Fleet News

BMW engineers sent to speed Rover 75 launch

BMW has sent engineering specialists from Germany to help Rover speed up the launch of its crucial new 75 executive model. A team of 70 experts is working to improve quality on the Cowley-built model, now in its critical pre-production stage.

The move follows Rover denials late last year that the launch of the 'company saving' executive 75 would not be delayed by two months because of difficulties meeting BMW quality standards. At the time the company said that while customers should be able to order the 75 from March, a spokesman declined to say when the vehicles would be delivered. It had originally been expected that the 75 would be launched in March.

In a response to those reports a Rover spokesman at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit said: 'We'll have cars in the showrooms for customers to try in May and deliveries will be starting in June.' Industry analysts say that although delays over quality issues are not unusual, any hold-up at Rover could cause further financial difficulties for the company.

The spokesman added: 'We are having some problems meeting quality levels which are far higher than for any previous Rover model and it is proving difficult for us to achieve the targets we've been set by the parent company with the resources at our disposal. 'The specialists are advising us. They're helping in a consultative capacity and giving us the benefit of their experience.'

And he revealed that another group of engineers was being sent to Cowley to help man other specialist jobs which the company has been unable to fill after advertising across the Midlands. Speaking at the show as the Land Rover Discovery was making its debut in the North American market, he said the teams were normally based at Dingolfing, the 3-series factory regarded by BMW as sister plant to Rover Oxford, which has just been substantially upgraded at a cost of £300 million for the introduction of the 75.

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