Fleet News

BMW boss's threat to future of Longbridge

THE future of Rover's Longbridge plant has once more been thrown into doubt by BMW chairman Professor Joachim Milberg. He has warned that the longer negotiations take with the Government about the level of subsidies available to help modernise the plant, the more likely BMW is to shift production of new Rover cars overseas.

Milberg issued the threat at a press conference at the manufacturer's Munich headquarters on Tuesday. BMW has made it clear if Longbridge is to be chosen the Government must provide adequate funding. If funding is not forthcoming BMW will shift production to Hungary. However, Rover's new chief executive officer Professor Walter Samann revealed that negotiations with the Hungarian authorities had been suspended until an agreement with the UK Government is reached.

Milberg said: 'The longer the negotiations drag on the greater will become the likelihood of a production site outside of Great Britain. We are a global player.' But he was optimistic a decision would be made in four weeks. Hanging in the balance is the future of 14,000 jobs at Longbridge and 50,000 at Rover's suppliers.

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