog for the last 40 years and have consistently (until very recently) produced either badly designed or badly made cars or both.

And their pricing was until fairly recently about 20% too high .. tacitly supported by various UK Governments..

As for the current Rover management and models, I have had no experience of them.. road tests appear good but I understand spare suppliy is patchy.

Having worked for them once and having had a series of badly built and unreliable cars from them, I am very sceptical.

The whole story is a sad saga.

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Mark (RLBS)
True. I have noticed over the years the comments about how Rover (or Leyland or whatever else they are called in a particular week) have been successively mistreated by BMW, the Government and various other bodies, and how they are a wonderful company and the victims of others\' actions.

But the reality is that they\'ve been producing lousy cars of lousy quality for years and years. It can\'t all be BMW\'s fault, some of it must be [hushed voice] their own fault.

They even got the costing wrong on the original mini. And do we remember such delights as the Allegro and *so* *many* more?

I don\'t think they ever have got it right, have they ?
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - CM
What was wrong with the Allegro? :-)

My gran had one and I seem to remember that the back seat wasvery springy, leatherish (?) and comfy. Too young to remember much else about it apart from it came in a NICE brown colour.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Big John

I am afraid I liked my Allegro!, it was a 1750 supersport with very comfy seats and a 5 speed box. It felt very quick due to the large and tourquey engine (same as in Maxi), you could go up very steep hills in 5th. Rust caused its demise.

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Baskerville
Rover has survived because of government subsidy and a bizarre, British kind of loyalty based on the sentimental notion of "buy British just because." It's a hangover from the 1950s, but unfortunately those days are over. BMW is a multinational company with an international outlook. It will source parts from wherever it can get the best deal in terms of cost and quality. If British workers can't compete then the solution is in their own hands; they've been less productive in manufacturing than the Germans, French, Japanese, and Americans for decades.

My guess is that BMW deliberately overpriced its gearboxes because it wanted out for some reason (high pound pummelling profit margins?) and thought it would be bad PR just to pull the plug. That's backfired a bit, but it won't bother BMW too much; the company certainly doesn't owe Birmingham anything.

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - David Lacey
>But the reality is that they've been producing lousy cars of lousy quality for years and years<

Mark - you are mistaken here m8.....maybe years ago, yes, but recent product is top notch.

Driven a 75?
MG-Rover Problems?
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Mark (RLBS)
Ok, I can accept that, although I think that "years ago" is stretching it a bit.

But the point is that their incessant issues are much more to do with themselves than with BMW or anyone else.

And yes, I have driven a 75. A lot of them. My Mother wants one and I'm trying to find one I like - they're pretty enough but do seem to have a lot of niggly problems.

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - DavidHM
Mark - have you seen the deal Reg Vardy is doing?

Brand new, 'Executive' spec, whatever that might mean, for £12995. But it gets better - there's 5 years' interest free finance on it with a 50% deposit, so if she's got the cash, that's equivalent to roughly another 7.5% off in bank interest, which would be about £12k.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - eMBe {P}
3500s : your rant smacks of "red-robbo" and socialist-worker politics.

Consider this view from the other side: My friend owns an engineering business. He is faced with employers liability and public liability insurance (compulsory - required by law)premium hikes from current £10,000 to £70,000. (last year it was £5,000, the year before that £1500). His company has had no claims in 25 years of business. he is also facing massive increases in wage & pension costs, and rent and rates. Now to survive, he has to put up his product prices by 30%. His customers have said they will not renew orders at that level. So in 3 months time, he is shutting the business down - no one wants to buy it. His employees will get the statutory redundancy payments but if he is declared bankrupt before then, they will lose that as well as their pension pot.

Employees USUALLY never think of the problems the owners face. They think all businesses make loads of money and owe them a living just for turning up at work.

PS - I drive a BMW, and don't watch football or follow their overpaid overatted "stars". I will always buy the best car I can afford. In a free global marketplace, only the fittest competitors will survive.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - David Lacey
Mark - Niggly problems?? Can't say we've seen an excessive amount of faults as you say. Yes we get bits of trim here and there but nothing out of the ordinary.

