06 June 2000

Kevin Howe, the newly appointed chief executive of Rover Cars [WAMN, 25-May-00], has literally put his name to a new national advertising drive, launched today, in which prices of the marque are cut by 10% across the board.

His name and signature appear at the foot of colour ads in today’s national press, headlined “A couple of words from the new boss of Rover: ‘Expect change’.”

The body copy coolly observes “It’s amazing what £10 can buy you” (the nominal sum paid to BMW by Rover’s new owner, the Phoenix Consortium), then links the statement to a month-long cut of 10% in the retail prices of all Rover, MG and Mini models, promising savings of between £900 and £2,600. Although the promotion is billed as ending in June, industry observers expect the cuts to be maintained indefinitely.

Under BMW-dictated strategy, Rover adopted a premium price position, resulting in a disastrous sales decline. Said a company spoke: "The new management wants to re-establish Rover cars as mainstream, value-oriented brands."

Phoenix hopes the campaign will boost Rover’s average monthly sales of 7,500 units, lifting UK market share from 4 to 5 per cent.

News source: The Times (London)