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Old 05-31-2007, 12:50 PM   #21
AGR
 
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From Automtive News

Nanjing reopens Longbridge amid overblown rhetoric and vague promises
Automotive News Europe Correspondent Tony Lewin files special report from the opening ceremony

Tony Lewin
Automotive News Europe
May 30, 2007 - 6:13 am




Two years after it closed following the collapse of MG Rover, the historic Longbridge car-assembly plant in Birmingham, England formally reopened May 29 under its new owners, Nanjing Automobile of China.

There was no doubt that it was an intensely symbolic moment - but no one could be precisely sure what it symbolized.

Banners were draped all round the Longbridge works, which in its heyday was the hub of the UK automotive industry as well as one of the biggest car plants in the world. The banners proclaimed "MG - a new journey," yet the destination and even the distance of that journey are still shrouded in uncertainty.

Even the cavalcade of 20 classic MG sport cars and the release of thousands of balloons along with cannons spraying fountains of confetti had a hollow ring to them. Behind the few frontline buildings hastily spruced up by Nanjing Automobile lay the vast industrial wasteland that once built more than 360,000 cars a year. Much of Longbridge has now been sold off to provide space for fitness centers, a bowling alley, cinema and hotels.

Nanjing is expected, at best, to make 15,000 MG TF sports cars a year here, and even then the bulk of components are shipped from China. Just 130 employees - out of 6,000 when MG Rover collapsed in 2005 - will be tasked with assembling them.
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Old 05-31-2007, 01:49 PM   #22
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A sliver of hope is still better than nothing. Longbridge should be glad at the very least, there's some hope. Even if Nanjing has the capabilities of Toyota, it'll still take some time.

The only way Longbridge will eventually get back to the glory days is for MG to quickly become wildly popular, not just in UK, but all over Europe and US. Then Longbridge can build the cars to meet the demand of those markets.
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Old 05-31-2007, 01:59 PM   #23
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The sporty 2 seater looks great - how does it stack up to the likes of a Mazda Miata (MX-5)?

Anyone got the full specs on this car? L x W x H, engine size, weight, fuel economy, 0-60, RWD or FWD or AWD, price, etc. etc. I'd appreciate it!!!
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:26 PM   #24
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Specs for the new version are not yet available but you can take a look at this slightly broken copy of the 2005 website for the old specs: http://www.mgroverdealer.com/mg_GB_en/static/mg_tf.html

The engines will be new improved EU4 specification ones which I am expecting to produce a little more power, although the 160 engine will probably not be available to start with.

Whats it like? Its one of those cars where the people who like them love them and the people who don't like them claim they are rubbish!
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:43 PM   #25
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Thanks!!!!

If they can get the quality and price right, they should be able to give the Miata a run for the money!
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:02 PM   #26
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In the UK it consistantly outsold the Miata at the original price so with a lower price should have no problems doing so again.

The Miata has been updated but it still doesn't look as good to me and looks are very important for that sort of car.
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Old 06-01-2007, 11:05 AM   #27
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That's good!

Though what I had in mind is the US market, where the Miata rein supreme (with no competitors). And yes, the new Miata is hella ugly...

I surely hope MG come to the US soon! I had a 99 Miata for a while and really enjoyed it, hope I can get my hands on a TF in the future!
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Old 06-03-2007, 02:53 AM   #28
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Paul Stowe at http://paulstowemg.blogspot.com/

