Amid the initial euphoria of Rover being 'saved' Professor Garel Rhys, head of the economic section at Cardiff University Business School, and Professor Peter Cooke, head of the Centre for Automotive Industries Management at Nottingham Trent University, agreed Rover's only viable long-term future is as part of another manufacturing motor group. Rhys suggested that a transformed Rover could be bought by Volkswagen in three to five years.
Cooke, who says Longbridge has been kept going by successive Governments despite being a non-starter for the last 20 years, anticipates Phoenix will be asking for help within a maximum of two to three years. He said: 'They may be calling John Towers 'St John' now but I wonder how long it will be before he becomes a martyr?'
Rhys outlined a recovery programme which Rover must go through: Sell existing products with a good marketing strategy and with higher prices than they did last month. Develop and see what derivatives can be spun off from existing models. Review itself and find a partner within five years.