MG’s Media Briefing : Moving forward much faster now…

Words: Clive Goldthorp Photographs: Simon Davies/Pegasus Photographics

MG6 at the MG Birmingham assembly plant

MG6 at the MG Birmingham assembly plant

The Media Briefing which MG Motor UK Limited hosted at the MG Birmingham site last Tuesday provided the 30 or so Journalists in attendance with hard evidence that the countdown to the long-awaited UK launch of the MG6 Fastback and Saloon has now begun in earnest.

The company’s Sales and Marketing Director, Guy Jones, kicked the Media Briefing off with a short, but detailed presentation which covered the following key topics:

MG Birmingham Today

AROnline’s regular readers who recall the MG Birmingham: Brimming with British design and engineering talent story which we ran last June will remember that two of SAIC Motor Corporation Limited’s (SAIC Motor) subsidiary companies are now located on the 60 acre MG Birmingham site: MG Motor UK Limited (MG Motor UK), which  employs 100 workers in manufacturing and sales, and SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre Limited (SMTC UK), which employs 275 Engineers and includes SAIC Motor’s European Design Centre where 25 Designers have responsibility for the exterior and interior design of all global MG models from initial concept and virtual reality through to full size 3D capability.

The current facilities at MG Birmingham represent a major commitment to the UK on the part of SAIC Motor – a £45.0m capital investment has been made since the purchase of the assets but, added to that, are the overheads in operating the facility (including the cost of employing 400 members of staff) and the £100s of millions devoted to the development of new products.

SAIC Motor’s current £5.0m investment programme at MG Birmingham centres on the construction of an Engine Test Facility which should be fully operational during Q2/2011. MG Motor UK aims to provide market-leading Aftersales support and, to that end, has created the Cecil Kimber Training College, where Technicians from the Dealer Network are trained to use the latest diagnostics technology, and a new European parts warehouse for the MG6 on the site.

SAIC Motor And The Chinese Car Market

SAIC Motor is China’s largest OEM and, with total sales of 3.58m vehicles in 2010, one of the world’s Top 10 car manufacturers. SAIC Motor’s Joint Ventures (JVs) with the Volkswagen Group (Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Company Limited (SVW)) and General Motors (Shanghai General Motors Company Limited (SGM)) are, respectively, the number one and number three automotive JVs in China while SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Company Limited (SMPV), which produces SAIC Motor’s own, self-developed MG and Roewe models, built and sold 160,000 units across both brands in 2010.

The Western business media may have been charting SAIC Motor’s growth for some years but most UK and European consumers still remain largely unaware of the scale and success of SAIC Motor’s operations in China. However, that all looks set to change with the UK launch of the MG6 and the roll-out of SAIC Motor’s Global Product Plan.

SAIC Motor’s Global Product Plan For 2011 And Beyond

SMPV has already launched the D-segment MG6 Fastback and Saloon, C-segment Roewe 350 and D-segment Roewe 550 as well as a mild hybrid version of the Rover 75-based Roewe 750 in China while, in addition to the UK launch of the petrol-engined MG6 Fastback and Saloon, the B-segment MG3 will hit MG Dealers’ showrooms in China during the current year.

The company has also made a substantial commitment to the development of Low Energy Vehicles (LEVs) and has a world-leading JV with us battery and battery management manufacturer A123 Systems called Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Company Limited (ATBS). 1000 SAIC Motor-built LEVs were in operation at EXPO 2010 and the company plans to launch a series of plug-in hybrid and full electric models from 2012 onwards.

SAIC Motor’s Business Strategy For MG

Guy Jones summed this up succinctly as ‘quality underpinning profitable growth.’ However, the delivery of that objective depends, in turn, upon three key deliverables: a high quality product, a high quality brand image and a high quality and unique customer experience. The issue of the new MGs’ quality has been the subject of much debate within the BMC>MG Internet community so MG Motor UK’s take on what constitutes a high quality product merits closer scrutiny.

