MG Rover is resuming production at its Longbridge, England, factory on Monday following a shutdown to reduce dealer inventory. The company stopped its three lines at the plant on the outskirts of Birmingham on November 25, losing production of about 1,500 vehicles, Automotive News Europe said.

Cars made at the plant include the Rover 25, 45 and 75, 75 Touring, MG ZF, ZR, ZS, ZT and ZT-T models. MG Rover spokeswoman Suzanne Bartch called the move a normal adjustment in dealers' stocks to meet customer demand.

MG Rover sales have slumped in the last month in a tough car market.

November was tough all around for the British car maker, the last independently owned UK manufacturer.

MG Rover has been struggling to mend relations with labour unions following the disclosure of a £12.9 million (€18.9 million) trust fund set up for the four directors of Phoenix Venture Holdings, which owns MG Rover. The company has promised to allow the two unions, Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union, to inspect its books.

Bartch said the four directors had not had a retirement fund for them established since they bought the company from BMW for £10 in May 2000. But the episode has turned into a public relations problem.

"At worst, MG Rover's directors have mishandled the corporate governance of their business," reportedly wrote Financial Times columnist Jonathan Guthrie, who owns a Rover 75. "At best they have bungled their public relations."