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Old 04-22-2008, 11:37 AM   #36
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Default Good news for MG-Rover fans in the United Kingdom

SAIC: Lonbridge, UK factory to be online in Q2 2008.

China’s biggest automaker, plans to re-open a Longbridge, U.K. car plant in the second half of the year, resuming production at a factory that closed three years ago when MG Rover Group Ltd. collapsed.

The factory will initially make MG-TF roadsters. It may add other models later, Vice Chairman said today in an interview at an event to mark the opening of a Beijing research center. He didn’t say how many cars the plant would make a year.

SAIC Motor, Great Wall Motor Co. and other Chinese carmakers plan to open factories overseas as rising domestic competition crimps profit margins. The Longbridge plant, in central England, employed 6,000 workers when production was halted in April 2005.

MG’s customer loyalty will continue to support sales in Europe,” said a Shanghai-based director at CSM Asia, which advises automakers.

Europe is SAIC Motor’s most important overseas market, although China is the company’s first priority because of the strong demand here.”

The MG Owners’ Club is the largest in the world serving a single marque, according to its Web site. Trial production at the Longbridge plant began in May.

Nanjing Automobile Group Corp., which bought the MG brand for $97 million in 2005, also planned to open a plant in Oklahoma. This project is now being reviewed after SAIC Motor agreed to buy Nanjing Auto’s auto-making assets last year.

It’s hard to say if we’ll continue that plan before the assessment is completed,” said Chen.

source: China car Times
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