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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rooting through my videos, I found this documentary series from 1996.

It's full of quotes.

Watching it now with its optimism that things will go well is a crying shame.

I well remembered Wolfgang Reitzle repeatedly tapping his watch on the way to Rover HQ, where a beaming woman had laid on a spread to make him feel at home with German Salami ("though it's probably called something else in Germany"), sliced white bread with the crusts cut off, neatly-arranged sausages on sticks and Colman's Bavarian Mustard (which doubtless came from Norfolk though this evidently didn't strike her). There was even a map of "Europe" on the wall "to make him feel at home".

He had no time to try any of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
WURST !


that's how it's called :)

did you mean to post the video or something? I don't see anything.
if only I could, but I don't know where you all live. ;)

I've got two A4 pages of quotes so far and thought I'd add them in bit by bit. That doesn't really work, does it?

Overall, it's clear that there are big cultural differences that are never really bridged. the Germans all speak English, but when the Brits go to Italy for the launch of the 200 bubble, they talkio louder-o and addio an "o" to every wordio. (true)

One bloke does speak German but sounds like the English Policeman!
 

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Loved the bit where they are talking about translating into Italian by adding "eo" to the end of everything - far more PC world today and they wouldn't risk getting away with it.
Well in my German GCSE oral exam, my memory went blank and I started to add 'en' to the end of various English words!
 

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Funny you should post this. I was looking through an old video tape a couple of months back and there was an advert for this program. "When Rover" (with a shot of a Rover grill) "met BMW" (with a shot of a BMW grill) "a match made in...birmingham" "tuesday at 9" or what ever.
 

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I have that on a tape somewhere too, must dig it out.

Didn't they have to design/build a bicycle as a team building exercise??
 

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i have the what car? road test report when Rover 75 beat BMW 3 - series 1999, i cant say i have seen any of these about for sale!
 

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I have that on a tape somewhere too, must dig it out.

Didn't they have to design/build a bicycle as a team building exercise??
Yea, it was the engineering apprentices who built the bikes. One of the most memorable moments of the series for me, that one. More specifically, the point at which a Rover lad was working with his German oppo when the BMW apprentice realised they needed another component to complete the part they were working on. "Vere is zis?" the German bloke asked. "Oh, I think there's one in the other workshop," the Brummie lad replied. "I'll get it in a minute". "No," said the German apprentice in clipped tones. "Ve vill get it now".

At that moment I began to worry for British engineering. Brunel, Cockerell, Issigonis, would they have waited to get it in a minute? Thankfully, also in that series was another golden moment to remind you what made this country great. Two senior managers were filmed going up to Wales for a nocturnal ride & drive exercise in the then-secret Freelander. During their test run the engine dropped a hose and lost all its coolant. At this point you suspect BMW or Mercedes execs would have got on the phone and barked at someone to send a helicopter. But these plucky Rover chaps, they spotted a steam nearby so they found a plastic bag and gathered natural mountain water to refill the cooling system sufficient to get them back to base. Now that's ingenuity.
 

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if only I could, but I don't know where you all live. ;)

I've got two A4 pages of quotes so far and thought I'd add them in bit by bit. That doesn't really work, does it?

Overall, it's clear that there are big cultural differences that are never really bridged. the Germans all speak English, but when the Brits go to Italy for the launch of the 200 bubble, they talkio louder-o and addio an "o" to every wordio. (true)

One bloke does speak German but sounds like the English Policeman!

Sorry Pat - your way off kilter.

The above is clearly not Italian.............it's Welsh!..........boy........o:bgrin2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have that on a tape somewhere too, must dig it out.

Didn't they have to design/build a bicycle as a team building exercise??
yes, and interestingly enough, the Rover apprentices were involved in the building of the bike to the extent that the Germans had a team meeting in German at the beginning of the day, then went straight to work.

There's a shot of a training session at the biggest factory, Dingolfing. Now I might say my German is "not bad" ;) but I couldn't understand what the trainer was saying, it was that technical. To blokes who don't understand what they mean if they say in German "I don't like watching TV"...

The Rover guys had no idea, either, of how the CAD software operated.

Clearly the language barrier was totally underestimated - if it was considered at all - by the Germans. The fact that the management considered themselves Bavarians rather than Germans would not have been understood by apprentices whose only experience of Germany was people doing right arm lifting exercises in films.

One very cultured personnel manager - Richard Gaul - ("Gaul" in German incidentally rhymes with "howl" and means "worthless horse")(!) said "They will buy as a souvenir lederhosen but they will never wear it at home. To put it another way, they will not come back as Bavarians but they will come back understanding Bavaria".

He cannot have seen that this was an absurdly high expectation when the apprentices had been taken for a meal but (as normal) got no dessert. When one woman complained, saying "What's 'Pudding' in German?", you clearly hear a German say "CUSTARD!" - the not widely-known approximate English translation of the German word "Pudding". These Germans are not linguists, they are car workers!

So the apprentices left with a clear understanding of a place with no dessert and hard-to-use systems. They probably could not point to Bavaria on a map (nor any other part of former Yugoslavia...) ;)

I do wonder what B*W's plan was for Rover. Slash and burn could have been carried out within one year. (with spin about quality etc.) It took them six. A real long-term plan, had they had one, would doubtless have involved kicking out the old management on day one and running the place from Milbertshofen HQ. They did neither...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry Pat - your way off kilter.

The above is clearly not Italian.............it's Welsh!..........boy........o:bgrin2:
I was listening to a Welsh play about DIY on the radio near Cardiff once and it went cymraegcymraegcymraeg bathroom cymraegcymraegcymraeg toilet or similar. I believe that's where Paul Whitehouse's idea of boutros boutros scorchio! originated on the Fast Show...
 

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I was listening to a Welsh play about DIY on the radio near Cardiff once and it went cymraegcymraegcymraeg bathroom cymraegcymraegcymraeg toilet or similar. I believe that's where Paul Whitehouse's idea of boutros boutros scorchio! originated on the Fast Show...
Yes, quite.

'Toilet' and 'bathroom' - two fine Welsh words hi-jacked by the English and adopted as their own, just like 'garage' and 'microwave'. .:tic:

:slap:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I was watching cartoons with a 6-year-old French son of a friend once. He watched the beginning of Hong Kong Phooey, saying it in French the whole way through! The English goes "Who is this masked super hero?" "...Is it Henry, the mild-mannered janitor?"

"Ça se pourrait!" the boy shouted as the only dog in the cartoon donned a tiny mask and said "Could be!"

At one point the boy heard the word "chewing gum". "Oh! you have French words in English too!" he said. In French.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Now then, what if I told you that one of those apprentices featured became a manager within Engineering!
would you be telling the truth? ;)

For the benefit of the tape / those members who've never seen this, one of the episodes features the process of recruiting new people to Rover. It's quite disheartening to see people being recruited to the 200 bubble production line in 1995/6 (?) and people talking about "jobs for life" or "the first ten years are the worst".

One quote is "the only thing stopping you becoming plant manager is yourself" which could never have been true...
 

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perhaps we should guess like Hong Kong Phooey then.

The ginger-haired bloke who liked his beer?

The woman who wanted her pudding?

Um, the other one who it really is?
Definately male. I have the video up in the loft but no longer own a VCR but I can remember quite a bit of the series. As a clue, the person in question talks to camera during the coach trip to Germany.

By the way, stating he became a manager is not attempt to mock him (he is a lot bigger than me!) or anyone else for that matter, but purely to give an example of how a young chap got stuck in to his particular role and was given an oppourtunity to manage a team, which from my view point he warranted and deserved. Just in case!
 
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