Chinese-owned MG Motor U.K., the British sports-car marque, is to halt production of its TF sports car for six months, not resuming until March next year. Sales of the low-volume sports car, the only vehicle now built at the once-massive Longbridge factory in England, have been slow through the year. The midengine two-seat TF sports car started life as the MGF in 1995 and was Britain’s best-selling sports car for years. It’s now sold in limited numbers in the U.K. Just 265 were sold in the first nine months of this year, although September was the revived brand’s best month yet, with 65 TFs finding buyers. The company also has orders for all 50 copies of a new 85th-anniversary limited edition. According to newly appointed sales and marketing director Guy Jones, the small-sports-car market is down 30 percent this year […]
Jones will take responsibility for UK sales, marketing, PR and aftersales, as well as the development of the MG brand. He has previously worked as brand manager at Bentley and marketing director at Kia UK. ‘MG is a much loved iconic British brand that now has SAIC as a proud new owner, capable of developing the brand on a global basis,’ said Jones. ‘SAIC are already playing a leading role in China, now the world’s largest car market, and have ambitious global plans for the MG brand.’ MG is now owned by Chinese firm SAIC, and re-commenced production at Birmingham’s Longbridge plant last year. It launched its first advertising since the 2005 break-up of MG Rover last autumn, focusing on its TF LE500 model.
Seen from Longbridge, MG Rover’s former base, the business’s industrial legacy five years on looks decidedly threadbare. In one portion of the cavernous and almost deserted plant – once one of Europe’s largest – China’s Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, owner of the rump MG brand, began making its TF two-seater sports car last year in small numbers for the UK and Ireland, using Chinese and European parts. The company will not comment on production volumes, but acknowledges they are modest. “It’s not MG Rover numbers – it’s a single model we’re producing,” says Peter Brooking, marketing manager for MG Motor UK. Most MG cars are now made in China. In 2006, a year after buying rights to the brand from MG Rover’s liquidators, Nanjing Automobile Corporation moved an entire production line from Birmingham halfway across the world in 4,900 shipping […]
The launch of a new variant model by any car company is relatively common – but the first glimpse of the Longbridge-built MGTF 135 deserves closer scrutiny. This is not just any variant, this is the first standard car – as opposed to a limited edition two-seater – that the famous old Birmingham factory has produced since its closure with the loss of 6,500 jobs back in April 2005. The owners of Longbridge, SAIC/Nanjing, have often lived up to the Chinese reputation for inscrutability in the intervening four years, with a number of false dawns and missed deadlines for model launches. But since Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation took over Nanjing Automobile 16 months ago, Longbridge would appear to have a more secure future, with deeper pockets and a much more significant resource base.
This MG 6 liftback could herald the return of MG to North America, according to officials from Chinese parent company SAIC. Badged MG 6, the new four-door was the undisputed star of the Shanghai motor show. The MG 6 has been conceived to breathe new life back into the MG brand following its purchase by SAIC. The Chinese automaker also owns the former Rover, known as Roewe, which it bought from the Nanjing Automobile Group in 2007. Although billed as a concept, the MG 6 closely resembles the car SAIC plans to put into production later this year based on the same basic underpinnings the Roewe 550, itself built around a modified version of the Rover 75 platform originally engineered by BMW.
Last week at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) revealed the MG division’s newest MG concept—the MG6. The MG6 concept is based on the Roewe 550 four-door sedan, which is said to use a modified version of the Rover 75’s front wheel drive platform from some years back. Of course this means the MG6 is set to come equipped with the K-series like 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. The twist—the MG6 will be available with a 160 hp turbocharged 1.8-liter for those looking for a little more punch than 130 hp that will come with the base motor. All of this is wrapped in a Ford Mondeo-esque like body and is slated to arrive as a production car in the Chinese market for 2010
The second phase of the MG facility, located in Pukou, Nanjing, has started construction after Chinese auto giant SAIC invested 2.566 billion yuan ($376.24 million), Beijing Youth said today. Construction of the facility, which is to develop an all-new A-class car platform and the matched small engines, will be completed in 2009, according to Gao Yunhang, assistant general manager of MG sales company. When its construction is completed, the project will get an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and 250,000 engines, said Gao. The small engines are all turbocharged engines ranging from 1.3L to 1.5L, Gao said. The A-class car platform will build both MG5 and Roewe 350 models and will also develop MPV, hatchback and sedan models later, a source said. The MG6 is actually the hatchback model of Roewe 550, not just a common hatchback, the source disclosed. […]
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 sales of MG-branded cars has been badly hurt by the personnel changes at Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corp. Statistics show that MG’s monthly sales volume during the first five months of this year was not more than 400, compared with a monthly sales of about 800 units from September to December 2007. It is the frequent personnel changes Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (Group) (SAIC) launched in senior management of Nanjing Automobile that leads to the poor sales of MG, pointed out industry experts. SAIC, parent of Shanghai-traded SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. (SHSE: 600104), inked a contract to acquire Nanjing Automobile from Yuejin Motor (Group) Corp. at the end of December 2007. After the deal, SAIC launched a series of personnel changes on the senior management team of Nanjing Automobile. It appointed Huang Keji, a top executive with Shanghai GM Dong […]
Fans of the MG were flocking to a Black Country Rover dealer this past weekend as it became the first garage in the western world to take delivery of the new model. Summit Garage has the car for sale following the return of its production to the Longbridge plant in Birmingham. A total of 75 cars have rolled off the production line destined for a number of garages around the UK and further afield. Enthusiasts can choose from bright orange, red and black models today, priced at £16,399. Boss of Summit Garage in Himley Road, Lower Gornal, has been inundated with calls from drivers keen to take a test drive in one of three MGs which left the factory. John Newey was hopeful of clinching a sale on the first day. “We have got a lot of people coming out […]
The first run of MG cars have left Birmingham’s Longbridge factory for the first time in more than three years. The cars, which departed the plant shortly after 11am on Thursday, will go on sale from September 20. Chinese owner SAIC/Nanjing began producing the sports car model, the TF LE500, at the factory last month. The Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC) bought the assets of the collapsed MG Rover organisation in 2005. Approximately 6,000 workers lost their jobs at Longbridge when the huge car plant closed in April that year. The return of car production to the plant has been heralded as a boost to business in the region.