Friday, 1 June 2007
Longbridge Re-opens for Business
So the big day has come and gone, my BLOGS up to now have been generally mild mannered and tempered to reflect a conservative approach to ‘reporting’. I never intended my BLOG to be hard-hitting, or even critical – but unfortunately my temper has been stretched after watching Tuesday’s reports by the media.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not naive enough to have expected a rose tinted view on the opening of Longbridge – however I had hoped for an open minded approach to something that none of us ever believed we would see happen only 2 years ago.
Let me start by putting things into perspective.
Mid April 2005 will forever be etched on the hearts and minds of 1000’s of employee’s, suppliers, family’s and anyone associated with the Longbridge plant. It became clear during the days and weeks that followed, that there wouldn’t be any white knight in Shining Armour, no government rescue, not even a commitment from the preferred savior from China.
We watched as negotiation after negotiation, hope after hope disappeared into the distance, all we could do was observe, as our lives were ripped apart, livelihoods eradicated, dreams destroyed and futures left in doubt. The government poured millions into re-training and investigating what had caused such a disaster. The gates were locked and the plant mothballed, any future for the site looked bleak – former workers were told to move on, find new employment and leave the past behind.
Then a little known Chinese automotive company called Nanjing Automotive Corporation, managed to outbid a number of rivals to purchase the brand, the assets and the legacy that was MG and Longbridge. I wonder if they knew what they had exactly purchased? How deep the feelings for MG and Longbridge went, how significant the closure of Longbridge was to so many people, and just how well respected the MG brand was across the world. They made – some would say – ‘rash’ decisions and announced a commitment to keep Longbridge at the heart of MG’s future.

So a long journey started, a journey that meant an enormous investment by NAC in both time and money, immense challenges faced the company. With no production facility in China, no workforce, no suppliers, no infrastructure, no modern systems and no dealer network – NAC rose to the challenge and systematically achieved every goal that was set before them. One of those goals was the re-opening of Longbridge for production; May 29th 2007 was the internally issued date for this enormous challenge, and as with all of the official claims made by this company, that day saw a magnificent celebration to celebrate an achievement that few of us believed we would ever see again.
So why I am so angry you may ask? Well having spent the whole day answering questions by the British media, it became very apparent from the first discussion with journalists at 6.20am that the tone would be negative. I conducted over 25 interviews, and almost everyone followed the same script: Why weren’t we employing 1000’s of ex-mg-rover employee’s? Why aren’t we releasing new vehicle platforms? Why haven’t we already enlisted dozens of dealers? And why do we believe we can make a success of MG, when BMW, and P4 failed miserably?
There was no mention of those dreadful days in 2005, no mention of the investment made into the brand’s future, not even a whisper of the massive achievements made by NAC. All the broadcast media would do, was convey a pessimistic view on the whole proceedings. Maybe its because I have been out of the country for a while, and I have been used to a press association that try’s to reward great achievements and success, a system that promotes employment and regeneration, and actively encourages investment by ‘foreign’ companies.
I discussed this situation with various journalists, and tried to explain that without NAC we would could have been cutting the ribbon to yet another Lego land housing estate, or opening a trading estate providing consumers with more electronic gadgetry they didn’t know they needed. I tried to convey the fact that this was merely the beginning, and our plans extended far into the distance. Let NAC be judged over 5 to 10 years, not just a few months. Yes we have started conservatively, but I would rather be involved with a slow burning revolution, rather than a flash in the pan. We have all seen those who arrived spouted great things and systematically worn the company and its employee’s down to the ground, started large and brash and ended just as quickly.
Criticizing a company for employing local people, providing local investment and declaring a positive outlook for manufacturing at the heart of the British motoring industry doesn’t quite seem a balanced view – but then again maybe I’m biased?I truly believe that this is the re-birth of MG, not only in China – but also in the UK, and who knows maybe across the world. Good Luck Longbridge and NAC UK, but most of all good luck MG.


Posted by Paul Stowe
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:56 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik (laofan), cmvdc
Paul Stowe at http://paulstowemg.blogspot.com/

So why I am so angry you may ask? Well having spent the whole day answering questions by the British media, it became very apparent from the first discussion with journalists at 6.20am that the tone would be negative. I conducted over 25 interviews, and almost everyone followed the same script: Why weren’t we employing 1000’s of ex-mg-rover employee’s? Why aren’t we releasing new vehicle platforms? Why haven’t we already enlisted dozens of dealers? And why do we believe we can make a success of MG, when BMW, and P4 failed miserably?
Posted by Paul Stowe
But NAC called a press conference on that day - for what exactly? Not a lot it would seem, except to show off three MG TFs in new colours - and, ,er, that's it.

There is no denying that NAC have done well in building their MG plant in China, in such a short time, but their proposed UK operation looks less convincing.
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:09 PM   #30
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The UK operation should be fine just making the TF. After all Lotus survive with the Elise, and how old is that? NAC do need to think about a replacement soon though.
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