Fleet News

Land Rover shines, but Rover disappoints

LAND Rover has become the strongest growing brand in the BMW Group, achieving record sales for the seventh year running, while Rover headed for a record low. During 1999, the 4x4 marque increased sales in the USA by 37%, by 28% in Germany, 39% in Eastern Europe and by 15% in Western Europe, contributing to a worldwide total of 178,000 - 16% up, and spearheaded by the Freelander range.

Rover sales were down 25% to 227,000 units. In its shareholders' report for 1999, BMW described Rover's performance as 'an unsatisfactory result' and blamed factors such as delays to the launch of the 75. Faced with a loss potential of £1 billion, its German owner has reaffirmed its commitment to the company and announced Group sales of Euro 34,400 million (£20,812 million) for the 1999 financial year, a rise of 6.6%.

In his letter to shareholders, BMW chairman Dr Joachim Millberg said Rover sales had begun to rise in the last quarter. 'The BMW Group's objective remains the same,' he said. 'The Rover restructuring programme will continue to be vigorously pursued.'

As part of the restructuring, all BMW Group sales forces are to be based at BMW's headquarters at Bracknell, Berks, from late May. This means a move south from the Midlands for about 300 Rover Cars, Land Rover and Mini/MG staff.

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