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Customer Review

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An insight into hope, failure and betayal., 17 Sept. 2009
This review is from: End of the Road: The Story of the Downfall of Rover. Chris Brady & Andrew Lorenz: The Real Story of the Downfall of Rover (Paperback)
This book charts the progression of the famous or infamous raise an fall of the British motor industry focusing particularly on the BMW take over of the Rover Group as it then was in 1994 until MG Rover's collapse in 2005.

The book succeeds in both giving a historical narrative and a managerial/business outlook on events in those nine short years when Rover went from the success of the R8 200/400 models, MGF and 600 with Honda input to its failure in April 2005. Both BMW's takeover and the fallout with Honda in 1994 are well covered giving insight into a split within the company, as those (John Towers included) wished to continue with the Honda partnership, and the BAe board which after a period of asset stripping wanted a quick sale to assist its profit margins.

The book also covers the BMW approach after the sale in which management decisions and leadership were lacking, giving Rover no overall focus of direction together with Sterling issues and Honda IP rights on the Rover 600 & 400 ranges which ultimately reduced its profits margins again. Throw in Thatcher, Major and Blair governments indifference toward manufacturing or support for any new project, and the BMW board infighting, the picture of the Rover/MG Rover's downfall looks less clear cut than most of the media would have you believe.

Whist well researched by Chris Brady and Andrew Lorenz, I would agree with past reviews that the conclusion reached in is revised edition, published in 2005, is too soon after the events with no longer term perspective on the 'Phoenix Four' or the hand they were dealt when taking over the company in May 2000. They do point out the 'fours' pension scandal and the inability to court a partner which was key to keeping the business running, but the conclusion that MG Rover failed due to the Phoenix Four's managerial incompetence is, I find too simplistic. There are many, in particular BAe, Wilson, Heath and Thatcher administrations and not less BMW themselves, even Jeremy Clarkson who all have blood on their hands in this regard. The Phoenix Four were the last to put the nail in the coffin of this sorry tale.

A great read for those who want to know a little more as to why Britain no longer has a homegrown car manufacturer.
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