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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Headquarters Longbridge, England
Key people William Morris (founder)
John Towers (CEO)
Parent Nanjing Automotive
MG is a British sports car manufacturer founded in 1924. On January 2007 the Longbridge plant resumed the production of MGs under new owners Nanjing Automobile Group, since MG Rover went bankrupt in the spring of 2005.
MG got its name from "Morris Garages", a dealer of Morris cars in Oxford which began producing its own customized versions to the designs of Cecil Kimber who had joined the company as its Sales Manager in 1921 and was promoted to General Manager in 1922. Kimber remained as General Manager until 1941 when he fell out with Lord Nuffield over procuring wartime work. Kimber died in 1945 in a freak railway accident. In 1952, with the BMC merger, long-time service manager John Thornley took over as GM, guiding the company through its best years until his retirement in 1969.
MG is best known for two-seat open sports cars, but MG also produced saloons and coup�s. More recently, the brand has also been used to designate sportier versions of other models belonging to the parent company.
"MG" might stand for something new under its new Chinese owners. Nanjing boss Zhang Xin said: "We want Chinese consumers to know this brand as 'Modern Gentleman'. To see that this brand represents grace and style."
There is some debate over when MG started. The company itself stated it to be 1924, although the first cars bore both Morris and MG badges and a reference to MG with the octagon badge appears in an Oxford newspaper from November 1923. Others dispute this and believe that MG began trading in 1925.
The first cars which were rebodied Morris models using coachwork from Carbodies of Coventry and were built in premises in Alfred Lane, Oxford but demand soon caused a move to larger premises in Bainton Road in September 1925 sharing space with the Morris radiator works. Continuing expansion meant another move in 1927 to a separate factory in Edmund Road, Cowley, Oxford, near the main Morris factory and for the first time it was possible to include a production line. In 1928 the company had become large enough to warrant an identity separate from the original Morris Garages and the M.G. Car Company Limited was established in March of that year and in October for the first time a stand was taken at the London Motor Show. Space again soon ran out and a search for a permanent home led to the lease of part an old leather factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire in 1929, gradually taking over more space until production ended in 1980.
Originally owned personally by William Morris, the company was sold to Morris Motors (itself part of the Nuffield Organisation) in 1935; a change that was to have serious consequences for the company, particularly its motor-sport activities. MG was absorbed into the British Motor Corporation in 1952, and latterly British Leyland in 1968. Under BMC, several MG models were no more than badge-engineered versions of other marques, with the main exception being the small MG sports cars.
Amidst a mix of economic, internal and external politics, the Abingdon factory was shut down as part of the ruthless programme of cutbacks necessary to turn BL around after the turbulent times of the 1970s. Though many plants were closed, none created such an uproar among workers, dealers, clubs and customers as this closing did. Years later, Sir Michael Edwardes expressed regret about his decision. Later forms of MGs built by BL's Austin Rover Group were often badge-engineered Austins, and were made at the Longbridge plant. As of 2003, the site of the former Abingdon factory was host to McDonalds and the Thames Valley Police with only the former office block still standing. The headquarters of the MG Car Club is situated next door.
After the Austin Rover Group became the Rover Group, ownership of MG passed to British Aerospace and then BMW. BMW later sold the business and MG became part of the MG Rover Group based in Longbridge, Birmingham. The practice of selling unique MG sports cars alongside badge-engineered models (by now Rovers) continued. The Group went into receivership in 2005 and car production was suspended on 7 April 2005.
In 2006, it was reported that Project Kimber led by David James had entered talks with Nanjing to buy the MG brand in order to produce a number of sports cars based on the discontinued Smart Roadster design by DaimlerChrysler. No agreement was reached and it was later announced that the re-launched Smart Roadster would bear the AC name.
Nanjing restarted production of the MG TF and ZT ranges in early 2007. The TF is being built at Longbridge, while the ZT (now the MG 7) is being assembled in China.
On July 11, 2006 Nanjing announced that production will continue on the TF sports coup�. A new plant will be built in Ardmore, Oklahoma to build the next-generation TF, accounting for roughly 60% of TF output worldwide. A new development center will also be opened in the United States, located at the University of Oklahoma. The Longbridge plant in the UK will continue to build TFs as well, and a third plant in Pukou, at Nanjing Province in China, will produce the ZT and ZR. According to Nanjing, MGs will go in sale in the United States in the early summer of 2008.
