Roewe sounds an awful lot like Rover..
That's because SAIC initially wanted the Rover brand to go on their cars. BMW owned this and SAIC offered to buy it, but due to Ford Motor Company having first refusal on the sale of the name (as they owned the similarly named Land Rover), Ford were able to claim it for them-selves. When Ford sold the Land Rover brand to Tata, the Rover brand went with, Tata have no known plans to use the brand.So Roewe?
The name Roewe is, rather embarrassingly, pronounced in Chinese as 'rong-wei'. Apparently 'rong-wei' means glorious power, while the SAIC also claim the name is derived from Loewe, the German word for lion. The suggested, and easiest, English pronunciation is Row-ee.What's so important about them?
China is the worlds biggest car market, a car is sold there every 1.7 second, and SAIC is China’s biggest car maker. They have the means and the motive to make a Chinese car company that is truly successful globally, and with the MG brand, it looks as if they fully intend to do so.Where does MG come in?
Long story, which many of you reading will be aware. When MG-Rover went bust in 2005 most people expected SAIC would take the assets of the company, which included the MG brand. SAIC had been the last company in talks with MG-Rover for a joint venture, rather stupidly however the MG-Rover board signed away the rights to most of their car range before receiving anything significant from SAIC, clearly sensing desperation SAIC left the table. In the bidding for MG-R’s assets there was a surprise winner however, a smaller Chinese car company, NAC.
NAC are, or were as it is now, Nanjing Automotive, by comparison to SAIC (one of the biggest Chinese car makers), a small time effort building some not so modern cars, it was certainly a brave move on their part. As SAIC had the rights to the 25, RDX60 project (the not very developed 45 replacement project) & 75 already, NAC ended up with the rights to the same cars, with the addition of the TF, the MG brand and the Longbridge Factory in England.
Not surprisingly the two companies both chose to launch the most accomplished car of the MG-R portfolio first, the Rover 75/ZT, in the form of the Roewe 750 & MG7 respectively. This odd situation didn’t last too long, the Chinese government lent on the two companies to merge, or rather the more cash rich SAIC to buy out the smaller NAC. Once the deal was complete (costing SAIC £143bn) in 2008 SAIC had finally got all they had originally wanted, including that internationally known and respected MG brand.So tell us more about this SAIC?
SAIC is one of the biggest auto makers in China. The bulk of the companies trade comes from their work with GM and VW, selling Chevys, Buicks, VW’s & Skoda’s. Their business isn’t all joint ventures, they owned a controlling stake in Ssanyong, the MPV and SUV maker, and now have acquired a controlling share in Nanjing Auto as well. Aside from this, SAIC has a 20% share in another Chinese car maker, Cherry. As well as cars SAIC have companies making busses, construction vehicles, motorbikes, scooters, trucks & tractors. Hardly a lacking range then. SAIC have their fingers in other pies too, such as a Diesel engine company, a joint venture with GM to develop alternative fuel vehicles, and also a joint venture with GM to provide auto finance. SAIC ranked 402nd on the Fortune global 500 list and sold 1.69 million vehicles in 2007, not bad for a company that has so recently risen to prominence.When can I buy a Roewe?
Unless you can import one from, or live in China, it’s unlikely you will be able to. However, a car with the MG badge may be for sale near you. Firstly the MG 6, Roewe 550 and 750 (both wearing MG badges) are available in both Chile and Peru through the importer SKBerge. MG Motors UK is building, and overseeing the selling of MG’s in the UK, and eventually Europe (details seems sketchy on how the range will be sold in Europe).
– MGTF already been produced MG6 planned for 2011Rest of Europe
– SAIC intend to sign up ‘existing dealer network’ to sell MG’sSouth America
– SKBerge could well expand the sales of MG’s in South America, past the current Chile and PeruMiddle East
– It seems the Roewe range is on sale, as MG's in some Middle Eastern countries.
USA & Rest of the world – Limited plans did exist to bring the TF to the USA, however these have long since fallen through, as far as we know there are no plans as of yet to sell MG or Roewe in the rest of the world.
What is Ricardo?
Ricardo is a automotive development company, they test and develop new cars, the new Mini for example, and make specialist conversion for certain jobs that need specialist cars. SAIC recruited them to develop their new cars, and with them created a new subsidiary of Ricardo, Ricardo 2010. 2010’s function was to work entirely for SAIC, and in creating it they took on a lot of engineers that had been working at MG-Rover. In 2007 Ricardo 2010 was wholly purchased from Ricardo, and now makes up SAIC’s UK design centre.