The damning report added that Rover needed a 'radical transfusion' from parent company BMW if it was to emerge as a 'premium car maker' and: 'In our view Rover is both a short and medium-term burden on BMW'. Salomon Brothers' motor industry analyst John Lawson said in the report that as a result of Rover 'lagging the field' parent company BMW's financial performance would be hit.
Applauding BMW's decision to install its 'own men' at the top of Rover the report said: 'The analysis of Rover's product programme illustrates just how much BMW has to do, and to what extent Rover's passenger car business has to be completely rebuilt. Rover cannot become the premium producer in its segment just by assertion. The product has to justify this and clearly that requires a new generation of cars across the board before this can be fully achieved.'
Rover said that it did not argue with the financial analysis but took exception to the analysis of its productivity, sales performance and model line-up. But the Salomon Brothers report attacks Rover's product ranges, saying the new 200 and 400 series will 'carry the bulk of Rover's production volume through most of the balance of the decade'. It says the company 'has some of the worst production economics in the industry and some of the lowest volume-selling models in its chosen class - a poor basis for model replacement'. And it warns future success for manufacturers lies not with large cars, the traditional domain of BMW, but with 'lifestyle vehicles' and smaller vehicles.