Longbridge car plant back in action to make MG TF
August 01, 2008
Full-scale car production is due to restart today at one of the UK's most famous plants after a three-year closure.
Chinese company Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) will begin manufacturing two-seater MG TF sports cars at the former Rover plant at Longbridge in Birmingham.
A number of pre-production MGs have already been made at the West Midlands plant whose assembly lines were halted in April 2005 when MG Rover went into administration.
SAIC said in July that nearly half of the 700 MG TFs it hopes to produce by the end of the year had already been sold.
The company has 55 dealers across the UK and the first cars, which will cost about £16,400, should be with customers by next month.
There are about 165 workers in place at Longbridge and numbers are likely to be increased following a recruitment drive.
MG Rover was bought by Chinese company Nanjing Automobile Corporation, which has since been taken over by SAIC and is already planning other "exciting" new models.
About 6,000 jobs were lost in the closure of Longbridge which had opened in 1905 having been started by one of the great names of British motoring - Herbert Austin.
As well as making cars, Longbridge turned out munitions in the First World War and planes in the Second World War.
In 1959, production of the iconic Mini began at Longbridge by which time Austin had been amalgamated with Morris and become the British Motor Corporation. The company names then changed thick and fast, and included British Leyland, BL, Austin Rover, Rover and MG Rover.