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Amid growing public awareness of the need to conserve the environment, Rover Japan Ltd. will launch a nationwide program in April for recycling its cars, the Japanese subsidiary of the U.K. automaker said Thursday.Rover’s announcement follows a similar move by its affiliate BMW Japan Corp., which started a recycling program in Japan in January 1994. BMW and Rover are the only carmakers to come up with a recycling scheme in Japan, according to Rover Japan President Peter Woods. Although there is no legal requirement that automobiles must be recycled, Woods said it is important to provide customers with that choice.Under the program, Rover vehicle owners who wish to have their cars recycled go to dealers, who in turn will transfer them to Ibajihan Recycle Center Co. in Ibaraki Prefecture, to which Rover has consigned recycling operations.According to the company, about 70 percent of a car’s parts and components, such as body panels, tires, batteries and metal parts, are recyclable. The center will resell the parts through established distribution channels. Users, however, will be charged 100,000 yen per vehicle for the recycling service.In Europe, the Rover Group started a similar recycling program in May 1995 jointly with BMW, Renault and Fiat, in their respective markets. In Britain, about 51,000 vehicles have been recycled through this program since 1995, Rover said.

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