Sales statistics for the Australian Market Rover 3500 SD1, 3500 SE & 3500 Vanden Plas are unfortunately unavailable, owing to the records being destroyed when the operations of Jaguar Rover Australia (JRA) were closed down. JRA was the successor to Leyland Australia & BMC Australia.
Advice from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust in September 2011 is that very limited information for the sales figures relating to the Australian Rover SD1 has survived. BMIHT have indicated that they have the factory build records, which state the specification of a particular vehicle, such as ‘right hand drive export’ but do not explicitly state to which export market a vehicle is destined for.
The following sales statistics have been established from information obtained in newspaper road tests:
• The Financial Review, in an article dated 8 November 1979 quotes Leyland Australia reporting sales of 944 Rover 3500 SD1 for the first six months of 1979; and
• A Sydney Morning Herald road test dated 7 August 1982 quotes a figure of “over 3,000 cars are now on the road” (Rover 3500 SD1 & 3500 SE).
Australian Motor Vehicle Census statistics published in September 1985 quote the following sales for the period 1982 -1985:
Allowing for a small number of sales of run-out stock in 1986 & 1987, we believe that the total Australian sales may be in the region of 8,000 cars, however we have been unable to satisfactorily reconcile this figure to any degree of accuracy.
Another area of research we are interested in is the number of 5-speed manual cars imported to Australia. A small number of 3500 SD1 cars (approximately September 1980-mid 1981) are known to have been imported, as outlined in contemporary Australian newspaper and magazine road tests. Approximately ten 3500 SE Fuel Injection “Series 1.5” cars (late 1981-mid 1982) are believed to have been imported. Anecdotal evidence from long ago conversations suggest that 1 in 10 3500 SE’s from 1982 through to 1985 were 5-speed manual cars. All Australian delivered Vanden Plas 3500 were delivered with automatic transmission.