Chinese-owned MG cars gears up for European launch programme

China’s biggest carmaker SAIC is to relaunch the British MG brand it bought after its collapse in 2005 with the MG6, an all-new competitor in the Ford Focus hatchback sector of the market.

When MG owner Rover collapsed SAIC agreed to maintain a design and engineering presence at the company’s vast Longbridge site near Birmingham with the cars being assembled from kits in China for the Chinese market.

But now it is to start shipping kits for the new MG6 back to Longbridge to be assembled for the European market.

The MG6, which will sell for between £15,000 and £19,000 is believed to be the first of the series of new MG models aimed at Europe and other countries outside China.

The Focus sector is the most competitive in the car market and Ford has made Focus the cornerstone of its plans to build a global car.

But the return to manufacturing in Longbridge, if successful, will be welcome news for UK manufacturing and the coalition government which will be able to point to at least one small example of economic resurgence.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.