The Midlands automotive sector has received a second major shot in the arm with the news that MG owner Shanghai Automotive has told UK dealers it expects to produce 600 of the new TF LE500 models between the start of production in August and the end of the year. That came as the new boss of Jaguar told Birmingham executives yesterday that the company is staging a fight back against its rivals. He spoke out just 24 hours after Jaguar Land Rover revealed plans to launch a recruitment drive to find up to 600 new employees, less than a month after a £1.15 billion takeover by Tata Motors of India was completed. SAIC’s UK dealers says first of the new sports cars are expected to be in UK showrooms in September and price details are expected to be released in […]
A new car from a British motoring legend will be available to car loans customers later this year, it has been announced. According to consumer watchdog Which?, MG will relaunch itself under its new Chinese owner in September with a sporty new car that the company is calling the TF LE500. It is reported that the vehicle will be produced at the company’s Birmingham plant Longbridge and according to MG’s director of sales and marketing, Gary Hagen, will be reminiscent of the firm’s past glories. “The open top sports car is an iconic image of British motoring and forms the basis of the MG marque’s long pedigree,” he said, adding that the TF LE500 would be “at the heart of the brand as we take it forward”. Last month the Times reported that Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, the group now […]
The last car to be manufactured at Longbridge may have already rolled off the production line, industry insiders fear. They said the decision by main supplier Stadco to stop manufacturing body-shells for the MG TF sports car, as The Birmingham Post revealed on Saturday, could effectively sound the “death knell” for the Nanjing project. One influential source said he doubted whether Nanjing parent SAIC would ever produce cars from Longbridge.
Concerns over the quality of the cars being built by Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) at the Birmingham-based Longbridge factory have caused further delays. The MG TF is due to be the first model launched by the Chinese firm in the UK and production began back in May 2007, but it was stopped not long after. Since then, NAC (the Chinese firm that bought the MG brand following the collapse of MG Rover) has been bought out by rival Shanghai Automotive and the delays have been further extended. NAC originally claimed that it would have the MG TF on sale in early 2007 and provide more than 1000 jobs. So far, the car’s launch is more than a year overdue and only 140 jobs have been created. President of SAIC, Chen Hong, claimed that “if we launch the product on the UK […]
From today’s “Financial Times Limited” come another story about the hopeful return of MG to the market. China’s Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) hopes to begin producing the MG TF roadster in Nanjing in May and at its plant in Longbridge, UK, within three months of that date, a senior executive said yesterday. But SAIC admitted the car’s long-awaited relaunch could be delayed again as it grapples with quality issues and rebuilds tooling bought in 2005 from bankrupt MG Rover and shipped to China by Nanjing Automobile (NAC), with which SAIC merged in December. “We want to begin production of cars at Longbridge as soon as possible, but the first priority for us is the quality of the product,” Chen Hong, SAIC’s president, told the Financial Times yesterday. “If we launch the product on the UK market and don’t have sufficient quality […]
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (Group) (SAIC) is scheduled to launch SW, a model in MG 3 Series, after the Chinese Spring Festival in February. The model will be the first new product the Chinese auto giant releases after marrying Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corp. It indicates that the MG brand will grow rapidly since the marriage began. SW has been in the spotlight after it debut at the Guangzhou auto show in November 2007. “We will bring out 1.4- and 1.8-liter products shortly after this Spring Festival,” a MG executive showed great confidence. MG 3 Series, priced between CNY 80,000 and CNY 120,000, will be a major force in the MG family, related people disclosed at the show. The SW is predicted to reach the ceiling of the brand’s price range and compete head-to-head with medium- and high-grade small-sized two-compartment products […]