Sterling was a brand name of automobile marketed in the USA by ARCONA along with Sterling parts, under the name Sterling Motor Cars, a division of the Rover car company of the UK. It existed in North America from 1987 to 1992. Sterling parts and vehicles can be viewed as one of the most miserable failures in the auto industry. Though, the brand received a lot of complements and recognition during its introduction, it did not last eventually or in short, they are obsolete nowadays. Poor body designs and poor Sterling parts product quality resulted to the marques downfall and eventually Rover completely pulled out of the American market.
Sales in America were initially strong, due to the appeal of classic 'British' Sterling parts' interior design, combined with a clean and up to date exterior design, both of which compared well with its sister the Legend. On this basis, US sales hit a high of nearly 15,000 cars in 1988. All models came with extensive, real wood interior trim. The SL models also featured ABS, power Connolly leather seats, and two-tone paint as standard Sterling parts equipment.
While dynamic characteristics and performance were broadly similar to the Acura Legend, due to the shared platform, core structure and power units; detail spring and damper changes gave each model its own unique feel. The Sterling parts and vehicles were the sportier cars, with less float and an overall tighter feel than the Acura Legends. The ride/handling compromise was defined through the shared use of Honda's double wishbone front suspension that allowed a very low hood line, but offered limited wheel travel. This meant that on poorer road surfaces, the traction needed to deliver power through the front wheels was not always available.
The only Sterling model that was sold was the 800 series, which was essentially a re-badged Rover 800-series but with different Sterling part specifications tailored to suit American market. At first, Sterling parts and the saloon body styled 825 saloon was sold. In 1988, the hatchback was added alongside the saloon, coinciding with the introduction of a new, larger, Honda engine combined with Sterling parts and was called the 827. By 1989, the Sterling part instrumentation had been changed to gauges sourced from a different component builder and build quality had started to improve year for year. However these changes were too late to prevent the US market version of the Sterling and Sterling parts from later being withdrawn after poor sales. Combined with the effects of the strong British currency, Rover was losing money, and recovering lost ground with the face lifted car and its coupe sister was not deemed possible, and so Rover withdrew Sterling parts manufacturing and the Sterling brand from the North American market.
Despite Sterling’s abrupt exit from the United States, Sterling vehicles and parts can still seen on the American roads, and remain in service. This is unlike most "orphan" vehicles; however this is probably due to the relatively recent arrival of Sterling parts and cars. Sterling parts are quite abundant; many parts are still readily available for the Sterling.
After the withdrawal from the US Market, the Rover 800 remained popular in Europe, especially following the major R17 face lift and was kept in production until 1998 when it was replaced by the Rover 75.