Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), one of China's largest carmakers and the new owner of the MG Rover technology, has selected Roewe – translated as honour and prestige in Chinese – as its marque name.
The Roewe appears to be a clone of the name Rover, which SAIC tried to buy from BMW earlier this year but failed when Ford Motor exercised its option to buy first. SAIC had agreed to buy the brand, known worldwide by the Viking longship, for more than £11 million.
However, that deal was always subject to the agreement of Ford, which had secured a veto on any sale when the US car company bought Land Rover from BMW for £1.4 billion in 2000.
Ford decided to buy the Rover name because it ‘was in the best interests of Land Rover’. SAIC was prepared not to make 4x4 Rover cars to avoid any clash with the Land Rover, but the offer was not enough for Ford. SAIC bought the rights to the Rover 25 and 75 for £67m in late 2004, months before MG Rover went into administration.
While SAIC has revealed the badge for the new brand, it hasn't yet shown how it has adapted the 75 to transform it into the Grand Prestige.
SAIC has committed more than £700 million worth of investment to develop production of the car for export, but hasn't given a timetable on when, or even if, this will include the UK.
Nanjing Automotive, meanwhile, continues with its plans to restart production of the TF roadster at the former MG Rover plant at Longbridge next year.
The financial terms were not disclosed but Acertec said the contract might lead to further long-term co-operation between Stadco and Nanjing in Longbridge.
Full production is expected to be achieved in mid-2007.