• Feb 2, 2007
Ford pulled a shrewd move back in September when it exercised an option to purchase the rights to the Rover brand name from BMW, which meant that Chinese automaker SAIC couldn't use the brand name to sell the ex-Rover cars it had just won the rights to build. Hence, the Roewe brand was born and the 750E was unveiled soon after.
AutoExpress is now reporting that SAIC is readying a salve right back at Ford in the form of a Focus fighter for the European market. The small family hatch will come in both three- and five-door models, and it's being developed locally in the U.K. by Ricardo 2010, an engineering firm bought by SAIC that just happens to employ a number of ex-Rover employees. 2010 was also responsible for reengineering the Roewe 750, which will go on sale in Europe later this year. The small car is being developed using the RDX60 chassis, a still-born platform that didn't get the chance to see the light of day before Rover went bankrupt.

We find it amusing SAIC is developing a car to take on the Focus considering Ford threw a major wrench in their works by buying the rights to the Rover name at the last minute. The Rover name will likely never be commercially used by Ford, which wasn't keen on the idea of Chinese-built passenger vehicles being confused with its high-end, off-road Land Rovers.

[Source: AutoExpress]

Related posts:
Rover vs. Rover in Chinese cage match!
SAIC launching new brand without Rover name
Surprise! Ford buys Rover name from BMW
Official pics of Roewe's new ride: the 750E


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well, I'm sure that being able to use the Rover name would have helped their name-recognition scores, but probably would've hurt the company in the long run. There was a reason Rover went under, after all... they were making boring cars no one wanted. I'd question the decision to go back into the Rover gene pool to get the engineers who'd designed the cars that killed the original company to somehow build the new one.
      far jr
      • 7 Years Ago
      Danny, did you go read the article? That car is quite sharp looking! Ford will have it's hands full competing with this car.
      Ford did make a good business move by buying the Rover name. That will set this Chinese company back a year or two due to the loss of brand recognition, but look out later on!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mazda, how many times have I told you not to have a chrysler grille! Go to your room!!

      http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/images/front_picture_library_UK/dir_425/car_photo_212591_5.jpg
      • 7 Years Ago
      A salve? A medical ointment?

      Can't autoblog employ high school graduates?
      • 7 Years Ago
      What, you think they're making the car just to annoy Ford? Funny view of the world. They're a car maker, they build cars in the hope people will buy them so they make a profit. It's the nature of the beast that if you want to sell a hatchback in Europe you'll be in competition with the Focus. And the Golf, the Astra, A3, 307, Megane, C4, Punto, 147, Leon...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nice game of corporate chess going on there!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm not sure why SAIC is readying a SALVE, perhaps their feelings are hurt? But talk about stretching to come up with a conspiracy theory. Rover had 3 car models in production when they went "bust". 2 of them were based on early '90s Hondas so it makes sense that SAIC wouldn't want to try to crack the world market with designs that are behind the curve and had poor reps when they were new.

      As far as building a "Focus-fighter".... Let's see, you are a nearly new car manufacturer and you are entering a market were you need to sell in huge volumes (no sense throwing money away on a niche model), so wouldn't you come up with a car that sells in a large segment of the market? Yeah, I realize most other emerging manufacturers would start at the very bottom of the market with "A" sized cars like a Ford Fiesta-sized car, or smaller car. SAIC didn't want to throw out what they thought was a perfectly good design. That's it....NO CONSPIRACY, JUST COINCIDENCE.