Britain’s last independant car maker, MG Rover, has confirmed it is making one last roll of the dice to try and save the company and over 6000 British jobs, by giving Shanghai Auto a 70 percent controlling share in return for a near one and a half billion euro investment in a joint venture to produce new models.
It hopes to get central Chinese government authority in January, and needs to restore its fortunes rapidly as since 2000 sales have crashed by over half, and the once powerful player now has only one percent of the European market. Once Rover was a world-beater, with sophisticated designs and technological innovations leading the world from the 1950’s to 1980’s, and the little MG sportcars were affordable delights for young thrillseekers. Alas, along with the rest of the British car industry both were dragged down by catastrophic management and labour relations in the 1970’s. If the company revives, it will be a supreme irony to be rescued by the Chinese, of all people.