Rover sales rev up to 5-year high of spacey

Sales of Rover cars hit a five-year high in 1994, helped by a record performance at Land Rover, where US sales soared.

Total group sales last year were 475,500, up 11 per cent on the 429,800 vehicles sold in 1993. Land Rover sales were 90,079, 22.5 per cent up on 1993's previous record of 73,527.

Land Rover, one of the main reasons BMW of Germany bought Rover from British Aerospace at the start of last year, boosted sales in all its markets.

But while Land Rover sales grew 14.2 per cent in the UK and Europe, sales in America soared 145 per cent to 12,045 following introduction of the Discovery model in April.

"Rover Group has continued its export-led success during 1994 despite continuing economic difficulties in a number of markets and unrelenting competitive pressures," said John Towers, chief executive.

The figures will fuel speculation that BMW's £800m purchase of Rover was a bargain. Analysts believe Land Rover's success could see it make profits of £200m this year. BAe never split Land Rover profits from Rover Group, which has been a consistent loss-maker.

Rover's British sales lagged the rest of the world, with a rise of just 3 per cent to 256,200 units while overseas sales in general rose 22 per cent to 219,300.

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