The first made-in-China MG cars are rolling off the production lines at the Nanjing Automobile Group’s newly built factory. State-owned Nanjing bought the assets of bankrupt MG Rover in 2005. At the launch, the company said they are changing the name but not the initials – MG now stands for ‘Modern Gentleman.’ The cars will cost from 17,000 to 39,000 euros each.
The company’s general manager Zhang Xin plans to export them: “I hope to sell as many as possible overseas. Especially as the brand isn’t well known in China. So we have to build brand awareness here. But in Europe, especially in Britain, everyone knows MG. It is a 100-year-old brand, which is a valuable asset for us.”
Going on sale in Europe will be cars made in the Chinese factory and at the former MG Rover plant at Longbridge, near Birmingham in central England which Nanjing Auto plans to restart in May. The company is also in talks to build MGs at a facility in Oklahoma in the United States. But for the moment the majority will be assembled at the East China plant which has the capacity to produce 200,000 cars annually. Nanjing believes it could break even on the MG project in about one year.