The end of 2008 is expected to see the launch of two new cars which will be effective replacements for the MG ZR and MG ZS. Nanjing has not yet released any information as to where these new cars are to be made (or the nameplates they will carry), though they have hinted that these models may also make use of a revived Austin marque in more downmarket versions (in a similar style as the Maestro and Montego ranges back in the 1980s).
The earliest model, the 1924 14/28 consisted of a new sporting body on a Morris Oxford chassis. This production continued through the next models following the updates to the Morris. The first car which can be described as a new MG, rather than a modified Morris was the 18/80 of 1928 which had a purpose designed chassis and the first appearance of the traditional vertical MG grille. A smaller car was launched in 1929 with the first of a long line of Midgets starting with the M-Type based on a Morris Minor chassis. MG established a name for itself in the early days of the sport of international automobile racing. Beginning before and continuing after World War II, MG produced a line of cars known as the T-Series Midgets which, post-war, were exported worldwide, achieving better than expected success. These included the MG TC, MG TD, and MG TF, all of which were based on the pre-war MG TB, with various degrees of updating.
MG departed from its earlier line of Y-Type saloons and pre-war designs and released the MGA in 1955. The MGB was released in 1962 to satisfy demand for a more modern and comfortable sports car. In 1965 the fixed head coup� (FHC) followed: the MGB GT. With continual updates, mostly to comply with increasingly stringent United States emissions and safety standards, the MGB was produced until 1980. Between 1967 and 1969 a short-lived model called the MGC was released. The MGC was based on the MGB body, but with a larger (and, unfortunately, heavier) six-cylinder engine, and somewhat worse handling. MG also began producing the MG Midget in 1961. The Midget was a re-badged and slightly restyled second-generation Austin-Healey Sprite. As with the MGB, the Midget design was frequently modified until the Abingdon factory closed in 1980 and the last of the range was made. The badge was also applied to versions of BMC saloons including the BMC ADO16, which was also available as a Riley, but with the MG pitched as slightly more "sporty".
The marque lived on after 1980 as British Leyland (later Austin Rover Group), the then-owner, continued to place the MG badge on a number of Austin saloons including the Metro, Maestro, and Montego. In New Zealand, the MG badge even appeared on the late 1980s Montego estate, called the MG 2.0 Si Wagon. There was a brief competitive history with a mid-engined, six-cylinder version of the Metro.
In the late 1980s, when Austin Rover Group was renamed as the Rover Group, it revived the two-seater with the MG RV8; then in 1995 it introduced the all-new MGF (later updated and relaunched as the TF, reviving an old MG name).
With the demerger of Rover from BMW in 1999, the MG name appeared on sportier versions of the current Rover saloons and the Rover 75 estate and even a van.
The MG Rover Group purchased Qvale, which had taken over development of the De Tomaso Bigua. This car, renamed the Qvale Mangusta and already approved for sale in the U.S., formed the basis of the MG XPower SV, an "extreme" V8-engined sports car. It was revealed in 2002 and went on sale in 2004.
From its earliest days MGs have been used in competition and from the early 1930s a series of dedicated racing cars such as the 1931 C-Type and 1934 Q-type were made and sold to enthusiasts who received considerable company assistance. This stopped in 1935 when MG was formally merged with Morris Motors and the Competition Department closed down. A series of experimental cars had also been made allowing Captain George Eyston to take several world speed records. In spite of the formal racing ban, speed record attempts continued with Goldie Gardner exceeding 200 mph in the 1100 cc EX135 in 1939.
