Outlook: BMW's dog
Friday 05 February 1999
Five years and pounds 3bn of investment later, far from turning Rover around, the old dog looks like being the nemesis of its master. BMW has suffered the humiliation of seeing its profits fall for the first time in years, not because its own brand is faltering, but because of the black hole over here into which it has been pouring funds.
Whilst it is hardy yet accurate to say that the vultures are circling, BMW would be snapped up by any number of bigger and hungrier predators if only the Quandt family could be persuaded to sell. The sale of Volvo to Ford makes the world an even lonelier place for the likes of BMW, which is now regarded as a minnow in motoring terms, even though it churns out more than a million cars a year.
When he took charge, Mr Pischetsrieder, spoke dreamily of the golden days of British motoring and evoked images of everyone driving around once again in Wolseleys and Rileys. And indeed the new Rover 75, a retro version of the stylish saloons of the late 1950s, is, by all accounts going down a storm with the motoring press test driving the car out in Spain.
But it is more likely to be Mr Pischetsrieder's swansong than Rover's salvation. The real gap in the marque's line up is a model that can compete credibly in the medium segment of the market where Rover is woefully represented by the 200-400 series.
Mr Pischetsrieder's rumoured successor, Wolfgang Reitzle, has no such sentimental attachments to weigh him down. Indeed anyone who spotted his cameo performance in the TV series "When BMW met Rover", will recall a cold-eyed fellow whose schedule definitely had no room for the film-wrapped German sausage and sauerkraut so lovingly prepared by the Rover dinner ladies at Canley.
The unions fear Mr Reitzle is the type who could close Longbridge down, tell Tony Blair to keep his pounds 300m in aid and switch production to Hungary without so much as a blink. That would mean 15,000 job losses, minimum, and the first real test of Mr Blair's New Labour free market rhetoric.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...