Fleet News

BMW board 'close to Longbridge decision'

BMW will decide within the next few weeks where it will build its replacements for the Rover 200 and 400. BMW's main board has accepted 'in principle' the UK Government's offer of aid for Rover's troubled plant at Longbridge, believed to be in the region of £180 million, but other hurdles remain.

A spokesman for BMW said the manufacturer's final decision would depend on both European Union approval for the state aid for Longbridge, and on further negotiations with British trades unions. He confirmed, however, that BMW was not currently assessing other sites for the manufacture of the Rover 200 and 400 replacements, considered crucial for Rover's future success in the fleet sector and for the company in general as a car maker.

The good news coincided with the resignation of two more directors from Rover Group's main board. Manufacturing director Paul Kirk, and Nick Stephenson, design and engineering director, have left the company after a combined total of 46 years with the manufacturer. Stephenson joined Rover in 1978 and its main board in 1996. He directed the introduction of the MGF, Land Rover Freelander and Rover 75.

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