Fleet News

Rover and BMW bosses admit: 'We got fleet strategy wrong'

BOSSES at Rover and parent company BMW have admitted for the first time that the two manufacturers' fleet strategy was 'uncoordinated and overlapped'. As Rover begins to turn around almost a year of gloom with the recent launch of the all-new 75 and the imminent arrival of facelifted versions of the 200 and 400, Henrich Heitmann, BMW board member responsible for sales and marketing, admitted 'we got it wrong'.

He said: 'Our initial plan was for BMW to run BMW and for Rover to run Rover - with each operating as independent companies, both being seen as competitors in the market. But this approach meant that Rover was never properly integrated into the Group, and that we could not exploit synergies. And it meant that our respective model programmes were unco-ordinated and overlapped - as was our approach to the corporate market.'

Significant changes in management structure now mean a co-ordinated approach to fleet business, although Heitmann pledged the Group's different brands - Rover, BMW, Land Rover, Mini and MG with Rolls-Royce coming on stream in 2003 - would remain distinct.

And Rover Cars managing director Jim Macdonald, while pledging the company's 100% commitment to the corporate market, said a three-year strategic fleet turnaround had seen the company move away from a 'registrations at any cost' policy. Now pursuing a 'right cars, at the right price in the right segments' policy with the aim of attracting a broader customer base, Macdonald said the strategy had been launched with the 75 and would continue with the 200 and 400 facelifts.

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