BMW Supervisory Board
made a fundamental decision: unprofitable
will be sold.
A few days before the fateful meeting, the British political activity sharply increased. The minister canceled the planned business trip, the prime minister urgently held telephone conversations with German Chancellor Schroeder, the unions chartered a plane to Munich for their delegation. Nothing helped.
Reprimanding the Germans for the intention to independently decide the fate of tens of thousands of British working at the factory in Long-
bridge, in the “deliberate disintegration of Rover, ” they nevertheless wanted … to remain part of the BMW!
In total, about 1.8 million cars were manufactured at UK factories last year, 2.2% more than in 1998. But not by Rover - its volumes have already decreased by a quarter! Why? No, the "Rover 75" car is not bad at all. But here is what one British journalist wrote in … 1932: "The Rover always built good cars, but was a bit behind time, as if it was afraid to introduce a new model after the previous one that had just been successful." This image remained with the company, although it may not be entirely true: a gas turbine car in 1950 and an all-wheel drive with a fiberglass body in 1956 are worth a lot. The psychological factor also affected - there was more than enough speculation about the losses of the Rover in the media.
But if the “Rover” is not such a tidbit, then why did the Bavarian car manufacturers need it? In fact, they didn’t want to take it, only the most popular Land Rover jeep seemed attractive. But in 1994, British Airlines, a company that bought Rover in 1988 with a four-wheel drive company from British Leyland, set the condition: either all or nothing! The pound then cost 2.48 marks instead of the current 3.2 (and, by the way, taking into account the size of the company, the difference in the rate of just one pfennig results in 25 million marks of additional losses!), And BMW decided to take a chance. As it turned out now, in vain. Over these six years, the purchase resulted in a loss of six billion marks, which ate almost all the record profits of other branches of the concern. Personnel changes at the very top didn’t bring anything, and there’s also a recall of 22, 000 "seventy-fifths" because of the defective speed sensor … In general, the trouble came - open the gate.
The concern had no choice but to sell the unsuccessful acquisition, but not to Piehu! Of course, he would not have missed a chance, but he also wants “all together.” And “Rover” alone, as it turned out, was able to interest only a group of investors under the significant name “Alchemy Partners” (Friends-Alchemists!) With a “residence permit” in … Cayman Islands. So, indeed, the fate of almost 50, 000 jobs (and oh, how many) turned out to be suspended in the air. However, the chief of the "alchemists" John Moulton said that in the coming years he would resell his acquisition, but already as a profitable enterprise. “We want to produce cars, but not mass models. We will become a medium-sized company for a narrow market niche, ”he said. The Longbridge plant will remain, but the number of employees will be drastically reduced. Meanwhile, experts believe that “Rover” as an independent brand has little chance of survival. It is just superfluous in the world market crowded with cars, besides it does not have serious technical highlights.
What is a group of "alchemists"? Until now, it was known as the London "risk fund", which allocated money for the purchase of … pubs, hotels, restaurants and has made 47 transactions with 34 companies since its founding in 1997. And it is no accident that many media outlets are looking for the ears of reputable auto investors, for example, the same Piekh. Or even … "LogoVAZ" with its ubiquitous boss. However, the last assumption, rather, from the category of ducks.
As for the BMW itself, then, having performed the amputation of a diseased organ and having thrown off a heavy stone, the concern will rush towards new Golf-class models in full swing. The new series should organically complement the range of Bavarian cars and even, according to the head of the company Joachim Milberg, “occupy the highest level in this segment”.