MG Rover has ruled out building a new small car for at least five years. The firm's chief stylist, Peter Stevens, exclusively revealed his idea of what a replacement for the Mini should look like on the website two weeks ago. The high-roofed, bulbous-looking city runner he penned was a world away from the version of the original cult car that BMW will sell in Britain from next summer. But despite Stevens' handiwork, MG Rover has told Auto Express there are no immediate plans to build a supermini to replace the Metro/100, which was finally scrapped two years ago. Rob Oldaker, director for product development, said: "It is not in our five-year plan. We would rather concentrate on doing niche versions of what we have." He added that small cars returned low profit margins despite high numbers being produced. He said MG Rover's target was to manufacturer only 200,000 cars a year – not to chase higher outputs. Another factor counting against MG Rover is the high number of competitors in this market sector. Audi's A2 and the quirky MCC Smart from Mercedes are the two most recent additions, but there are already quality offerings in the shape of the Ford Ka, new Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 206 and Renault Clio.
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