MG Motor UK believes that the new family of MGs, from the MG6 onwards, will be high quality products because they are being designed and engineered in the UK for the world market, built in a world-class manufacturing facility with final assembly in the UK, will feature desirable British styling as well as engaging driving dynamics and will offer high standard specifications and value.

Guy Jones left those present at the Media Briefing in no doubt that SAIC Motor understands the iconic nature of the MG marque – he referenced MG’s history in Motor Racing and Land Speed Record breaking and drew a parallel with the recent successes of other famous British automotive brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Land Rover, Jaguar, MINI and Rolls-Royce which are all now owned by foreign OEMs. The guys at MG Motor UK clearly intend, over time, to match or even exceed that level of success…

SAIC Motor also recognises the passion which many MG enthusiasts around the world have for the marque and, with that very much in mind, Guy Jones and the Sales and Marketing Team at MG Motor UK have set themselves the objective of ensuring that the owners of the new family of MGs enjoy ‘an ownership experience to love.’

The Launch Plan For The MG6 Fastback And Saloon

This week’s Media Briefing, in fact, marked the start of the final phase of MG Motor UK’s Pre-Launch Plan and centred on the unveiling of MG’s new corporate identity (CI) and the first UK showing of the MG6 Saloon which you can read about in Adam Sloman’s article, MG’s Media Briefing: New ideas, new metal and a new beginning.

However, while the MG6 Fastback will be available for media First Drives and Road Tests from mid-March, the full Launch Plan starts in mid-April when the first cars arrive hit the MG Dealer Network’s showrooms and potential customers will be offered Test Drives. The MG6 Fastback’s ‘Official Public Launch’ has been scheduled for mid-May while the MG6 Saloon will be available for media First Drives and Road Tests in mid-June prior to going on sale in mid-July.

The marketing campaign, which will run in parallel with the Launch Plan started with last Tuesday’s switchover to MG Motor UK’s new website and key elements to be rolled out over the coming months include a television advertising campaign and the release of a brand film on the Internet. The television commercial and brand film are both being produced by Ridley Scott Associates and are in production now.

The message which the television commercial and brand film are set to communicate is that the MG marque ‘has a famous past but now it’s back with British style, British driving dynamics and with the backing of one of the world’s largest car manufacturers.’ AROnline understands that the television commercial and brand film will feature the ground-breaking use of the small-format Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera which shoots HD video – our Photographer, Simon Davies, certainly seems to be pretty excited about this camera’s use in a commercial environment…

The really significant news for MG and Motor Racing enthusiasts alike will probably be that an announcement of a Motor Racing Sponsorship Programme has been scheduled for the beginning of March – MG’s renewed involvement in Motor Racing will centre on this year’s five-race Le Mans Series but you will need to come back to AROnline for more information about that in another few weeks.

The final, major facet of MG Motor UK’s Launch Plan for the MG6 will be the expansion of the Dealer Network – there are currently 39 MG Dealers who have been selling the batch-built TF since September, 2008 but the company’s Sales and Marketing Department have identified a total of 45 open points which they aim to fill. Guy Jones disclosed that he and his colleagues are in discussions with 23 prospective new franchisees at present and that he hopes to have a total of 50 in the Dealer Network by the end of this year.

Adam Sloman will be covering the unveiling of MG’s new corporate identity (CI) and the new MG6 Saloon as well as the quick tour of the General Assembly Hall which the media representatives were given in his exclusive interview. However, after that, we had a quick Q&A Session with Guy Jones and a brief chat with Tony Williams-Kenny on his new role as SMPV’s Design Director.

