OCTOBER 3, 2000
Mahathir drops in
The MG Rover group is now being run by a group of former car industry executives who bought the firm from BMW last summer for a nominal $16. BMW wanted to dump Rover because it was making huge losses and dragging the whole group down. The management said that they would cut costs and rebuild the firm before selling it on to another car manufacturer. None of the major car companies has shown any interest but there are hopes that Proton might take the gamble as a way of improving Proton's cheap and cheerful image. The MG Rover management says that it has the capability of producing BMW standard machinery in large numbers. The deal will also save the jobs of the 7,000 workers at the Longbridge factory.
What is interesting for Formula 1 is that Proton could decide to use the Lotus name, which it owns, and there may be a long-term plan to use Formula 1 to promote the cars being built in Europe.
Dr. Mahathir will be back in Kuala Lumpur in time for the Malaysian Grand Prix, an event to which he is closely linked as part of his plan to give Malaysia an international image of being a high-technology trendsetting nation.