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Discussion Starter #1
Reuters, The Associated Press

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2006



LONDON Nanjing Automobile of China, which trumped a bid by Shanghai Automotive last year to buy MG Rover out of bankruptcy, signed a 33- year lease Wednesday for the factory site of the former British carmaker and said it would begin producing sports cars at the plant next year.
The future of the Longbridge factory in central England had been in doubt since it was closed in April with the loss of 5,000 to 6,000 jobs when MG Rover, the last major British car manufacturer, declared bankruptcy.
Nanjing surprised the automobile industry when it paid £53 million, or $92 million, to buy MG Rover, which had debts of £1.4 billion, in July. It is one of several Chinese carmakers, including Geely Automobile Holdings and Chery Automotive, that are taking steps to follow Toyota Motor of Japan and Hyundai Motor of South Korea in becoming global brands.
Nanjing said it planned to employ up to 1,000 workers and begin production of the MGTF sports car next year.
The deal signed Wednesday was better than unions and local lawmakers had hoped for. The owner of the site, St. Modwen Properties, had suggested last week that Nanjing would only sign another six-month, short-term lease while it considered whether to restart production.
However, the lease, with rent pegged at around £1.8 million a year, does incorporate a six-month break clause in case Nanjing is unable to confirm a viable long-term future for the site.
"We move forward according to our original plan," Wang Hongbiao, the Nanjing chairman, said through an interpreter at a news conference. "Next year we will produce a sports car here. After that, we will produce a car which will make profits."
But Richard Burden, a lawmaker with the ruling Labour Party who represents the Birmingham area, sounded a note of caution.
"My welcome is tempered by realism, first of all about what is being proposed," Burden said. "This is not mass car production at Longbridge."
Dave Osborne, a spokesman for the Transport and General Workers' Union, said that union officials were told that Nanjing plans to produce 100,000 vehicles each year.
Unions had been unhappy when Nanjing won the bid for Rover because it appeared to offer worse prospects for resuming full-scale production at Longbridge than rival offers.



http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/22/business/rover.php
 

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Longbridge cars on sale in 2007

The UK chairman of the firm that bought Rover's Longbridge plant has said that Nanjing Auto is about to restart car-making in Birmingham.


The BBC has learned that cars could go on sale from July 2007 and Chinese firm Nanjing has said it is keen to re-employ ex-Longbridge workers.
Two production lines remain intact, including the MGTF sports car line.
Some Midland firms have been approached to make parts for Nanjing and more orders are expected.
Speaking through an interpreter, Nanjing's UK chairman Wang Hongbiao told the BBC: "We are going to resume production of MGTF here.
"Maybe in the near future... we will launch some new models to the market."
Nanjing announced in February that it had renewed its lease on the Longbridge plant for a further 33 years and wanted to resume car production. It also has a get-out clause allowing it to walk away.
200 initial jobs
The firm has previously said it could employ 1,000 people. It later changed that number to 600.
On Tuesday, Nanjing said there would be 200 jobs in the first year of production.
The company said the more cars it sells the more jobs it will create. A recruitment drive to find the initial workforce will take place at the end of this year.
Nanjing's acquisition of MG Rover only included the rights to use the MG brand. The Rover brand is still owned by Rover Group's former parent BMW. MG Rover went bust in 2005, at a cost of about 6,000 jobs, and was then bought by Nanjing for £50m ($86m).
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/4877608.stm
 

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This is very exciting. I predict that if Nanjing nurture the business carefully then ultimately they will one day need to make a lot of cars in Europe (due to tarrif restrictions etc). Longbridge is one of the most famous plants in the world and can perform that function well, but only if it has the support of a strong business like the one Nanjing is trying to build in China. Everyone can be happy!
 

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"What, producing old models that public never wanted in the first place?"

Thought I'd get it in before a certain other member! Hehe!

Excellent news, old chap! Good to see things moving, or ready to start at least!
 

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Interesting to read some of the text on 28DL too. One of the guerilla-photographers noted engines on testbeds in the "Flight Shed" with notes dated that day. Evidence that that NAC-MG are using Longbridge to develop the G/N-series engines, in addition to preparing for TF and 7Z production.
 

