A new MG saloon has been launched, the first all-new product to wear the famous octagonal badge since MG Rover collapsed into administration in 2005. But for now, the MG 550 has only been introduced in the Chilean market. Behind the MG badge this is a Roewe 550, a car developed by Shanghai Automotive and based on a heavily modified Rover 75 platform. It has an all-new interior and is powered by an updated version of the familiar Rover K-series engine in 1.8-litre turbo form. The MG branding has come about as a result of last year’s merger between SAIC and fellow Chinese manufacturer Nanjing, which acquired rights to the MG brand. One of the reasons Chinese authorities encouraged the two car makers to join up was because SAIC lacked a globally recognised brand for exports – something confirmed by […]
London Taxis are as British as bowler hats and Big Ben. But the latest models coming off a new assembly line in China are unlikely to ever touch an English road. At a sprawling factory in the lush green suburbs of Shanghai, young Chinese workers are gearing up for full-scale production of one of Britain’s most iconic vehicles. It’s part of an alliance that awants to give the distinctive black cab a greater presence outside its namesake city. London Taxi International, which will continue to build nine out of 10 cabs used in Britain at a factory in Coventry, England, couldn’t increase production at its small-scale, high-cost plant. So it turned to a partner — and to China — as a way to drive overseas expansion. “To say the writing was on the wall would be pushing it a bit […]
Plans to create a new town with up to 2,000 homes on the former MG Rover site at Longbridge could be delayed for years because of the slump in land and property prices, a developer warned. The derelict car factory, which ground to a halt after the collapse of the famous marque in 2005, is set for a £750 million transformation which will create 10,000 jobs and mix modern houses with parkland. Initial plans projected it would take at least 15 years to complete the biggest regeneration scheme ever seen in the West Midlands, meaning it could be complete as soon as 2023. But at a public inquiry into the plans yesterday, Jason Tait of landowners St Modwen said progress could be slower. “There might be some growth in the market in the next 18 months or two years but […]
The Telegraph is reporting that more than 100 people have applied to buy the One-77, the most expensive road car in the world, even though only 77 will be made. The 200mph car was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this week, and Aston Martin said that the growing financial gloom had not hit sales. “The interest is incredible,” chief designer Marek Reichmann told The Sun newspaper. Aston Martin has been reluctant to release details about the One-77, but it is known to have a 7.0 litre V12 engine, carbon fibre chassis, and aluminium body. “One-77 fuses advanced technology with stunning Aston Martin design to create possibly the world’s most desirable automotive art form,” the Warwickshire-based carmaker said. It will “deliver exhilarating performance for a strictly limited number of discerning customers”, the according to the firm.
On Sunday 12 October, an estimated 10,000 spectators packed the streets of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire to support Lola Cars landmark 50th Anniversary parade of racing cars. The impressive display of 16 cars represented the marque’s most iconic models from the past half century through to Lola’s all-new 2008 designs. Some of Lola’s most successful drivers were reunited with the winning line-up of cars supporting Lola’s Golden celebration. The Lola legends included John Surtees OBE, Richard Attwood, Hugh Dibley, Teddy Pilette, Chris Craft, Mike Blanchet, James Weaver, Julian Bailey, Anthony Reid and Peter Ashdown. Current racers included Le Mans Series driver Mike Newton, Malaysian A1 Grand Prix driver Fairuz Fauzy and Danny Watts. At midday and in brilliant autumn sunshine, Councillor Saeed Akthar, the Mayor of Huntingdon, waved the Union Jack to officially start the parade from Lola’s state-of-the-art headquarters in […]
It scorches from 0-60mph in less than four seconds, its batteries can be charged in ten minutes and you can imagine James Bond sitting behind the wheel. But will the über-stylish electric Lightning car ever make money? Earlier this year, entrepreneur Iain Sanderson unveiled the Lightning Car at the British International Motor Show. The 48-year-old Sanderson is a marketer, not a motorhead. He made his bucks through marketing agency Dynamo, which he set up in 1990 and sold a decade later for £20m. Rather than opting for retirement, Sanderson set up London-based Contact Group, which has six different marketing agencies under its wing and pulls in sales of £12m. So what on earth made this millionaire marketing guru develop a battery-powered sports car? Two years ago, Sanderson bumped into his old friend Arthur Wolstenholme, long-time maker of the Ronart series […]
The Birmingham Mail is reporting that Longbridge is back up and running with a vengeance with plans to more than double the MG UK workforce at the car factory within 12 months. The Chinese owners of the famous Birmingham car plant aim to beat the financial downturn with proposals to hire more production, paintshop, sales and marketing staff and others during 2009. And discussions are under way over the transfer of around 250 designers and engineers currently based at the Shanghai Motor Technical Centre in Leamington – a wholly-owned subsidiary of SAIC/Nanjing – to Longbridge. The recruitment plans would more than double the current workforce of around 200 based at Longbridge, at a time when motor industry jobs are under severe threat from the worst UK sales slump for over 40 years. Meanwhile, the standard version of the two-seater MGTF […]
The prototype MG X-Power SV-S WRC (William Riley Convertible) you see here is the very first and only example of the supercar. The drop top is the British maker’s second new model since the marque was bought by former racing driver William Riley from the ashes of the MG Rover collapse. Hand built at MG X-Power’s production and development centre in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, first cars will be completed by January before production is moved to a new facility in the West Midlands early next year. Customer deliveries are expected to begin in summer 2009. The SV-S is powered by a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, while the Kevlar bodywork means the convertible gains only 12kg in weight compared to the coupé. A manual cloth hood dispenses with the need for heavy mechanical moving parts, too. Every car will also come with […]
Normally I don’t cover any non-UK automotive news, but this one is such a potential game changer that I had to mention it. The New York Times is reporting that Chrysler and GM are in preliminary merger talks. As the article says, “A merger would be a historic event, with two of the most iconic names in American industry coming together to survive in an increasingly difficult environment. Both have roots dating back decades in Detroit and, with Ford, long dominated the auto industry — until Japanese and other foreign car makers began making inroads into the American market.” Amazing times we live in. Oh, and on another front, I dreamed last night that MG started producing a minivan and a Hummer-like SUV. Please, say it ain’t so. I need to stop eating spicy food before bedtime.