Fleet News

New models on the drawing board for Rover Group

PLANS for all-new vehicles - despite warnings to suppliers that production could be halved at Longbridge - will be on Rover Group drawing boards from August following the appointment of Rolls-Royce engineering chief Rob Oldaker as its product development director.

A Rover veteran, like new chief executive Kevin Howe. Oldaker has been with Rolls-Royce and Bentley for four years and has held senior engineering positions with Cosworth, Rover and Jaguar. Howe said Oldaker would be responsible for shaping product strategy at Longbridge.

Phoenix is understood to have sent suppliers letters warning them of a 50% cut in production to about 50,000 units later in the year as a result of disruption caused by the transfer of the 75 from BMW's Cowley plant to Longbridge. Production of the 75 has stopped at Cowley and will restart at Longbridge at the end of September.

At the time of his 11th hour bid, which beat Alchemy Partners in the race to buy Rover from BMW, Phoenix chief John Towers had promised to maintain the brand's position as a volume manufacturer, with a fleet presence, on the basis of producing up to 250,000 cars a year at Longbridge.

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