On this day in auto history - October 6th

Wed 6th Oct 2021

It was on this day in 1999 that struggling British carmaker Rover - then owned by BMW - launched its two new 'mass-market’ models, the Rover 25 and the Rover 45’ simultaneously at a glitzy ceremony during the London Motor Show.

The 25 was basically a modernised version the moderately successful Rover 200 but, crucially, the aim was to reposition it from being a middle-order family hatch to somewhere near the top of the supermini class by making it more appealing to younger buyers.

Similarly, the 45 was basically a modernised version of the outdated Rover 400 model, which would now be repriced and repositioned to compete with the small family cars such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, rather than roomier hatchbacks such as the Mondeo and Vectra.

Though both new models were reasonably well-received initially - particularly the 25 which was briefly Britain’s best-selling car for a month in April 2000 - neither vehicle was ever able to achieve their market aims and both limped along until production ceased when MG Rover went into administration in 2005.