C5 – Rover

This chapter presents a case study of the Rover car company from 1968 until its demise in 2005. The chapter argues that the attempt to build a UK national champion to rival Ford and General Motors through the merger of smaller (and in some cases rival) firms created an enterprise whose scale and complexity was beyond the capabilities of its management system. Changes in the market, shortfalls in key capabilities and an inability to renegotiate settlements with key stakeholders led to a cycle of decline that successive changes of ownership failed to arrest until the company, by then a shadow of its former self, went under in 2005. However, parts of Rover live on under alternative ownership, for example the Mini brand (under BMW) and Jaguar-Landrover, owned by Tata, and we discuss the implications of this for corporate ‘death’.

Figure 5.5 Production of Rovers, Land Rovers and Minis in the UK, 1970-2013


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