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.”

See also: CHINA: Nanjing ready to start UK MG output