Rover 75 to be reborn as hybrid
UK's last mass-produced car back, sort of
'Leccy Tech The Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) has announced that it intends to start mass-producing its first hybrid before the end of 2010.
Should we give a hoot? Well, probably because the car in question will be the Roewe 750, itself a revised version of the Rover 75, Britain's last, best mass-produced car.
Initial plans are only for a mild hybrid with a lithium-ion batter pack rather than a fully fledged plug-in, but from small acorns mighty oak trees sometimes grow.
SAIC's Roewe 750: Rover 75 reborn
The batteries will come from US auto supplier Johnson Controls, while UK engine technology company Ricardo is apparently working on the revised powertrain.
According to some sources, 2009 will see SAIC start to re-establish an engineering centre at Rover's old home at Longbridge in the West Midlands by moving its UK-based staff there from their current home in Leamington Spa.
This year should also see the first revised MG-TF convertibles role of the line at Longbridge. Beyond the MG-TF, what exactly will be built at Longbridge - and when - is a decidedly grey area, but if the chips fall right it's not beyond the bounds of imagination to see hybrid Rovers - sorry, Roewes – buzzing out of Brum in a few years' time.
In November 2008, SAIC forked out RMB2bn ($292m/£211m/€225m) to set up a subsidiary in Shanghai dedicated to developing the control systems and powertrains for hybrid, electric and fuel-cell cars. So presumably it's serious about all this 'leccy tech malarkey. ®
...as Vulcan plummets from his skies........
Sadly Vulcan V5 you are extremely wrong. But consistently so, I'll give you that.
The Omega was made in Rüsselheim, Germany.
The R40 platform was engineered by Rover with parent company BMW at first keeping deliberately out the way, later on getting more involved to sort out minor areas as the clouds started to gather around Rover. Now, BMW's reliability record is not actually as good as some may have you believe, but they're a pretty thorough firm and they helped to ensure the 75 was, on launch, a very sorted motor. But if you like to believe and then repeat what your fat mate in the pub says then more fool you.
Who owned Rover when they designed the 75 then???
The Rover 75 was received well by the international press, not just the UK. MG Rovers failure to jump on top of the K series engine head gasket problem, while spending what little funds they had on developing the MG SV was their most shocking failure in my opinion. And that opinion is re-inforced by the 75 being labelled a badly screwed together car. That simply isn’t true. BMW knew the model was important for the future of Rover, and monitored the models development closely. And even with Rover going through a sales crisis. they held the launch of the 75 back for a significant amount of time to resolve some fairly trivial issue with the design .With that in mind, it is rather inplausable that BMW allowed the model to be launched 'badly screwed together' isnt it?.
El Reg quits motoring journalism
The Rover 75 was Britain's last best mass produced car????
C'mon, Reg. Get a life.
The last best mass produced large car was the Vauxhall Omega, otherwise, Opel.
The Rover 75 was merely another badly screwed together unreliable oil-leaker in the finest traditions of its immediate predecessor, the Rover 800.
Both cars were, of course, slavishly praised on debut by UK motoring magazines desperate for advertisement revenue. It was only after they'd pocketed that money that -- curiously enough -- all the small-print summaries of the Rover 75 (featured in various magazine 'reference' sections) started telling the truth.
El Reg doesn't need to demonstrate its impressive versatility by straying into Clarkson territory, so better quit now whilst still ahead?