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Most coveted family car?

The question

If Volkswagon could make Skodas desirable cars, why hasn't BMW been able to do the same with Rover? And which is the most coveted family car of the moment, anyway?

Has Volkswagon made Skoda desirable? As for Rover, I don't believe I know anyone who aspires to own one (or anyone who admits to it).

They have never found their niche - neither a family car nor a prestige brand, normally only driven by people who are offered a Rover and only a Rover as a company car.

I think Ford have got the family market covered with their various models.

Yvonne Costello, 28, engineer, London

Rover is still badly tarnished with the image of union militancy from the 1970s when the old jokes about workers at Longbridge signing the visitors' books did the rounds and the cars that were produced are unreliable. Mud sticks.

Rob Andrew, 34, chief engineer, Cornwall

Volkswagon invested at all levels in Skoda after purchase, for example in plant, competitive and appealing new car design, dealer networks etc. Did not BMW just install a couple of bigwigs while allowing Rover to continue to operate as a 'Mom & Pop Shop' in an industrial museum?

The most desirable family car these days I think is Saab. The reason - safety, safety and safety (plus a fair degree of quality). BUT, all at a price!

Chris Johnson, 45, senior structural engineer, Cheltenham

The common theory, conspiracy or not, is that BMW never intended to make the Rover desirable, only wanting the money-making sides of the business and always intending for much of Rover to fall by the wayside.

I believe the relative strength of the pound to the Euro has not helped Rover and, with the huge price differences between here and mainland Europe (even Eire), the sales never had a chance abroad.

Even so, the car most coveted by my family, anyway, would probably be a people carrier, like the Renault Megane Scenic, or similar.

Paul Kelly, 30, site engineer, Manchester

Skodas were becoming more desirable before the VW takeover, on the basis of value for money. I have been eyeing the basic Felicia Estate for years, but the ground clearance is poor, and they have kept on 'tarting it up' too much, especially the diesel version.

No comment on Rover except to say it should probably have stuck with Honda instead of selling out to BMW.

Incidentally, my first car, in Brunei, almost 40 years ago, was a Hillman Husky, made in Coventry at what is now the Peugeot plant. That lasted ten years.

Eric Gray, 60, land reclamation engineer, West Midlands

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