Rover plans to increase sales to a million cars per year, Werner Saemann, Rover’s new chairman, said this week.
In an interview in a German motoring magazine, he said annual vehicle production could double from 498,000 in the long term.
Rover refused to confirm the target, but said any rise in sales would depend on increased exports. The company said it aims to sell at least 70% of the new Rover 75 outside the UK. `We have had a strategy for some years of reducing our dependence on the home market,’ a spokeswoman said.
However, whether the BMW subsidiary can reach this target depends on the success of three new models. The Rover 75 will be launched this month, to be followed by the new Mini later this year, and the R30 replacement for the 200/400 range in 2002.
Rover has seen its share of the domestic market fall to around 7% from some 10% last year.
* BMW shareholders were expected to put management on the rack this week over reduced profits caused by losses at the company’s UK Rover subsidiary. The fall in Rover sales cancelled out a 10% rise in BMW brand sales in the first quarter of 1999.