75 Diesel [Auto] followed by the 2.5 V6 is the one to have IMO

I'm currently running an MG ZT-T190+ and very pleased with it I am too :-)

MG-Rover Problems?
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Mark (RLBS)
Agree on the Diesel auto.

Now, if I can find the right colour, right price and right car, then I'm gonna be No. 1 son again.

Its proving a little more difficult than that.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - eMBe {P}
And oh yes, I did own a Triumph and a Rover once. Both were the worst in reliabilty I had ever come across. A rebadged Rover-Honda 213 was one of the best in terms of reliabilty (but tinny and terrible for rust). A Nissan never gave me any trouble, and my current BMW E39 5 series has done a faultless 100,000 miles in just over 3 years.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - David Lacey
Hey......a bit of a contradiction there??

But I agree - the "RoHonda" 213 was a good car but the old tin-worm did it's best to kill it.

The next incarnation (1989-on) 200/400 series was much better both rust-wise and engine-wise.

MG-Rover Problems?
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
My rants isn't Red Robbo neither Socialist, I remember the damage they caused and a huge amount of blame lies with them alone for the death of the British car industry. The products weren't badly designed, many were highly innovative. Whether it was the P6, of which I own one through to the Maxi, Dolomite, SD1 all of which were well designed cars but badly manufactured by a largely truculent militant workforce. The management certainly played its part, BL was just too large with too many warring manufacturers. Jaguar, for example, didn't like Rover this is the reason why P8, P9 and the Zagato were never made. My P6 is thirty-one years old still on its original gearbox, clutch and engine. Sure rust is a problem but how many cars from the 1972 do you see on the roads of any make?

I can't see the analogy either with Rover cars being anymore unreliable than an Audi, Ford, VW and Alfa. If you were to check the warranty claims made by manufacturer, maybe a better indication of long term reliability, currently Rover cars have less claims made against them than Audi's and they are in the same league as Ford, VW and much, much better than Alfa. As for Land Rover they bring up the rear after years of BMW ownership and now Ford ownership. The Rover cars included are cars like the older 800s and Metro's. What is the perpetuated myth that Rover cars are still stuck with their 70s image? Most cars in the 70s and 80s rusted, some more than others, Rovers were just as prone to it. The differences came with zinc galvanisation and improved design.

If you want a current debate about reliability, how about the coil pack debacle with most of the VW range? Imagine if that was Rover and not VW, it would the lead article on most news programmes.

Rover have been trading with Honda for years for spare parts for it colabouration cars, both companies are in it for money but why the lack of stories like this one regarding BMW? Most of my Rover 600 is Honda sourced but I have no trouble getting spares not that I've needed many. In six years of 600 ownership, I've had to order one electric window mechanism from a Rover parts dept which they had in stock. So much for unreliable.

Finally, if British workers are less productive, why the inward investment by firms like Honda and Nissan? Honda has just made it's 1,000,000th car in the UK and it's for export. Nissan Sunderland is one of the most productive plants outside Japan. BMW got it wrong, you'll never see any productivity figures for BMW factories, why?

I'm not exactly the first to jump up and scream 'unfair', car businesses work to cut-throat margins but the action of BMW in the UK ever since they bought ARG has been one cock-up after another. BMW's are good cars I'm not disputing that but are they really worth the price premium or are you paying more than just for the engineering?

Finally, someone mentioned the Euro. The Euro is currently at an all-time high against the pound making our exports much cheaper to Europe. Closing a plant in Birmingham on a Euro argument wouldn't hold water.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - CM
If you want a current debate about reliability, how about the
coil pack debacle with most of the VW range? Imagine
if that was Rover and not VW, it would the lead
article on most news programmes.

Totally agree on this point.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - pd
Regarding the Honda link, it?s worth remembering that the two big sales disasters for Rover in the 1990?s were the 1995 400 and the 600. Neither of these cars got close to their sales targets and both were product developments under the BAe management rather than BMW.

