Pre-production vehicles on the Longbridge assembly line
The first new MG to be built since the company’s takeover by a Chinese conglomerate rolled off the production line at Longbridge on Tuesday.
The Birmingham factory, now owned by the Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation (NAC), will build around 700 TF sportscars this year for the UK market, with production being increased to 3,500 in 2008 to cater for European sales. There are currently 106 British staff and 26 Chinese employees at the site – the spiritual home of MG.
The cars are assembled on site but only the body panels are manufactured in the UK – all other parts are shipped in from China. Longbridge will also serve other roles for NAC, housing an R&D centre, a sales and marketing base for the UK and Europe, and other back office functions such as HR, purchasing and logistics operations.
Yu Jian Wei, chief executive officer of NAC, said: “We realised from the outset that retaining a manufacturing link with the UK is of fundamental importance.
“Longbridge will play a leading role in our European operation.”