They say the shortages have meant delays in getting cars back to customers, forcing them to fund additional courtesy vehicles to keep them on the road. “Profit levels in our bodyshop and parts departments are down and we will be looking for compensation from MG Rover,” says one dealer.
The problems have also affected bodyshops, which accuse MG Rover of a “Third World” parts service. MG Rover dealer council chairman Richard Roberts, managing director at Trident Garages in Surrey, says the board is in talks with the carmaker about costs caused by the delays. He hopes retailers will not make independent claims.
“The components industry has been squeezed by manufacturers because of the squeeze on margins,” he says. “The knock-on effect is that a lot have gone bust, which had led to this parts shortage.”
The problem, he added, was not unique to Rover. MG Rover, which is supplying dealers with courtesy cars at cut-price rates, says the matter of compensation is confidential. But it claims the situation has eased after production was halted at the Longbridge plant for a week so parts could be diverted to dealers.
The problem dates back to last year when several key suppliers collapsed. It was aggravated by a change of logistics partner in March, when CAT took over components supply from Unipart.