The 400 was dated when launched and apart from it?s first year the 600 never sold at all well. The 600 was also hampered by restrictions under the licence as to what Rover could do to it ? hence no Estate etc. Some of this was due to pricing but most of it was due to them being very average products.

I wish MGR well and hope they succeed but can?t help but think they?re still in the same viscous circle of average car leading to average sales leading to not enough profit to afford to develop good replacement leading to even lower sales etc. etc.

I think I?m correct that the only new Rover car to sell in greater numbers than the car it replaced was the 1989 Rover 200 as (a) it was a competitive product and (b) only had to do better than the Maestro.

The TATA link sounds promising and the TCV looks good (though they need to survive long enough to get it into production ? 25 & 45 sales are haemorrhaging) but what about the 75? It?s due for replacement by 2006 at the latest so in the normal scheme of things work on its replacement should have started by now.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Tony N
BMW aren't without their quality problems either, I know of more than one 6-cylinder E36 that had a new short-engine at 30k due to cylinder bore coating issues (same as on early Jag V8s). Again if this happened at MG-R there'd be national outcry! Give me an A4 1.8T Q over a 3-series anyday (sorry 3500s I a bit of an Audi man these days!).
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
Some of my reliability information was a bit out. This is the reliability index from

100 being average reliability.

MAZDA 48.64
FORD 65.44
FIAT 66.71
HONDA 68.67
TOYOTA 73.62
BMW 78.11
DAEWOO 82.08
VOLVO 83.81
SUBARU 83.94
ROVER 91.44
MG 92.88
NISSAN 98.49
AUDI 98.98
RENAULT 115.36
SAAB 121.38

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Tony N
Cripes! Ford second and Fiat third! Judging by experiance, and everyone I know's opinion of Ford reliabilty that seems strange. Would have thought Toyota would be further up too. LR at the bottom, they're great aren't they? I think that'll change big time with the new models though...
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - DavidHM
Maybe it depends on how you define reliability. Fords usually get you home, they just might have annoying minor problems all the way.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Baskerville
I agree with you that in design terms the Rover companies have been innovative, but it's simply a fact that British workers are now and have historically been less productive than others. The govts own pre-budget report last year claimed a productivity gap (output per worker) of 40% compared with the Americans and 20% compared with Europe. The fact that British workers can be productive for companies like Nissan and Toyota suggests it's a management problem for individual companies and a general problem with our work culture. Some of the problem in terms of profit margin is down to the strength of the pound in recent years--only in the last few months has this eased, too late for many companies. But who wants unnecessary exchange rate risk anyway? Not BMW it seems.

And now back to work, or my own productivity gap will be huge.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - eMBe {P}
>>> Most cars in the 70s and 80s rusted, some more than others, Rovers were just as prone to it. The differences came with zinc galvanisation and improved design <<<

The 2some more than others" applied specially to Lancia and Fiat, and they learnt a costly lesson.

Can you tell us which Rovers are galvanised, and since when? The last time I checked (in 1999) Rovers apparently/allegedly were still not galvanised!!

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Toad, of_Toad_Hall.
Since this has become a debate about Rovers: You never see rusty rovers these days. (Or rusty cars of any hue)
As for the achievments of Rover lets not forget the K-Series engine. Anyone who's seen a tomcat on the track will have no doubt how quick the coupe is.
I worship the ground that the Moderators walk on.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - eMBe {P}
3500S: I am keenly awaiting your answer to:

Can you tell us which Rovers are galvanised, and since when?
The last time I checked (in 1999) Rovers apparently/allegedly were still not galvanised!!

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Morris Ox
Your rant may not be Red Robbo, 3500S, but the fundamental ignorance of the way global business works, a feeling of powerlessness, and a basic belief that it must always be somebody else's fault - spiced up by some jingoistic anti-German prejudice - have peppered this debate from start to finish.

Land Rover 'bring up the rear after years of BMW then Ford ownership'. Well, it's obviously, their fault then isn't it? Nothing to do with the Prima Donnas at LR who believed that they made the best 4x4 in the world and, therefore, didn't need to listen to some upstarts from Munich or Dearborn. Keep on churning out old, difficult to manufacture designs, keep the faith with suppliers who live in the past and you're bound to succeed. Certainly topped the warranty claims chart, that's for sure.

