: Local owners of MG Rover products have been assured of continued after sales service, after it was reported that the British manufacturer had been put into receivership. Talks between the SAIC and the stricken bastion of British car manufacturing continue.
Local owners of MG Rover products have been assured of continued after sales service, after it was reported that the British manufacturer had been put into receivership. Talks between the SAIC and the stricken bastion of British car manufacturing continue.
The decision was taken to call in the receivers after the company had been forced to halt production at the historic 100-year-old Longbridge plant when suppliers discontinued deliveries amid fears about MG Rover’s financial future. The company earlier issued a warning that it would need a £100m (R1,172 billion) loan from the government to remain afloat.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair was unsuccessfully called in to help save the deal with the Shanghai Automotive Investment Corporation (SAIC), which has long been regarded as MG Rover’s possible saviour. The two companies had been discussing a joint venture in which SAIC would hold 75 per cent and invest about £200m (R2,344b) in exchange for MG Rover’s vehicle knowledge.
In a report, SAIC denied walking away from the negotiations. A spokesman for the company said the Chinese company had been disappointed with the outcome.
According to him, MG Rover and its parent company Phoenix Venture Holdings had to show that the manufacturer was solvent before the deal was signed.
“They failed to do so and no intervention was made to enable them to do so,” he said. “We did not withdraw from the talks – we are disappointed with the outcome.”
However, the Phoenix Four, as the group who bought the company from BMW became known, have long been rumoured to be profiting off MG Rover, while its vehicle manufacturing division consistently recorded losses.
The four directors, together with company chief executive Kevin Howe, have made about £40m (R468m) out of the business they bought for £10 (R117,20). An investigation by the same newspaper last year suggested that Phoenix controlled businesses and assets, excluding MG Rover, worth £70m (R820m). However, the car manufacturing business has been isolated from the more profitable businesses under the Phoenix umbrella.
Pearl Importers, the official local importers and distributors of MG and Rover products in South Africa, announced on Friday that it had not been advised of any changes to the situation between MG Rover and SAIC.
The local company said talks were being conducted between senior officials of the MG Rover Group, SAIC and the UK Department of Trade and Industry to ensure a positive outcome to the talks.
In its statement, Pearl Automotive promised its commitment to sustained levels of after sales service to its existing customers.