APRIL 15, 2005
Wanna buy a secondhand car company?
The Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation says that it no longer has an interest in buying the beleaguered MG Rover car company in Britain. The news means that unless a white knight appears very quickly around 6,000 jobs are going to go at the company's factory at Longbridge, near Oxford. MG Rover went into administration last week and administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers is now looking for a solution to save the company. The British government has provided a loan of $12m but that will not last long and it is unlikely that the government can come up with more. There are additional problems as around 400 suppliers to the company are owed as much as $375m and many of them are faced with bankruptcy if MG Rover goes to the wall.
The company is all that is left of British Leyland, a group that resulted from the consolidation of much of the British motor industry in the 1960s. Its brands included Jaguar, Rover, Triumph. Daimler, Vanden Plas, Austin, Healey, Riley, Wolseley, Morris and MG. These were reduced in the 1970s and 1980s and Jaguar was sold to Ford in 1989. The rump of the company became known as The Rover Group and was bought by BMW in 1994 but by 2000 BMW had decided that it could no longer afford to make losses and sold the business to a group of private investors.
The company has a long and illustrious history in motor racing but it seems that unless a new buyer emerges this
could be the bitter end of the mainstream British car industry.
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