MG owner Nanjing Automotive is in exclusive negotiations with Room 521, an agency set up by Cogent chairman Bill Husselby, to handle the marque's relaunch in the UK. The appointment brings to an end a pitch involving McCann Erickson, Castner & Partners and former MG Rover agency St Luke's.
Room 521 has been created solely for the purpose of handling the MG business and will be housed at Nanjing Automotive's Longbridge base. The intention is to have the agency work alongside Nanjing's marketers.
The pitch was overseen by MG marketing director Gary Hagan, who joined the company from the US division of Lotus in March. MG will relaunch later this year.
In January Nanjing revealed ambitious sales plans for MG, setting a target of 89,000 cars a year across Europe by 2009 (Marketing, 31 January). This compares with just under 30,000 at the end of 2004 before MG Rover fell into receivership. It plans to sell 7000 cars this year.
Nanjing will begin its charge with the launch of the MG TF, a reworking of a 2002 model. A lower-priced, medium-range car will be the first original MG model to be launched by the new owners when it debuts next year. In February, Nanjing sales and franchising manager Stephen Cox said the company intended to reduce prices. The MG TF, for example, will be sold for less than MG Rover would have charged had it still been operating.
Nanjing purchased the marque from administrators in 2005.