Letter: The car business: company history, Japanese honour, German priorities, British nostalgia

Sir: Your leading article and letters commenting on the sale of Rover to BMW appear to have overlooked a vital aspect of the transaction. Because BMW's strategy is set by a supervisory board on which major German banks are represented, sourcing of components for Rover will no longer be a straightforward commercial decision. Those same banks will be shareholders in BMW's suppliers and they will be looking to optimise their returns from both sources.

Moreover, the reasoning that Rover's British suppliers are highly competitive does not stand close examination; many of BMW's suppliers have acquired assets in the Czech Republic where wage rates are said to be one tenth of the German equivalent. The BMW deal is a bad deal for British industry, but a good deal for Bavaria's Czech neighbours.

Yours sincerely,


East Molesey, Surrey

1 February