21 December 2004

Rover is to re-work its 2005 model line-up to reflect the future shape of the brand, say MG Rover sources. The first extensive research into the brand for some years has convinced MGR that it should position Rover in the slot it tried to occupy at the 1999 launch of the 75 saloon.

Guy Jones, the company’s new marketing chief, says the badge is still seen as a ‘pedigree brand,’ especially outside the UK. ‘Interior ambience, comfort, space, refinement and distinctive British style are the watchwords. Customers still see Rover at the bottom of the ‘premium brand leg below Jaguar, Bentley and Aston Martin – but definitely not part of the mass market’.

MGR’s Chinese partner SAIC also wants to pitch Rover as a pure luxury brand in China. This means future Anglo-Chinese Rovers will be upmarket, high-quality vehicles, said MGR sources.

The first steps back in that direction are the new GLi, GSi and GXi spec levels for the 25 and 45 models, which feature leather and wood trim as standard. The hide-covered Rover 25 1.4 GLi costs just £8995.

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