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Friday, 5 May, 2000, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
The right formula?
rover cars
There are many more Rover cars waiting to be sold
By the BBC's Martin Shankleman

Is Rover turning the corner or are the sales figures for April just a false dawn?

The company claims last month sales - the best April figures for 10 years - are "phenomenal".

Overall registrations more than doubled, and the Rover 25 was the best selling car in the UK.

John Parkinson, Managing Director of Rover U.K. said he was grateful for the "support and loyalty expressed, in convincing fashion, by the British public to Rover."

However, some commentators are more sceptical about the sales jump, believing customers are merely sniffing out cheap deals from a company in distress.

"It's a bargain basement, fire-sale syndrome", says Jay Nagley of Spyder Automotive.

He feels buyers may have been influenced by reports of thousands of unsold saloons parked on airfields.

"People are following the Rover story, know they're in trouble and believe they can get a good price," he said.

"It's not the case that people have a different view of Rover and feel that everything in the garden is now lovely."

Sales boom

Within the motor industry, dealers believe the sales jump underlines the case for lower car prices.

In April, Rover Cars slashed the price of model by up to 2,000, equal to a 10% cut on the list price.

Alan Pulham, of the National Franchise Dealers Association, reckons Rover may have found a formula that sells.

"Its products are still the same products, the name is the same, the dealers are the same, the only things that changed is the price".

He is now urging Rover and other car companies to adopt permanently lower prices.

A new money back promotion has been launched by Rover covering May, with a reduced cash back offer of up to 1,500.

Rover will hope to maintain the sales boom, but many in the industry remain to be convinced that the surge is nothing more than a short term effect which will prove difficult to sustain.

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See also:

05 May 00 | Business
Rover celebrates sales boost
02 May 00 | Business
Phoenix optimism on Rover talks
28 Apr 00 | Business
Can Phoenix turn Rover around?
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