LONDON — Nanjing Auto, the Chinese company that is reviving the MG TF roadster, plans to bring back the defunct Austin brand on a line of compact and midsize models.
According to Britain's Autocar
magazine, Nanjing plans to use Austin as its budget brand. So far, there are no immediate plans to relaunch the brand in North America. Nanjing also acquired the rights to the Morris and Wolseley brands when it bought the tooling from MG Rover in 2005.
A Nanjing executive was quoted on the MG-Rover.org Web site
as saying, "Austin is a fantastic brand with an enormous worldwide appeal. It has a very different heritage to MG, and this allows us to develop and market a very different range of vehicles. For this reason, I can definitely see the re-emergence of Austin in less than five years."
Nanjing, a former unit of the People's Liberation Army, has slated the world launch of the revised TF for late March. Body panels will be stamped in China, and European versions of the cars will be assembled from kits at the former U.K. MG Rover plant in Longbridge.
Lotus, which is owned by the Malaysian automaker Proton, is assisting with engineering work.
The last Austin-badged car was built and sold in Britain in 1989. Last year, Nanjing announced its plan to revive the Austin name but did not divulge details.
What this means to you:
Jolly good. But what's happening with the Healey badge?