MG Rover has this morning unveiled three new MG model ranges due for launch in the autumn which it believes will show the motoring world that eight months after it gained its independence from BMW ownership it is once again a premier player in the industry.
In a speech to welcome around 200 journalists at the Longbridge plant before the three new model ranges - codenamed X10, X20 and X30 - were revealed , MG Rover chief executive Kevin Howe gave an overview of the current well-being of the group.
He said: "The MG Rover Group is very different from the sprawling British group that BMW owned and now comprises 5,500 dedicated, well-trained and committed people - all of whom now have a genuine stake in the business with the recent share allocation announcement."
On the near future Mr Howe explained that the group's business plan assumed an average of 200,000 sales in each of the first five years during which its whole product offering will be revitalised or replaced.
"This includes the establishment of full model ranges for both the Rover and MG brands.
"Indeed this year we will be launching four new models and thereby producing a total of eight models by July 2001. Despite this our sales plans are prudent and are set against a pragmatic cost base.
"The business plan is now in place and it requires no external financing to fund the company."
Mr Howe said that MG Rover's product development programmes are on target on the back of a £100m expenditure in 2000 to ensure that the four new models would be launched in 2001.
The three new models are all based around the R75, R45 and R25 but resplendent in spoilers, enhanced interiors, uprated engine systems and higher quality interiors. Rob Oldaker, MG Rover's product development director described them as "uncompromising drivers' cars".
"They have taut handling and steering. They sit low and ride firmly. Uprated brakes can shrug off the hardest driving. Short throw gear levers give snappy changes, throttle response is sharp," Mr Oldaker said.
For full details of the new cars, including pictures, see the story in New Cars