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Old 05-21-2008, 01:25 PM   #27
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SAIC to export Roewe 550 to Europe in early 2009.

May 21, 2008 - Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) displayed the Roewe 550 at the Beijing auto show last month and the world saw the first new Chinese car emerging from the remnants of MG Rover. SAIC will launch this car to the European market in early 2009. And another all-new model, Roewe 750, also jointly designed by its auto technical centers in Shanghai and Britain, is expected to go on sale in Europe later this year.

The Roewe 550 is a mid-sized car, developed from a model of the British car-maker. SAIC, the Roewe's maker, was involved in the project as part of a technical deal made before MG Rover failed. The 550 is based on the Rover 75, shortened, modified and restyled. SAIC owns the intellectual property of Rover and MG models and has already relaunched the old 75 as the Roewe 750, which is basically a stretched version of the Rover 75 with a revamped interior and new grille. SAIC have reportedly held talks with the German company, Karmann, in hopes of getting them on board to make the Roewe 550 for the European mainland.

While production of the MG Rover-based cars is forging ahead, SAIC will begin production of the MG TF LE500 roadster at MG Rover's old Longbridge plant in the UK in early August this year. In 2009, SAIC will launch its self-developed mid-sized sedans under the name MG6 to complete the MG portfolio.

SAIC is China's biggest car company. For some years it has made vehicles in joint ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen and is now beginning a series of own-brand models. The Roewe 550 is the first intended for export as well as the burgeoning domestic market.

Earlier this year, SAIC took over Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC), which had bought the MG Rover tooling and equipment as well as the MG name. The merger allowed SAIC to use the MG brand for export. SAIC and NAC have said their next target for expansion is Europe.

When it is launched in Europe in early 2009, the Roewe 550 is expected to sell for 12,000 to 20,000 euros.
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