And why is Honda some kind of golden era? Just because it doesn't have a B, M, or W in it? In the same vein, you seem to think that the basic reason Nissan, Honda and Toyota built factories in the UK is because of their faith in the British worker. Let's add a rider to that: they had a particular faith in workers who hadn't seen the inside of car factories in the West Midlands. And they got some nice subsidies, too.

There are those in the automotive industry who used to think that when you put the car industry together with the West Midlands all you got was trouble. Initiatives like Accelerate will tell you that's all in the past.

Then you read reports about sabotage and see debates like this...and wonder whether the penny's dropped yet.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - 3500S
I totally understand how global business works, why else would companies like VW, GM, BMW and MGR be looking at the East for lower unit costs. I'm actually in favour of globalisation, in my own industry knowledge workers come from all over the world, India, Russia and Africa. Being highly skilled and highly motivated knows no national boundaries.

As for an anti-German prejudice, I'm sorry I don't see it. I certainly don't like the way BMW have behaved in the UK so that makes me anti-German? Grow up. As for being proud of British car firm, the last one, making a damn good go of it then line me up against a wall and shoot me.

The skills available in the West Midlands and the Midlands as a whole are world-renowned. Whether it's making family cars to making Formula 1 cars it would seem many engineeering firms the world over have a presence there. Why would BMW just not get it and fail to succeed there? Blaming the workforce is not an excuse these days that's well and truly are over.

So if you think that West Midlands workers aren't up to much, what about the Peugeot plant at Ryton? They make the 206 there 24 hours a day.

If I hear of something I don't like then I'll say something about it, if it makes people feel uncomfortable then hard luck.

Business is tough and car industry has it tougher than most at the moment, my firm has lost 50% of its workforce in the last 18 months so don't tell me I don't understand how global business works, I have first-hand experience.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Mark (RLBS)
>>Blaming the workforce is not an excuse these days

Seems to make about as much sense to me as blindly blaming the "evil corporation".
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - pd
Regarding the Poland plan - does anyone think making the defunct 45 will work there?

"Eastern European" markets are just as interested in brand, image and quality of a car than anywhere else and my gut feeling is that most buyers, if they can't afford a new Golf, will prefer a used Golf rather than a new aged design 45.

BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Baskerville
Whereas the Golf is so evidently an up to the minute design, created for the twenty-first century. It looks nothing like the Golf of 1974, does it? Taking VW's lead maybe Rover should try selling a revamped Maxi to the Poles.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Tony N
Whereas the Golf is so evidently an up to the minute
design, created for the twenty-first century. It looks nothing like the
Golf of 1974, does it?

Bang-on! Theres nothing like flogging a dead horse!!!
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - Toad, of_Toad_Hall.
"Eastern European" markets are just as interested in brand, image and
quality of a car than anywhere else and my gut feeling
is that most buyers, if they can't afford a new Golf,
will prefer a used Golf rather than a new aged design

Company car drivers won't have the choice. The Rover drives far better than the VW every time.

You're a shower! You're an absolute shower!
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - pd
The Rover might drive better, but it's not the point. The Golf sells, what, about a million a year plus probably another 500,000 based on the same platform. The 45 sells 50,000 or so. The Golf has market appeal, the 45 does not. Rover, as a name, is virtually unknown in Eastern Europe and anything which is known about it is negative.

The idea that "Eastern European" or ex-Soviet bloc car buyers will put up with second rate is completely wrong. They are more aware of perceived value than any western European buyer.

If MGR take on the Polish factory they should build the TCV, 25 successor and 75 replacement there for these markets, not a 1990's Honda cast off however technically capable it might be.

A Polish made 45 will not sell, in Poland, or anywhere else, at a profit.
BMW shaft Birmingham AGAIN! - pd
Actually, come to think of it, what might work is a Polish built Indicar. A modern design, cheap to build, "Europeanised" by Rover might well work for those markets if its cheap enough.


Value my car