24 August 2012

The Rover 200: 1984-89

This is one of four articles about the Rover 200/25 model.

The Rover Group was formed out the mess that BL had become. It needed to get its act together and quickly if it was to survive. It started collaborating with Honda, which was very successful for both parties but especially Rover. Rover had done well with the first attempt the Triumph Acclaim, a rebadged Honda Ballade. They then replaced that car with the Rover 200 (SD3) in 1984, based on the new Ballade. It came in 4-door configuration only, with either a 1300 or 1600cc engine. Initially production was modest, but it improved as the car’s quality became recognised. Production figures as below:

1984 26,300
1985 65,800
1986 62,500
1987 76,300
1988 92,200
1989 86,800 (97,000)

1989 full year in brackets, including next model. You can see the increase through its production cycle. Usually a new model peaks early, then falls away until it is replaced. The 200 sales grew as buyers gained confidence in it, such was the damage BL had done to the company. Could the next version of the car continue the momentum?

PS. Some sales figures by country. Limited but hard to find. They are the UK, France, Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

Year Britain Franc Spain Ger Ned
1984 ? 1,600 ? ? ?
1985 43,700 2,800 1,150 250 550
1986 45,200 5,250 ? 950 900
1987 50,300 6,200 ? 1,000 850
1988 58,900 5,750 ? 900 650
1989 68,300 6,400 5,000 ? 750

You can see heavy reliance on the UK for the Rover 200, with solid if unspectacular sales in Europe. Any more sales data anyone can add, please let me know. Thank you.

PPS. Excellent data can be seen in the outstanding website aronline:


  1. I remember we had two Rover 200s when I was a kid. A 216S and then we upgraded to a second-hand top of the line Vitesse. I remember squabbling with my brother in the back as we took long drives into France on our summer holiday. Great memories of a car I was proud to sit in (especialy the Vitesse). Later on Dad moved to the second-gen 200 which was an even better car. Pity Rover cocked up the 3rd-gen 200 so badly. Essentially that decision destroyed the company...

    Chris G

  2. Thanks for that insight, Chris. You know more about the cars than I do. The series one didn't make it to NZ, but I think the series two did. With a limited dealer network, not a large seller down here. The series three did sell quite well though, with BMW dealers getting involved for a short while I believe.