NEWS: BMW axe falls on Rover retail

Rover Group’s marketing chief Tom Purves has shelved plans to market its cars through a chain of shops and is preparing for a major shift in strategy which will see its cars advertised as a uniquely British product.

Rover Group’s marketing chief Tom Purves has shelved plans to market its

cars through a chain of shops and is preparing for a major shift in

strategy which will see its cars advertised as a uniquely British


The BMW-owned company also rejected the possibility of reviving classic

brands, such as the Humber, seen by some industry analysts as Rover’s

only hope of adding a premium to its cars.

The decision to concentrate on Rover’s existing dealer network and focus

on the core Rover brand is the first result of an internal review of the

company’s sales and marketing strategy, carried out by Purves, who came

from BMW (GB), where he was managing director, three months ago.

Before he joined, Rover had planned to launch a chain of shops to market

the Mini, MG and Land Rover, but Purves, who took on the role of sales

and marketing director for the Rover Group, is expected to streamline

its global operations in line with BMW’s.

Purves will be joined by BMW’s top UK marketer, Martin Runnacles, in

October. Runnacles will head up Rover’s marketing operation in the UK.

Denis Chick, spokesman for Rover, said the company’s marketing will

change before the launch of its next range of cars, due to be unveiled

through 1997 and 1998. He said the cars will be radically different in

appearance and will distance Rover from BMW.

‘The next generation of cars, the RD1 project, will instil a major

change in Rover’s image. We are looking to link Rover much more with a

sense of Britishness, which is the image it possessed in the 1960s.‘What

we are looking at is taking an extra step with the shape of the car and

its interior.’ Rover is also expected to consider axing the Rover Metro.

Chick denied the company was set to review its pounds 40m advertising

account, currently divided between Ammirati Puris Lintas and Bates



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