In May 2000, the Rover Group, which was losing £2 million a day, was sold by German car-maker BMW for £10 to the Phoenix consortium of Midlands businessmen led by ex-Rover Group executive John Towers, beating off a rival bid from venture capitalists Alchemy Partners. Few expected the British carmaker to survive, and the jury is still out. Over the last two years, the Birmingham-based company has introduced new models including the Rover 75 Tourer and the new sporty MG saloons, and has entered a long-term joint venture to develop cars with a Chinese carmaker, China Brilliance, to take advantage of the fastest-growing car market in the world.
In 2001 MG Rover sold 170,200 cars, generating sales of £1.7bn, down from £2.3bn in 2000. In the same year it reduced operating losses from £605m in 2000 to £187m, partly as a result of a cut in staff from 14,409 to 6,500. It expects to break even in 2003.
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