The specific points confirmed by Guy Jones during the Q&A Session were as follows:

  • the diesel-engined versions of the MG6 Fastback and Saloon will be launched during H2/2012
  • MG6 Fastback production starts on the 15th April, 2011 with deliveries commencing a month later
  • the MG6 Saloon will be priced slightly above the MG6 Fastback
  • Guy Jones worked for Kia Motors UK Limited for four years but MG Motor UK will not be offering Hyundai and Kia-like warranties. The warranty on the MG6 will match the market average: 3 years or 60,000 miles.
  • an extension to a 5 year warranty will, though, be offered at ‘competitive rates’
  • the UK-spec version of the MG3 should be launched here at the end of 2012 but, to date, no decision has been made about whether that model will also be built at MG Birmingham
  • the UK launch of the MG6 Saloon has been brought forward in response to the feedback from the market research which MG Motor UK has undertaken
  • that market research indicates that most buyers of the MG6 Saloon are likely to opt for the mid and top-spec versions
  • the projected sales figures for the MG6 Fastback and Saloon stands at 2000 units to April, 2012 i.e. to the end of the first 12 month production period
  • retail buyers and user-choosers are the target market for the petrol-engined MG6s and, as 50% of sales are expected to be on finance, Residual Values (RVs) are very important
  • the projected, first year sales target of 2000 units should therefore enable MG Motor UK and the Dealer Network to control RVs for the first two years – Guy Jones sees that as being especially important in today’s post-recession economic environment
  • negotiations with potential European importers are already underway but MG Motor UK rightly reckons that there would be no point in a European relaunch until the diesel-engined versions of the MG6 come on stream at the end of next year
  •  Guy Jones’ mantra for MG Motor UK remains one of ‘under-promise, over-deliver’ with the current emphasis being on a ‘quality launch’ and building the brand and business for a sustainable future.

 

Some AROnline readers may have already seen Adam Sloman’s recent article about Tony Williams-Kenny’s promotion to the role of Design Director at SMPV but we took the opportunity to ask him whether he was, in fact, the first British or European-born and trained Car Designer to be appointed to such a senior postion by a Chinese OEM. Williams-Kenny reckoned that, while a few British or European colleagues might be in similar posts at some of the China-based JVs, he was probably the first to land a Director-level role at a significant Chinese OEM – there are, remember, still around 100 OEMs in China!

Interestingly, when asked, Tony Williams-Kenny drew a clear distinction between his new role and that of, for example, Kia Motors Corporation’s (KMC) Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer. Schreyer had been at Volkswagen Group for 26 years before his move to KMC back in 2006 whereas Williams-Kenny has been involved in MG design for 10 years. He was initially MG Rover Group Limited’s Design Manager and then switched to what is now SMTC UK where he was responsible for the creation of two Design Studios, including the new one at MG Birmingham, so he already knows the Design Teams here and in China well. Peter Schreyer, on the other hand, had seemingly to start from scratch when creating a new design language at KMC…

Williams-Kenny will be basing himself in China later this year and commuting back to the UK but we forgot to ask him whether he would follow Peter Schreyer’s example as to dress code. Schreyer only ever wears black and says: ‘It’s a uniform for me. It makes dressing for work or packing for trips so much easier.’ Mind you, he is also on record as saying: ‘A sports car, like an MX-5 – that would be my dream car for Kia. A little roadster – if I keep repeating the idea, it will happen.’  Hopefully, Tony Williams-Kenny will, at least, follow Schreyer’s lead on that when he arrives in China…

AROnline’s take on what we learned at MG Motor UK’s Media Briefing last Tuesday? Well, with Tony Williams-Kenny’s promotion and Guy Jones’ presentation, MG Birmingham certainly seems to be accelerating towards a successful future much faster now…

[Editor’s Note: Readers can view Photographer Simon Davies’ video compilation of the photographs which appear in the Gallery below by following this link.]

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

55 Comments on "MG’s Media Briefing : Moving forward much faster now…"

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  1. MG: Back for good? | 17 February 2011
  1. Tony says:

    An interesting piece. The choice of date for SOP took my eye too – 15th April, 2011 – six years to the day.

