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Failed MG Rover bidder determined to stay in the game

The head of a consortium behind an unsuccessful bid to take over MG Rover Group says he is determined to establish a UK manufacturing base.

Professor Krish Bhaskar, of Triple A, was one of the first bidders to express an interest in the beleaguered West Midlands’ manufacturer, following its collapse into administration in April.

In June, Triple A announced it had joined forces with West Midlands’ haulier Martyn Moseley, who subsequently tabled an unsuccessful £90m bid for the company.

But following MG Rover’s sale to Nanjing Automotive, Bhaskar has withdrawn his support for the Moseley led bid.

"The split between Martyn and myself has been amicable. I wish Martyn and his team every future success," said Bhaskar.

"PricewaterhouseCooper’s decision to sell MG Rover to Nanjing, and the subsequent decision by Nanjing to choose the GB Sports Car Company as its preferred UK partner, changed everything. There was clearly little sense from Triple A’s perspective, in continuing to bid for a company which had already been sold."

Yet despite recent developments at Longbridge, Bhaskar is confident of establishing a large UK automotive manufacturing operation, together with an international distribution and dealer network.

"MG Rover is not the only show in town. The UK could be a great place to make cars, as I am sure that MG Rover’s new owners will soon discover. We are currently looking at a number of additional major opportunities right across the UK. These include established manufacturing operations as well as greenfield sites for efficient, flexible, large scale production. Ultimately we would expect to create several thousand jobs and establish a major force in car design, development and engineering. I am confident that this will be one of the biggest investments ever in the British motor industry."

Bhaskar would not reveal what opportunities are being considered.

However, he said: "Great British automotive brands such as Austin Healey, still continue to enjoy surprisingly high levels of recognition and appreciation in North America. We found this to be the case even amongst younger consumers, which initially surprised us. In part, I suspect that this is due to the continued showing of cult English TV programmes across the Atlantic. In part, it is also due to the efforts of enthusiasts’ groups, who have ensures the brands remain highly visible and highly cherished, decades after the last cars rolled off the production lines."

He revealed he’d had discussions with a number of parties.

"In principle, Triple A is happy to talk to and to work with anyone, be they in Longbridge, the West Midlands or indeed anywhere else in the UK. As well as being able to bring considerable amounts of money to any venture, through established strategic partnerships, we can provide full project management and support."

Despite withdrawing support from Martyn Moseley’s venture, Bhaskar still hopes to revive talks with some other unsuccessful bidders for MG Rover.

"I have a high regard for both David James and Barrie Wills of the Project Kimber consortium. It would be interesting to explore the feasibility of creating a NUMMI type environment at Longbridge or indeed any other location, where we could share a paint plant and perhaps other core production facilities. In principle, I would be happy to concentrate upon the development of SUVs and ‘green’ vehicles, whilst Barrie and David could concentrate upon sports cars. The possibilities for co-operation are potentially limitless."

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