2003 Rover CityRover

ROVER CityRover

A small ROVER from India

2003 - 2005

The CityRover - based on the TATA Indica from India - is to round off the program at the bottom end. Despite all the difficulties, the small car has a small fan base.

CityRover Logo

CityRover logo and lettering on the brochure and on the front of the car

CityRover Logo

Two points of view are of great importance when considering the 'CityRover'. Firstly, one urgently needed a successor for the series ROVER 'Metro/100', which the clientele still mourned since he went out of production in 1997. And secondly, there was no money available for the new development of a successor.

One looked all over the world for a cooperation partner who could close the painful gap. One came with different manufacturers in contact, under it also with Fiat. The decision was made in 2002 for 'Tata' in India, who had launched an appealing small car with their 'Indica', which had been driving on the roads since 1998 (version 1 with many shortcomings) and 2001 (improved, successful version 2) respectively. MG ROVER's design team redesigned front and rear bumpers, designed a new grille and laid hands on the interior. The vehicle was lowered two centimeters. The bodywork, designed by I.DE.A in Italy, was satisfactory in view of the competition of the time. Five doors, a long wheelbase and the comparatively high height promised a spacious small car, ideal for the city and the surrounding area. As far as the engine was concerned, the decision was made in favor of a 1.4-liter engine from Peugeot/Citroen, in order to be reasonably on the safe side in terms of CO2 emissions.

The car was to be manufactured entirely by 'Tata' following the agreement between 'Phoenix' and 'Tata'. A production facility was set up in Pune near Mumbai for this purpose. Production was to start in September 2003. At that time MG ROVER expected 40 to 60,000 vehicles per year. It is rumored that the first vehicles delivered were of less than stellar quality. Possibly a reason why no pre-series vehicles were made available to the press for testing.

Meanwhile, ROVER dealers were urgently waiting for the model that had long been verbally announced to them. With the existing vehicles they could not generate larger sales figures. For the new "volume model" they had been promised a sales price of £4995. Disappointment was not long in coming. In November 2003, the 'CityRover' - now it had this name after long deliberations - was presented. For the basic model, £6,445 was called, for the top model £8,495. On top of that, there was no advertising or promotion of any kind for the car. And at these prices, the competition was quite different than it would have been at the advertised price.

What was the reason for the dilemma? The contract was concluded between 'Tata' and 'Phoenix'. In the British press there is talk of an ex-works price of £900 to £1600 for 'Phoenix'. MG ROVER had to buy the car - here the sources are not completely in agreement - for £3000 to £4500 from 'Phoenix'. And the marketing boss of MG ROVER, Kevin Howe, gave the dealers the before mentioned selling prices. On the occasion of a dealer meeting, he commented, "Anyone who can't sell the CityRover at those prices is an asshole."

The irony of the whole story: MG ROVER specified numerous changes to the CityRover for 2005, so that a "Mark II" was announced for mid-2005. The insolvency on April 8, 2005 intervened. But the dealer 'Motorpoint' was able to buy 900 "Mark II". He offered them at prices between £3999 and £5000 - and they went "like hot cakes". And, if reader letters are to be trusted, buyers of these models were very satisfied.

In 2005, the CityRover was also to be delivered to continental Europe, including Germany. As is known, nothing more came of it. The "Mark II" with the improved Ausstettung, higher manufacturing quality and the nachgpflegten driving characteristics perhaps a chance had - provided that the price would have been right. After all, Dacia had also entered the market for inexpensive vehicles, and successfully so.

Sales Figures of the CityRover
All Versions2003200420052006
Total: 9.2184876.1501.636945

Broschüre 2004 Brochure "CityRover"
Publication Number 6197

The Tata Group is a conglomerate of 98 companies that employs a total of 660,000 people and is represented in 85 countries.
The beginnings go back to the year 1870. Continuously grew the conglomerate, which today includes steel companies, power generators, telecommunications companies, pharmaceutical companies, software houses, hotels, tourism companies and all related services. Tata Motors' also includes Land Rover and Jaguar.

© 2021-2024 by ROVER - Passion / Michael-Peter Börsig