BMW may propose Rover plant closure


German car-maker BMW could propose closing its UK Rover group's Longbridge plant, near Birmingham, rather than sell-off the unit, an industry source said last night.

The Munich-based car maker's management board will present its supervisory board with up to four possible solutions to deal with the group's growing disenchantment with its losses at Rover, the industry source said.

The complete sale of Rover or the closure of Longbridge, which would result in 9,000 job losses at the plant, were the most hard-hitting of the measures BMW's management board will put forward at tomorrow's supervisory board meeting, the source added.

The source did not elaborate on what the other proposals could entail.

Closing the Rover Longbridge plant would result in 9,000 direct job losses and could jeopardise tens of thousands of other jobs among supplier industries in the West Midlands.

The closure of Longbridge or the sale of Rover would come at a crucial time for the British government, which has sought approval for a £152 million sterling (#248 million) subsidy for the car plant as part as a BMW investment package agreed last year.