Fleet News

Forced-out Rover chief slams fleet discounting

FLEET discounts from some manufacturers of 40-50% were unmatchable by crisis-torn Rover according to soon-to-quit chairman Walter Hasselkus in a parting shot at the ultra-competitiveness of the UK new car market. Hasselkus has taken the blame for Rover's poor performance following its acquisition by BMW almost five years ago.

As the package to save the manufacturer's troubled Longbridge factory was confirmed by the German company's board it was announced that he would quit at the end of the year. At a London press conference Hasselkus admitted that he 'got it wrong' and under-estimated the crisis at Rover which, he said, had initially centred on the ultra-competitiveness of the UK car market.

That had resulted in a lack of profitability within Rover Group, although subsequently both a lack of productivity and the strength of Sterling had also played a part. But, he said: 'It is very difficult to be competitive and profitable when discounts of 40%-50% are available. We could not match those levels.'

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