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Phoenix pulls Rover from motor shows

Phoenix is to curtail “flashy” expenditure on high-profile motor shows, cancelling plans to exhibit Rover cars at the Birmingham motor show in October.

John Towers, head of the consortium, said the measures would save money on an expensive form of promotion that “didn't sell cars”. He hopes to recoup more than £10m, which would be invested in more cost-effective marketing.

Meanwhile, workers at Longbridge have been put on a new five-hour morning shift as Phoenix looks to step up production of Rover 25 and 45 in a move reflecting buoyant sales in April and a need to build sufficient stocks in anticipation of disruption as Rover 75 production is transferred to the plant.

Mr Towers is confident of continuing last month's sales boom – Rover took 13.5% of the market – through a policy of permanent price cuts of between 10% and 14%.

Mr Towers believes the cost-cutting exercise would help to achieve a positive cashflow within 14 months, bringing Rover into profit by 2002.

Leading players in the Phoenix/Rover venture include Nick Stephenson, former Rover head of product development, who will overhaul Phoenix's marketing programme, Mayflower Corporation managing director Terry Whitmore, Lola Cars managing director David Bowes, Edwards of Stratford head John Edwards and finance director Peter Beale.

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