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The BBC's Stephen Evans
"Backlash is growing"
 real 28k

Saturday, 25 March, 2000, 02:12 GMT
BMW backlash grows

One in three BMW owners may now boycott BMW
The backlash against German car manufacturer, BMW, is growing, a survey suggests.

Six out of ten people in the UK are now less likely to buy a car from the German firm, it found.

The survey is one of the first tests of public opinion since BMW agreed to sell its loss-making Rover subsidiary to Alchemy Partners, a UK venture capital firm.

One in three BMW owners are now less likely to buy a BMW, the survey suggested.

Almost half of those surveyed said their opinion of BMW had deteriorated because of the controversy over the sale.

Consumer power

The findings are the first evidence of a "major public backlash", the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU), which commissioned the survey, said.

"BMW's reputation has been dented by the damage they have caused in the Midlands, and it will take some time to recover," AEEU general secretary Ken Jackson said.

"This increases the pressure on BMW to pump extra resources into the region," he said.

The survey follows earlier calls from trade unionists to boycott Rover.

The head of the Transport and General Workers Union, Bill Morris earlier called on the public to vote with their wallets and buy Rover cars rather than BMW.

"It seems to me that BMW has left Britain, and if British people leave BMW they will be making their own genuine choice in respect of that," he said.

Many of those surveyed thought that BMW should have informed the government and trade unions of their plans.

The research was carried out on Wednesday, almost one week after BMW announced it was selling Rover.

ICM interviewed 750 people for the survey.

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See also:

19 Mar 00 | Business
Drivers urged to buy British
24 Mar 00 | Business
Rover dealers want answers
19 Mar 00 | Business
Inquiry into Rover sale
18 Mar 00 | Business
BMW faces Rover payout call
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