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How to revive an icon: Part two

2 years ago

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Andrew English | Journalist


6 August 2022

Granddaddy of all ailing marque revivals is, of course, the Phoenix Four debacle and their ‘purchase’ of Rover along with a £1 billion BMW dowry, plus the Longbridge plant, which was quickly sold off to themselves, then licensed back to the firm.

Quite what the ‘Four’ (John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and Peter Beale, plus chief executive Kevin Howe) did for their £42 million in pay and pensions, which were described as ‘out of all proportion’ by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors, is too depressing to recount and since it’s doubtful they ever had much intention of reviving MG Rover, they probably shouldn’t be part of this article.

And if you aren’t even a bit vexed by this, consider the £16 million and three years it took the DTI to arrive at that statement of the bleedin’ obvious. That would have been enough to write a £2500 cheque to each of the MG Rover employees who lost their jobs and pensions when the money ran out. A 2005/6 report from The House of Commons Committee for Public Accounts concluded that the decline of MG Rover between 2000 and 2004 cost the taxpayer about £270 million, with an additional cost to the private sector and company’s employees cheated out of their pensions of more than £600 million.

Yes, revival is an expensive business, but it is also populated with a lot of charlatans.

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