28 August 2015

Rover's return from JLR?

The pros and cons of Jaguar Land Rover bringing back Rover...

GOES without saying that Jaguar Land Rover have been thriving under Tata. With exciting new cars like the Jaguar XF and the Range Rover Evoque, which have also been successful and widely acclaimed by many. Sales have increased year on year, profits are up, and they have also reported record highs on the number of cars JLR have sold.

Despite their growth, JLR in comparison are small in the global car market compared to the likes of: Ford, VAG, GM and Toyota. But then again, Jaguar and Land Rover are not volume car brands whereas they are.

If JLR is to expand and become a global player to compete with the big boys, it could mean that Jaguar and Land Rover would be more mainstream should this happen. Especially where it concerns competing with: BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Joe public regards the German trios as premium car brands – even if they are volume sellers.

It’s hard to see Jaguar making smaller cars to rival the Audi A3 or even BMW’s MINI. The same could be said about Land Rover making crossovers to rival the Skoda Yeti and even the Nissan Juke. JLR (or Tata in this case) maybe concerned if Jaguar and Land Rover become more mainstream; it could potentially devalue or cheapen the brands. Look what happened to Saab under GM.

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have entered more mainstream markets yet retain their premium status.

Could launching a sub-brand this be the solution to the dilemma Jaguar Land Rover faces?

Renault re-launched the Dacia brand, and it has been a success for them in being the entry-level or budget marque within the Renault-Nissan group. At the other end of the scale, Mercedes-Benz has also revived the Maybach name as well. Though time will tell to see if Maybach will be successful for Mercedes, like Bentley has for Volkswagen and Rolls-Royce for BMW. If JLR is to launch a new sub-brand that's intended to be making cars for the masses. Some suggested on whether it could be Rover.

Since MG Rover went bust after going into administration 10 years ago this year, the ownership and rights of the Rover name has changed hands. BMW owned the rights of Rover name after the company’s demise in 2005. Soon after, Ford bought the rights of the Rover name off BMW with interest of protecting the Land Rover brand. Today, it is now in the hands of Tata following the acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford.

There are even rumours and speculation over the possibility of Rover making a comeback by Jaguar Land Rover. With an article by Enda Mullen of the Birmingham Post, on what the pros and cons could be of reviving the Rover brand. Mullen also asked motoring experts their views on this as well. This has in no doubt sparked more speculation and rumours about it.

Launching Rover as sub-brand within the JLR stable akin to the likes of Volkswagen and Volvo could be a shrewd move. It's with interest of preserving the prestige and upmarket image of the Jaguar brand. Not only that, it links well with Land Rover and Range Rover. Rover, as a car brand, does have a better public perception than other names that are long gone – particularly from Johnny Foreigner, as he'll probably like the 'Britishness' that Rovers had.

Rovers abroad were liked for their Britishness. But not so much at home and were deemed old-fashioned.

Back home in the UK, the public's perception of Rover was generally a negative one. We were probably Rover's harshest critics. Speak of Rover to many, it conjures images of: tweed caps, tartan blankets, walking sticks, pipes and slippers. In short, anything that's synonymous with old people. The 'Britishness' that some Johnny Foreigners view Rover doesn't translate too well on British shores.

Besides a zimmer-frame image, that same old chestnut of headgasket failures didn't help either. Many would deem Rover (as a car brand) to be a dead duck in the water. That it would be a waste of time, effort and money for JLR of reviving the Rover name. Having said that, the Rover name exists with Land Rover and Range Rover.

Looking back in history. Rover's reputation improved from its association with Honda, and recovered from the dark days of British Leyland. Then BMW bought them, stripped their assets and spat them out to the Phoenix Four for a tenner. A few years on, Rover collapsed and closed their doors. It has been 10 years ago this year since Rover's collapse, and that maybe too soon for the marque making a return for some.

Can Skoda's turnaround by Volkswagen be a good inspiration for JLR of Rover's return?

Rebuilding a tainted brand can happen and it is possible. Volkswagen have successfully done that with Skoda. It took VW lots of time, effort and money of taking the Czech brand to where it is today. You won't see kids laughing and pointing at Skodas like those who did many moons ago.

Its association with VW and the qualities they share from its parent company did Skoda a lot of favours in turning round the Czech maker's fortunes. Jaguar Land Rover have built up a strong reputation like Volkswagen have, and like Skoda, they've turned their fortunes round as well. A case study on Skoda can be an inspiration of JLR bringing back Rover. Mind you, Jaguar re-invented themselves not so long ago either.


  1. Rovers had a bad name due to the hgf but if jlr can sort out an engine that is going to be able to compete with ther other brands on reliability i cant c that bad reputation following the name if it is advertised that the engine has been changed. But to honest i love rovers i have rover 25 not had to much wrong with it at apart from the common hgf but that has only been twice in three years but the way i c it its like any car if you dont look after it then you going to have issues

    1. JLR's new Ingenium engines would be more than up for the task.

      Rover generally didn't make bad cars, the 75 for example was a comfy and well engineered car. Besides bad reputation from headgasket failure on the K-Series engines that they're notorious for. They had an iffy pipes and slippers image, and ended up having an ageing line up of cars (due to lack of funds) which did them no favours.

      But yeah, you've made a point there Chris. Look after your car, and it will look after you.

  2. Rovers can't have been as bad as their reputation, Look around and see how many 10+ year old Rovers are still around, most looking quite tidy.

    1. Exactly, it's a testament to the quality of their cars. But also a credit to the owners that keep them running.

    2. Come to Portugal and ser how many Rovers are still running or Wellington as used cars.

    3. Sorry! It was my intention to write "running or advertised".
      And even with more than 200.000 km. (124.300 miles)

  3. They should bring back rover's they are good cars

  4. Mike Fox. Yeah the Rover was a great car I have a Rover75 and love it! We have over 30.000 members in the 75&ZT club world wide so that tells you how much the Rover is loved!!

    1. That's great news Mike. With 30,000 members of the 75 & ZT owners club. It tells me that they have a loyal following and survival rate of the cars will be higher.

  5. Rover went the right way with the SD1, everything after that was crap.


  6. I had a Rover 75 2.0 produced in 2000, a top car, never any problems ... I did not have sold him 300 000 km and still drives.
    With him I had a Rover 216 Si manufactured in 1997. ... no I do not know how many kilometers traveled ... never any problems to traffic accidents R.I.P
    After Rover 75 I bought a Mercedes ML 400 CDI ... trash the car compared with Rover
    Prije mjesec dana sam si našao vrlo sačuvan primjerak Rover coupe (Tomcat) i to British Racing Green proizveden 1997 godine...just very happy and I enjoy driving every day ... a wife, I gave the German trash ;-)

  7. Please bring back rover excellent cars love them I have a rover 75 1.8t in British racing green never had any problems with it.
    By the way I'm not an old man I'm 39 and proud of my country annoys me how we've sold everything good down the river.


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