It’s my first trip to the Shanghai show, so it was fascinating to see the Chinese incarnation of MG Rover in its home territory.
As you’ll probably remember, the British bankruptcy process managed to sell the Longbridge production equipment to a small carmaker called Nanjing, even thought the design rights to most of MGR’s products had already been acquired by Shanghai Automotive (SAIC).
In the end, the Chinese government forced Nanjing to allow itself to be partly absorbed by SAIC so the blueprints and the production equipment were re-united.
SAIC failed to buy the rights to the Rover name (Land Rover bought the name back from BMW) so it invented the Roewe brand, which is designed to look old-school British to the domestic Chinese market.
The Rover 75 remains entirely recognisable, despite numerous changes including a headlamp transplant on the late-model 75 grille, a wheelbase stretch and a re-designed rear end. The 75’s fine dashboard has also been replaced with a generic interior of decidedly average quality.