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Austin Rover

Volume 113: debated on Monday 30 March 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what instructions have been given since 1983 to the management of Austin Rover to reveal the production costs of its models to the Ford Motor Company; to what extent the information revealed included the production costs of the Metro; what was the classification status of this information; what promises Ford gave on the use of this information; and what monitoring was carried out by his Department to ensure that Ford kept these promises.

In December 1985 Ford and the Rover Group board agreed to open exploratory talks about a possible merger of Ford and Austin Rover, and to exchange information about the two businesses on a reciprocal basis under a commercial confidentiality agreement. My Department was kept informed in broad terms of progress in these talks but the terms of the confidentiality agreement, its implementation, and the information exchanged under it, were a matter for the commercial parties. These exploratory talks were brought to an end in February 1986.