In the months following the formation of MG Rover in May 2000, many changes were quickly put in place that affected the make-up of the product range. Rover"s range was split in two, and the immediate marketing focus was shifted away from the existing brand in an attempt to establish MG as a dynamic brand that younger people would find little difficulty relating to.
So throughout 2000 and 2001, MG received the majority of the limelight, while Rover continued on its merry way, looking a little neglected. However, that all changed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2002, when they unveiled their radical TCV (Tourer Concept Vehicle).
Penned by Peter Stevens" team at Longbridge, the TCV marked a new direction for Rover styling. Gone were the "retro" styling cues, and in was a sharp and contemporary look... the grille moved away from the "Auntie" shape as developed in later years on the 600 and 75 – and towards an entirely new interpretation of the theme. The five-door model was designed with a verstile interior, which Rover were at great pains to demonstrate: the boot was opened at the "reveal" to show a washing machine, which was stood upright! I am not sure what they were trying to say about anticipated buyers, but it was a very potent way of demonstrating a well-shaped boot!
The official line was this car was form the basis of the Rover 45 replacement, and in the end it became very obvious that the look being chased for RDX60 was one derived from the TCV. Given the excellence of Rover 75"s chassis, which the RDX60 was be based upon, and the originality of the styling, there was real confidence within Rover that the RDX60 could have been a hit...
That was until the delays took hold.
Any resemblance between the TCV, RDX60 and the R30 final prototype was unintentional. A senior stylist who worked on the R30 relates it this way: "When I saw TCV, I did make some visual comparisons between it and the R30, but that was probably more to do with "style fashion" similarities than anything else. The TCV was developed entirely by MG Rover after the split. Although they were not directly involved with R30, many of the people who subsequently joined MG Rover were previously working in the Gaydon studio where R30 was initially developed."