In Parts 1, 2, and 3, we have seen how the once mighty domestic United Kingdom automotive industry that emerged from World War II was brought down by ill-conceived consolidation, internal battles within merged companies, labour strife and strikes, government “industrial policy” picking losers and emphasising exports over domestic sales, under-investment in new product design and manufacturing efficiency, and complacency in the face of market entry by competition from Japan and continental Europe. The final act began in 1988, when the then-government-owned Rover Group was sold to British Aerospace, which promised to turn its experience as a cost-plus defence contractor and fourth-tier airliner manufacturer to the mass market automotive industry. This ended when the remains were sold to BMW in 1994, which continued to pour money into the hole until selling the wreckage for £10 in 2000 to the so-called “Phoenix Consortium”, which renamed it the “MG Rover Group”. Their grand plans collapsed in 2005, with pieces landing in China. A total of 6000 jobs were directly lost in the liquidation, with total job losses including suppliers estimated on the order of 30,000.
When they pulled out of the US, the Rover Sterling was closed out for more than 30% off MSRP and far less than the price of its sibling Acura Legend. I thought about getting one because a 5-door was available, unlike with the Legend. But British electrical, fluid, and body components made it likely the car would be difficult to service.
In Part 5, do we get to see VW buy Rolls-Royce without getting the trademarks?
At 16:50 in the video, they mention BMW getting the Rolls-Royce marque in 1998, but they do not mention the intrigue of VW buying the company but not receiving the trademark. The article from 1998 you linked ends,
Rolls-Royce PLC had favored a sale to BMW, which is its partner in an unrelated jet engine venture.
It sounds like that deal went through to VW’s detriment. The deal to transfer the Rolls-Royce name would have gone through while Rover was nominally British, avoiding the appearance of a foreign transfer at the time.
VW got the Crewe factory, the Bentley name and other IP and only the RR grille design.
They had to do a deal with BMW allowing VW to phase out RR production at the cost of giving the grille design rights to BMW.
In the end, the only thing of value VW got was the Bentley name. The factory and tooling were worthless.
VW and RR had to design new Bentley and RR vehicles to replace the ancient British tech.