    NMUK (Nissan) started in 1986 with a few thousand CKD Bluebirds – that plant now produces in excess of 400k cars pa and employs 4,000 or more. There is a huge development centre in the UK too. Honda and Toyota have also grown from small beginnings here to rounded, substantial world-class manufacturing (rather than assembly) facilities. This is, perhaps, a model MG can draw inspiration from.

    I hope it goes well for MG and that Longbridge builds into something that sits comfortably with the amazing engineering and car-building heritage the people of Birmingham have established over the last 100 years.

  2. Timbo says:

    Oh dear. I’m already worried. This may be slightly off topic but, if they’re shooting the TV ad campaign with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, then that smacks of cost cutting!! It’s a stills camera that happens to do video. I know, I’m a freelance TV cameraman and the mantra we work by is: still cameras for still photography, proper TV or film cameras for moving pictures.

    Still cameras give a shallow depth of field, but are not so good at capturing motion – that’s surely very important for a car ad? Put it another way, a Canon 5D body for less than £1.7K, Sony HDW650P HD video camcorder body £33K. I rest my case!

    MG, don’t cut corners on your image – do you think Audi would? Especially a relaunch against the backdrop of the MGR collapse.

    However, I so want this to work for MG and, apart from the awkward oriental styling of the car, I give my full support. Make an estate version and, who knows, it could supplant my Jaguar X-TYPE Estate for carrying the camera gear around!

  3. Ianto says:

    I do not understand the reference to the DSLR – is this is a sign of the recession?

    Ridley Scott sounds good though.

    Fingers crossed…

  4. Ian says:

    It’s great to see such life and developments at Longbridge – it’s so far now from those dark months from Spring 2005 and on into 2006…

  5. Jack Yan Jack Yan says:

    I wish MG all the best as it returns, though there’s one concern I have: a new corporate identity. Am I correct in saying this is the third one MG has had post-2005? I realise the octagon looks roughly the same but is smoothed a tad, though sometimes new CIs mean that the management or market draws a negative impression toward the old.

    Still, I rather like the new website. I take the point the products have been seen time and again by those of us who love cars, though most of the general public will not have.

    Additionally, if the delays truly were for sorting the quality after public feedback, then it suggests MG is taking things seriously – certainly to overcome the stigma of what many associate with ‘Made in China’.

  6. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    All the best to MG Birmingham – it sounds like we are now starting to get more information about what is and has been going on behind the scenes.

    I hope the advertising starts to get the general public excited about MG again. I know us enthusiasts have been keeping tabs on what’s been going on and have had our concerns but, by the sound of it, they are well geared up for a relaunch.

    I reckon that, if the ads and sporting ventures get the public talking and generate sales, then the future will look a bit brighter and decent scale production (and manufacture!) will once again be seen in Longbridge.

  7. Dolomite Fan says:

    The use of the SLR is to give a different look. It is a deliberate ploy and one that will make it stand out from the crowd. Cost-cutting it is not – you still have to pay someone to edit it all together.

    This technique has been used before by other companies to great effect. Most famous is the ad filmed entirely using a Canon EOS 1RS which ran 10fps through 35mm film. The whole 30 second ad was shot using this technique!

  8. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    We’ve used DSLR to produce videos for Octane (I’m uploading one today), and they look stunning. One of the big TV shows in the States (dunno which one), exclusively uses DSLR for its video.

    /K

  9. Simon Davies says:

    @Timbo
    I disagree completely with your comments re the Canon 5D Mark II. More and more of these cameras are being used in big-screen movie productions because of their size and the quality of the image produced.

    Yes, they are significantly less expensive than conventional video cameras, but they offer a far greater flexiblity of use.

  10. Andrew Elphick says:

    Good work, Clive. However, what’s with the Kia love? Are there ex-Kia people pulling the strings?