After World War II record braking attempts restarted with 500 cc and 750 cc records being taken in the late 1940s. A decision was also taken to return to racing and a team of MGAs was entered in the tragedy-laden 1955 Le Mans 24 hour race, the best car achieving 12th place
In 2001 MG re-launched their motor sport campaign to cover Le Mans 24hrs race (MG X-Power Ex 251), British Touring Car Championship(BTCC) (MG X-Power ZS), British and World Rally Championships and MG Independent British Rally Championship ( MG X-Power ZR) and in 2004 plans to race in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) with a heavily modified V8 powered ZT supertouring car were cancelled due to MG Rover's liquidation in April 2005. The Le Mans team failed to win the endurance race in 2001 and 2002 and quit in 2003. MG Sport+Racing raced in the British Touring Car Championships with the MG ZS between 2001-2003 as a factory team. In 2004 WSR raced the MG ZS as a privateer team and still race in the series today with many wins to date. After three years without a major sponsor, WSR teamed up with RAC in 2006 and the team was called Team RAC. The MG British Rally Challenge still runs today despite the liquidation in 2005
List of models
1929-1932 MG M-Type Midget
1930-1931 MG 18/100 "Tigress"
1931-1932 MG C-Type Midget
1931-1932 MG D-Type Midget
1931-1932 MG F-Type Magna
1932-1934 MG J-Type Midget
1932-1934 MG K-Type Magnette
1933-1934 MG L-Type Magna
1934-1936 MG N-Type Magnette
1934-1936 MG P-Type Midget
1936-1939 MG TA Midget
1939-1940 MG TB Midget
1945-1950 MG TC Midget
1950-1953 MG TD Midget
1953-1955 MG TF Midget
1961-1979 MG Midget
1973-1976 MGB GT V8
1992-1995 MG RV8
1995-2005 MG F
2002-2005 MG TF
1982-1990 MG Metro
Compact car (Small saloons)
1933-1934 MG KN
1962-1968 MG 1100
1967-1973 MG 1300
Midsize car (Medium saloons)
1924-1927 MG 14/28
1927-1929 MG 14/40
1928-1933 MG 18/80
1937-1939 MG VA
1947-1953 MG Y-Type
1953-1956 MG Magnette ZA
1956-1958 MG Magnette ZB
1959-1961 MG Magnette Mk. III
1961-1968 MG Magnette Mk. IV
1983-1991 MG Maestro
1985-1991 MG Montego
2001-2005 MG ZR
2001-2005 MG ZS
Full-size car (Large saloons)
1936-1939 MG SA
1938-1939 MG WA
2001-2005 MG ZT
2002-2005 MG XPower SV
1934 MG Q-Type
1935 MG R-Type
1985 MG E-XE
1980s MG Metro van
2003-2005 MG Express
MG Project by Nanjing Automobile
It is a significant step taken by NAC in its global strategy to acquire the assets of MG Rover and Powertrain Ltd. After its successful acquisition of MG Assets, NAC is now undertaking the overall planning of MG project, of which, some part is already underway for implementation.
NAC has now decided to establish production bases of MG project at Longbridge, Nanjing, and Ardmore. On one hand, the production of some products with rather high cost if produced in the U. K., such as engine, transmission and medium and low end vehicle products, will be transferred to China, where a mature supply chain with low cost will be set up step by step. On the other hand, with part of production facility retained in the UK, the original Longbridge site will be integrated to resume the production of MG TF sport car and part of high end products (including ZT and ZT-T). Meanwhile, by making full use of the prominent R & D capability and human resources in the UK as well as that of China, the Euro IV engines and a new generation of vehicles will be developed and then produced in both China and the UK in the near future. Then, the sales network of China established by NAC and the global sales network of the former MG Rover can be used to meet the demand of various markets in China, Britain, Europe and North America.
NAC is in the process of making detailed plan for the strategy implementation in the UK and China and has taken steps on some important strategic issues such as Longbridge Site integration and Euro IV engines development.
In the current plan, the production will be resumed in the Longbridge in March 2007, when MG TF, MG ZT and MG ZT-T production will resume. The first customers will take delivery during the summer.
The MG range will expand in late 2008 with the launch of two new model ranges which may also be sold as Austins. These will effectively replace the MG ZR and MG ZS ranges which Nanjing decided against continuing.
Therefore, it is a key point in the global strategic plan of NAC to re-establish a new sales network based on the original one of former MG Rover Group.
MG Production Plan
The Naning Automobile plans to build 13,000 cars based on the Rover 75 / MG ZT lower-premium sedan. It also plans 7,000 MG TF convertible sports cars.
Nanjing's Rover 75-based cars will be mostly sedans that will be called the MG 7. Nanjing will also build some station wagons called the MG 7T. It intends to build the MG 7 in both China and at the former MG Rover factory in Longbridge, England. When Longbridge re-opened in early 2007, only the MG TF was being produced there.
By 2011, Nanjing hopes to assemble 85,000 MG 7 a year and 25,000 MG TF. Nanjing will source as many parts as possible in China for both models to keep costs down.
Nanjing is already seeking price quotes from suppliers in China, including many who are already making parts for a version of the Rover 75 that will be assembled by SAIC Motor, a subsidiary of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.
