But within minutes of his declaration that the launch signalled the 'rebirth of the Rover brand' and claiming the launch of the 75 represented 'a real milestone in the development of Rover Group and BMW', the gloss of the launch was removed by the threatened closure of Rover's Longbridge plant. Despite the significant black cloud hanging over Rover with Pischetsrieder's pronouncements on an unproductive Longbridge plant he pledged that Rover Group had the potential to build definitive and distinctive British brands.
Following the launch of the Land Rover Freelander and Land Rover Discovery, the new Rover 75 is the first all-new Rover car for more than 22 years and Pischetsrieder said: 'This magnificent car is a milestone for the BMW Group. The Rover 75 represents the rebirth, the way forward for the Rover brand. And more is yet to come.' The 'Britishness' of Rover is being emphasised with the launch of the 75 and Pischetsrieder said: 'The Rover 75 embodies the direction in which the Rover brand is heading: to recapture the heritage in a contemporary and attractive way.
While Rover chiefs say the new car is the first of a new generation of new Rover cars they refuse to discuss other future models. And, with major question marks hanging over future model plans in the lower and upper medium sectors with the future of Longbridge being debated it remains to be seen how influential the design of the 75 will be on future Rover products.