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Talk to us, NAC tells MG enthusiasts

Days after announcing that production of the historic MG marque was to recommence at Longbridge, Nanjing Automotive Corporation (NAC) is inviting fans to speak with representatives of the manufacturer in a specially-arranged web discussion.
The one-hour discussion will start at 11AM on Thursday 8th February 2007 on mg-rover.org – with MG enthusiasts invited to submit questions to Sales and Franchising Director Stephen Cox in the United Kingdom and Quality Director Paul Stowe in China.
Topics up for debate include the construction status of NAC plants in the United Kingdom and China; partnerships; product validation, reliability and durability information; and NAC’s timetable for 2007.
Paul says: “From the outset, NAC has recognised the positive and pivotal role that enthusiasts have played in the development of the MG brand, ever since Cecil Kimber’s very first car left the factory in 1924.
"Today, NAC not only recognises the historical importance and significance of MG enthusiasts, but is keen to build upon established links with MG enthusiasts worldwide. Stephen and I very much look forward to re-engaging via webchat, with fellow enthusiasts who share our commitment and passion for MG.”
Paul’s Longbridge based colleague Stephen Cox, says: “With only a few months to go until car assembly recommences at Longbridge and the opening of our new production facilities in China, there’s never been a better time to be an MG enthusiast.
Paul and I are excited about getting together with our fellow enthusiasts online, answering their questions and of course,
 

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1st Chinese MG TF made on Longbridge production line this week

08 Feb 07 usedcars.netcars.co.uk
The first 'Chinese' MG TF rolled off the revived Longbridge production line last week - and straight into a row
Union leaders at Amicus accused new owner Nanjing of giving the roadster a 'kit car' assembly at the revived Midlands plant.

The row came after the Chinese firm admitted that only 250 workers would be based at the factory. That's compared to the 6,000 staff once employed by MG Rover. Nanjing had also initially said the plant would be used for "final assembly" of all right-hand-drive road***sters. Pro***duc***tion, however, would largely take place at the firm's all-new plant in Pukou in China. But a spokesman for the firm has now told us: "The TF will be constructed, welded and painted at Longbridge, and even the body will be made with British steel. It's only the facia that is being built overseas, so fans shouldn't be disappointed." A network of up to 90 dealers is expected to sell the new TF in the UK. Nanjing hopes to shift 89,000 MG models across Europe by 2009, once the final line-up is in place. Meanwhile, a scan of Nanjing's online catalogue at www.nacmg.com reveals this futuristic MG design, which gives a hint of the look of the firm's new range.
 

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UK: NAC trumpets return of MG assembly at Longbridge

UK: NAC trumpets return of MG assembly at Longbridge
29 May 2007 | Source: just-auto.com editorial team


MG TF will be assembled at Longbridge

view image

After the cessation of MG Rover production at Longbridge (in the English West Midlands) in 2005, Nanjing Auto (NAC) - the company that acquired MG Rover assets from the administrators - is trumpeting the return of low volume vehicle assembly at the site.

At a ceremony taking place today, media and VIP contingents from both the UK and China will witness the return of MG 'production' (the assembly of kits imported from the production base in China) to the Longbridge factory, the long-time home of this historic marque.

Guest of honour will be Mr Liang Buo Hua, Governor of the Jiangsu Province in China where NAC MG is based and Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council.

Earlier today, Solicitor General Mike O'Brien, MP visited Longbridge, and personally handed over a letter of support from Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, on behalf of the British Government. Mr O'Brien met senior officials from NAC in the UK and China, as well as Mr Liang Buo Hua.

Some 6,000 people worked at the site when it was owned by MG Rover and it is expected that some 200 jobs at Longbridge will be created through the new investment. Nanjing is staying tight lipped on MG TF volumes.

In the UK, NAC says it has been 'hard at work at the Longbridge plant'. The production lines have been modified to allow the recommencement of manufacturing and the company says that a highly experienced management, engineering and production team is now in place, ready to re-launch MG into the marketplace later this year, initially with the TF sports car.

Production of the cars in China began in Nanjing at the end of March.

NAC also says it fully understands that they need to keep the originality and Britishness of the brand and the UK is the only place where NAC can absorb the essence of British culture and transfer it into MG products.

The role of Longbridge will be as follows:

R&D centre for MG
Engineering & testing of MG models
HR recruiting for China and Longbridge
A purchasing and logistics centre for China and Longbridge
Manufacturing base for the UK and European markets
Sales & marketing base for the UK and Europe
"We realised from the outset of this project that retaining a manufacturing link with the UK is of fundamental importance," says Yu Jian Wei, CEO of NAC. "Longbridge will play a leading role in our European operation and the plant is now in a position to commence TF production for the UK market. This is a very exciting time for MG and it's an important boost to the economy of the Midlands manufacturing region."

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: "Longbridge is part of the fabric of Birmingham's heritage and we are delighted that MG's will roll off the production line once again. "We have worked in close collaboration with NAC to bring about today's announcement. Two years ago, many people thought this day would never come. But as we celebrate a new era for Longbridge, I am delighted that NAC MG will breathe new life into this famous marque.

"This clearly shows Birmingham making the most of international investment, and I am proud of the part the City Council has played to bring it about."
 

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No dealer details.
No model details.
No pricing details.
No warranty details.
No official launch date.
No advertising.
And probably no customers.

F A R C E.
 
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