Looking through some old photos, I found one taken at Longbridge to celebrate the five-millionth Rover to be produced.
Looking at my face in the picture, it’s almost as if I knew what was around the corner.
Used values of Rovers have been slipping again lately. An 04/04 Rover 45 1.4 Club SE that has covered 60,000 miles is worth around £3,000, compared to a similar age Astra 1.4 Club at £4,300.
Down to Kettering to drive the first right-hand-drive Dodge Avengers in the UK.
We first drove the Avenger back in March in Seville where we all thought that the interior quality was not good.
The cars this week were still not up to European standard, but are a huge improvement on the early ones. The Avenger is a four-door saloon and similar in size to the Mazda6.
The Dodge is built alongside the Chrysler Sebring and shares many components.
There will be two models: SE and SXT, and three engines: 2.0 and 2.4 petrol and the Volkswagen-sourced 2.0-litre diesel. Reliable? Yes. Quiet? No.
It a bit rackety in all vehicles it is fitted to. Prices for the Avenger start at £14,995 for a 2.0 SE manual, but the most popular model will be the 2.0 SXT diesel priced at £16,995, which looks reasonable value.
While I might have looked miserable at the Rover party, my face was a picture of delight at a Jaguar event recently, because things are looking up for the firm.
Official photographs of the new XF saloon, due on sale next March, have been released but I’ve seen an early pre-production car and it looks even better in the metal. Jaguar has been bold and brave with the styling and it has paid off.
The car we saw was the Luxury version and is the ‘base’ model in the loosest sense of the word.
The list of standard equipment is endless. The best-seller, which will account for almost half of sales, will be the 2.7d Luxury, costing £33,900. CAP Monitor predicts a future value in three years/60,000 miles of £15,175 or 45% of cost new – which puts it in an amazingly strong position.
More great news for British manufacturing: had a visit from Barry Beeston, Nissan’s national corporate sales manager.
He told us the Qashqai is still selling very well and next year’s volume aspirations have been increased to 25,000 units.
The Sunderland factory has also ramped up production by 20% to cater for European demand. All Qashqai production is destined for customers, with none allowed on to Nissan’s own company car fleet, or for short-term business.
This year, during quarter three, it was targeted to sell 14,000, but has exceeded this to 17,000.
Around 80% of sales have been conquests from other manufacturers.