Thursday, April 07, 2005

Rover's Endgame

I'm trying to avoid party politics over this one.

Things look bleak over at Rover Longbridge. The importance of this can't be overstated - 6000 people are directly employed and some estimates say that over 20,000 jobs depend on the factory.

Politically, of course, to have the factory close now would be disastrous for Labour, but I can't help but wonder if the inevitable isn't being postponed and the best we can hope for is that the factory will be gradually run down to soften the blow for Birmingham. Rover faces huge problems, in that it lacks the money to develop new models to replace the ageing range. Maybe the best future for the company is to develop into a niche manufacturer, as some of the performance models have had good reviews.

The recent history of the company has been a little controversial. It is always possible that both the Chinese and the company are playing the government for all they can while the election campaign is running, but things don't look good.

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