'While we must focus on what other manufacturers are offering in the market place, we will continue with our present policy. We will not be radically slashing our prices,' he declared. Hasselkus drew immediate support from BMW president and chief executive officer Bernd Pischetsrieder when he followed up his statement with the assertion that Rover products 'will have so much to offer in future that the brand will stand out from more mass-produced cars'.
Said Pischetsrieder: 'We believe that a product which is special and outstanding will always command a more expensive price than the average car. Every BMW has its own identity and is much different from any other brand.'
The surprise policy statement was delivered after bullish Rover had used a special pre-show BMW press event to unveil its dramatic all-new Mini for the year 2000. In a dimly-lit studio several miles away from the Frankfurt show arena, the car won applause from 700 international journalists when it was driven through a screen and across the stage.