SAIC sources say the agreement under which SAIC purchased the intellectual property rights of the 75 has loopholes that allow Nanjing to also make the sedan, that means there could be two copies of the Rover 75 on Chinese roads in a few years.
But industry insiders say Nanjing and SAIC will eventually be forced to co-operate in building Rover-based cars. Indeed, the Chinese government has already told the two to work things out, say sources close to both companies.
Nanjing plans to start serial production in March 2007.
The MG Factory of Nanjing Automobile Corporation is located in the High-level New Technology Economic Development Zone in Pukou (a new district of Nanjing). The capacity of the future Nanjing-MG Factory will reach 200,000 autos, 250,000 engines and 100,000 gear-boxes.
It is predicted that the factory, which covers 290,000 m�, will have a construction time of seven to nine months with completion in 2006 with the first cars produced in 2007.
According to the purchase agreement, Nanjing Automobile has bought the MG, Austin and other British car brands, production technology and equipment for the MG ZT and MG TF. The tooling for the MG ZS was repossessed by Honda as it was based on an old Honda design, so production of this model has never been an option for Nanjing Automobile. The MG ZR is no longer part of the MG range. Replacements for these models are due in 2008.
The initial MG range will consist of just the MG ZT and MG TF, with the former being built in China and the latter at Longbridge.
The Future of the Longbridge Plant
The MG Rover plant at Longbridge was for many years one of the most important factories in Europe and was the largest British owned car manufacturing plant until the bankruptcy of the MG Rover Group. After the factory of Abingdon closed in 1980, Longbridge was also from 1982 the home of MG. Longbridge employed 16,000 ten years ago, down to 6,000 when the company collapsed into administration in April 2005.
The ownership of the site is held by the St Modwen Properties company who acquired 412 acres of the Longbridge site in two deals in 2003 and 2004 for �57.5 million and leased it back to MG Rover Group.
Shortly after Nanjing Automobile bought the company it revealed plans to employ 1,200 workers and ultimately build 100,000 cars in 2006, but apparently just 600 jobs are now likely to be created and 15,000 cars assembled at the beginning, which represents a tenth part of those originally planned. The factory is now planned to reopen in early 2007.
A 33 year deal was signed in February 2006 between NAC and St Modwen Properties covering the lease of 105 acres (a quarter of the total area of the Longbridge plant) but including the two main car assembly plants, the paint shop and administrative offices at a rent of around �1.8 million a year.
An estimated �10 million is needed to reopen the factory. The company has also encountered problems securing suppliers to make components for the MG TF the unique car it plans to build there at the moment.
The development of Euro IV engines, previously completed by Power train, would be carried into production, with much of the final stages now being complete. Bulking up the European end of the operation, a UK Research and Design Centre would be set up in order to develop Euro-specific models. There will also be a research and design centre in China for the development of cars for the Chinese market.
There are plans for three new model range to go on sale in late 2008, with MG and possibly also Austin badges.
MG Motors North America: Ardmore Plant
MG TF Coupe will be assembled in the US in 2008On July 12, 2006 senior officials of Nanjing Automobile Corporation announced the revival of the historic MG brand of vehicles, as well as plans to build a new MG product in Oklahoma, with the formation of MG Motors North America, Inc., in a ceremony in Oklahoma City.
MG vehicles will not only be built in Nanjing, China, but also at the Longbridge assembly plant near Birmingham, England and at a new American assembly plant to be built at the Ardmore Air Park in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Headquarters for MG sales, marketing and distribution (outside of Asia) will be located in Oklahoma City. Research and development will be in Norman at the University of Oklahoma.
NAC has recruited a seasoned American auto executive, Duke T. Hale, to be the new company’s President and Chief Executive Officer responsible for the revival of MG in the UK and Europe followed by the re-launch of MG in North America.
According to MG Motors officials, approximately 550 jobs will be created in Oklahoma, including headquarters operations, assembly operations, parts and distribution operations and research and development.
The company expects to start construction of the Ardmore assembly facility early in 2007 with production to start by the third quarter of 2008.
However, as of the beginning of 2007, there have been reports of quarreling between the Americans partners and Nanjing Auto over differences of opinion regarding MG's future. Some people speculate that the Americans are impatient with Nanjing, who seem to be more heavily favoring the existing British Longbridge factory and their own Chinese operations over the planning of the US factory. There is also believed to be extensive cultural difference between the Chinese and the Americans that are causing rifts.