MG Rover has issued its shareholder’s report for 2003, showing a loss of £77million.

Although this is an improvement on the £95million lost in 2002, sales continue to decline, with only 25,959 MGs and 37,640 Rovers sold this year so far, down 14 percent and 23 percent respectively on the same period in 2003.

Kevin Howe, Group Chief Executive of MG Rover’s parent company Phoenix Venture Holdings, said: “In an increasingly challenging environment for the automotive industry, we have reduced the Group’s losses for the fourth consecutive year to a level that is now less than 10 percent of that in 1999, the last full year before we acquired the business from BMW. Our focus is now firmly on the future. We continue to invest in the development of the MG and Rover brands and to review our cost base as we work towards the planned collaboration with SAIC, announced in June 2004.”

Deputy Chairman Peter Beale also said that he hoped the company would break even in the third or fourth quarter of next year.  The company has high hopes for its joint venture with Chinese firm Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).  Beale continued: “this gives us a life-belt – the ability to introduce new models.  We can produce cars again to take on the world.”