Rover

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LandRover

The Rover name comes from the ‘Rover Safety Cycle’ 1884 so called because it had the now familiar bicycle layout and was safe compared to the penny-farthings of the day. It was a product of Starley and Sutton, bicycle builders. Later the firm moved on to manufacturing motorcycles and cars and established a reputation for respectable, not very expensive cars much favoured by doctors, vets, and the like.

After World War II, Rover saw a market for a light Jeep-style of four wheel drive, building prototypes on Jeep chassis. They eventually came up with the alloy-bodied Land-Rover, released in 1948.

Always an innovative company, Rover's experiments with gas turbine power included racing a car in the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1963 and again in 1965. Prototype road cars were built and gas turbine power just might have been an option in the Rover 2000 - 3500.

Rover became caught up in the nationalised, then privatised, grouping of independent British motor companies - British Motor Corporation (BMC), British Leyland, and eventually the whole collection was called ‘Rover’, the least tainted name left. In 1988 British Aerospace (BAe) acquired Rover Group which it sold in 1994 to BMW who never managed to make it profitable, although the Land Rover section did well.

2000 April: BMW announced it would break up and sell Rover Group, keeping the new Mini for itself. Ford bought Land Rover. The Phoenix group was successful in buying Rover and MG for a song from BMW in May 2000.

2001: After being sold, or was it dropped, by BMW in 2000, (MG-)Rover overcame a hesitant start with the release of the "quality" Rover 75 sedan. The Rover 75 station wagon was released in Australia in late 2001.

2005 April: MG-Rover went into receivership after take-over talks with Chinese groups failed.
However, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) had bought the rights to the Rover 75 design (and it launched a revised ‘Roewe 75’ in 2007). Nanjing Automobile Group bought the remaining physical assets of MG-Rover. Ford bought the ‘Rover’ name from BMW in 2006 to protect its (then) Land Rover.

2009 September 11: A government inquiry showed the "Phoenix 4" bosses in a bad light over the 2005 collapse of MG-Rover. In May 2011 hey were barred from holding company directorships for up to six years.

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