He also spoke of the closer relationship between BMW and its brands - Rover, Land Rover, MG and Rolls-Royce - and the parent company's determined commitment to Rover success. Macdonald said: 'It is essential that we make sure people understand we are 100% committed to the fleet sector. It is important we get this across in the strongest way possible. We've not been good at it and we need to make amends.'
He said Rover was looking to produce a 'full range of fleet products, with a group structure that is well suited to building a solid platform for the future'. Macdonald insisted: 'It is my plan to get Rover back into the top five best-selling fleet manufacturers, and even the top three. When this will be achieved I cannot say, because it depends on when new product is introduced, but I'm determined it will happen.'
Rover fleet sales have dropped from 127,774 (15.01% market share) in 1994 to 80,857 (7.66%) in 1998. In the year to June Rover has sold 76,767 (6.44%). From 1994 to date Rover has slipped from third in the fleet best-sellers' list to seventh. Macdonald reiterated the point that such a decline in sales was down to the transition period which saw the run-out of the Rover 100, 600 and 800.
Executives are not publicly announcing new product details, but Fleet NewsNet has learned there will be an estate version of the 75, as well as dramatic facelifts to the 200 and 400 - to be known as the 25 and 45 - prior to their replacement in 2002. Rover is expected to go public on the facelifts in the autumn.