It may be owned by China’s Shanghai Automotive Industries Corporation, but MG Motor still has British blood running through it. The proof: The company is getting a new design studio at its factory here.
The new studio will serve the 200-strong design and engineering staff of the company for the MG and Roewe brands, both of which are owned by SAIC, China’s largest car producer. Roewe is the relabeled Rover, since Land Rover retained the rights to the Rover nameplate.
The studio will be the lead engineering center for SAIC’s own-brand products worldwide and for all MG and Roewe products. The team has already contributed substantially to the development of the Ford Focus-sized Roewe 550 and is creating an MG version of the same car.
Roewe already sits atop the J.D. Power China Sales Satisfaction Index, which has been in existence for 10 years. The brand scored 851 points out of 1,000, ahead of Audi (848), Dongfeng Peugeot (842), BMW (837), Mercedes (837) and Buick (835). The average score for all brands was 822 points.
The MG Motor engineering center is located on the site of the Longbridge, U.K. factory, which until recently was making the 14-year-old MG TF sports car. That model’s production has halted until next spring. The plant still has three assembly lines, all of them regularly maintained, leading to strong speculation that the company will restart mass production at the site, even if on a modest scale. However, these plans have yet to be confirmed.