BIRMINGHAM, Britain, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The Nanjing Automobile Corporation
(NAC) held a grand ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the restart of production of MG
TF sports cars in England's central city of Birmingham.
After a button was pressed by Liang Baohua, Governor of China's eastern
province of Jiangsu and Mike Whitby, Birmingham City Councilor, MG TF sports
cars rolled off the assembly line in NAC's Longbridge manufacturing plant in
British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott sent a congratulatory letter to
In his speech, Yu Jianwei, CEO of NAC, described the event as "the next
crucial stage in NAC MG's ambitious development strategy."
"We realized from the outset of this project that retaining a manufacturing
link with the UK is of fundamental importance," he said.
"Longbridge will play a leading role in our European operation and the
plant is now a position to commence TF production for the UK market," he added.
Whitby said "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," he said.
"Longbridge is part of the fabric of Birmingham's heritage and we are
delighted that MG TF sports cars rolled off the production line once again," he
In 2005, NAC outbid China's biggest automaker, Shanghai Automotive
Industrial Corp., to acquire the bankrupt British carmaker MG Rover Group and
its engine producer, Power Train Ltd.
With that deal, NAC gained a higher status in the automotive industry, and
support from the Chinese government, the Jiangsu provincial government and the
Nanjing municipal government.
NAC's stated mission is to "revive, maintain and develop MG" for the
benefit of both Chinese and global consumers, and it plans to produce and sell
MG cars in the UK as well as in China.
In March, NAC announced it had developed two manufacturing bases, one in
Nanjing and the other in Longbridge.
NAC promised to start production of 13,000 MG7 cars in 2007, with the model
of a five-seat sedan based on a successful but older Rover 75 design.
It also plans 7,000 MG TF convertible sports cars, with a model of two
seats and a mid-car engine. By the end of 2011, Nanjing hopes to assemble 85,000
MG 7 and 25,000 MG TF cars a year.
NAC, founded as a military garage 60 years ago, produced China's first
light-duty truck in 1958 and became a joint venture partner with Italian
carmaker Fiat in 1999.