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July 20, 2005

MG Rover needn’t stay British 

Despite being the man who dissed SAIC for its part in the collapse of in April, I find it odd that David James is leading a consortium of investors to stop the automaker falling into the hands of Johnny Foreigner. I respect Mr James and his abilities (he has more than proven himself capable), but somehow globalization makes the argument weaker these days.
   It’s not just that: the British apathy toward its own products doesn’t help, either. Who wasn’t watching the London bombings and noting the cops and medical staff were in Volvos, Volkswagens, Audis? Other than some Ford Mondeos (made in Genk, Belgium, anyway), I saw no British , or even British marques (like Vauxhall). You’d never see the gendarmerie rushing down the Champs-Élysées in a Mercedes-Benz, and you’d never see the Polizei in their Citroën, but in Britain, that pride in British goods being the best is long dead.
   It won’t, ultimately, make the slightest difference if future MG Rovers come from India (which some of them had been), Poland (which some of them could have been, had a deal gone ahead), Italy (which the SV had been) or Red China (which is looking most likely of all). The Brits will probably keep slamming them if they did stay British, just as they did when the last mob ran it. Let’s hope Messrs Price, Waterhouse and Coopers (sorry, can't remember where the heck the capitals go, so it’s easier to write the name in English and make a parenthetical remark) choose what is best for the company’s long term, regardless of nationalistic considerations. A analysis might be instructive.
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