2 December 2003

MG Rover suspended production at its Longbridge factory last week, following a slump in UK sales. Controversy following revelations of a £13m directors' pension fund are said to have caused sales to fall by almost 50 per cent in Britain during November, forcing MG Rover to halt the Longbridge lines for three days. Production of around 2000 Rover and MGs will be lost.

'All manufacturers do this sort of thing,' said a spokesman. 'Our policy is to carry relatively few cars in stock and to build to order where possible. Over-supply doesn't help us, our customers, or residual values.' Prior to this downturn, its sales had been holding up well in Western Europe, according to JATO Dynamics.

Though Rover sales have slumped 10 per cent, the stronger popularity of the sporty MG brand has compensated. In the UK, MGR's main market, sales are up nearly four per cent to 85,567 in the first 10 months of the year.

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