    I know everyone in the Kia Marketing and Retail Departments drops “Peter Schreyer’s” name whenever possible (I’ve experienced it!) but does MG want an “hommage” stylist as a bench mark? Especially as MG is not seen as a competitor for the Koreans…

  11. @Andrew Elphick
    That’s precisely the point – if Kia are eventually going to put an MX-5-like sports car into production, then surely MG needs to beat them onto the market with an MG TF replacement.

    Hopefully, Schreyer’s remark might just help TW-K make the case in China for accelerating the TF replacement Model Programme!

  12. KenS Ken Strachan says:

    That white car looks awfully lonely parked at the end of the line. Even the BBC managed to get more Allegros together for their recent drama.

    Anyway, on a completely different topic, I hope they haul the part-finished cars from Felixstowe to Longbridge by train – there are quite enough trucks on the A14 as it is!

  13. Timbo says:

    You can achieve all those different looks and better with a proper camera – it’s a myth I’m afraid. They can look good true but the data rate of HDCAM compared to a DSLR means no motion blurring/aliasing etc.

    DSLRs have been used in the UK too including a low-budget BBC sitcom but the industry is not about to change over to DSLRs after that experiment. I’m sure Mr Scott will make it look acceptable though.

    The best ARG/MGR ad in my opinion though is still the Rover 800 Fastback ad of 1988 set in a German car park with a row of immaculate black German cars broken up with a solitary silver 800 and German dialogue making references to British architecture…

    That still brings tears to the eyes – especially after what happened a few years later when they took over and then dumped what was left…

  14. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    Timbo :
    Oh dear. I’m already worried. This may be slightly off topic but, if they’re shooting the TV ad campaign with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, then that smacks of cost cutting!! It’s a stills camera that happens to do video. I know, I’m a freelance TV cameraman and the mantra we work by is: still cameras for still photography, proper TV or film cameras for moving pictures.

    Horsefeathers. House has been shot on 5DII. Downton Abbey was shot in part on 5DII – which you can spot, not because of reduced quality, but because they’re using a TS-E lens for selective focus.

    Unless you’re about to splash out on a RED and the necessary glass, a full-frame DSLR delivers superior creative flexibility for a lower cost compared to any of the older, small-sensor kit.

    You can rest your case all you like – you’d need to given the weight of that kit – but, if you’re a freelance videographer and wilfully dismissing tech like the 5DII, you’re basically a dinosaur ignoring the big flaming ball of fire approaching in the sky.

  15. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    Clive Goldthorp :
    @Andrew Elphick
    That’s precisely the point – if Kia are eventually going to put an MX-5-like sports car into production…

    Kia did make a sports car once – they had a variation on the old M100 Lotus Elan. A shame they never sold it here…

  16. Hilton Davis says:

    @Timbo
    I remember the Rover 800 Fastback advert too, Timbo. Great stuff! I also have worked in Film and TV Production for 37 years and agree with your comments about production formats and the quality achievable.

    Anyway, it’s great to see the Longbridge assembly lines ready to roll again. I would consider buying a “Six” when it gets established, but depreciation is a worry – as it always is with any car.

  17. Timbo says:

    @Richard Kilpatrick
    These dramas have the odd scenes shot on a DSLR where the quality won’t be an issue but accessibility is a factor. However, in the main, they’re shot on the likes HDCAM SR that’s 4:4:4 colour space, a real rival to 35mm film. 2/3″ sensors are broadcast industry standard and give shallow DoF. RED is small and light compared to these cameras but bigger than a DSLR so weight is not an issue, unless you got a huge lens and matt box, follow focus etc on it.

    Anyways, perhaps this is not the forum for getting bogged down in camera tech debates. I respect the opinions of the DSLR brigade though don’t agree, you gets what you pay for.

    Mind you, perhaps you’d better tell Sony/Panasonic/Grass Valley their old tech is doomed for a fireball!! I think their research and marketing might have missed that!

    @Hilton Davis
    I’m glad you remember the same ad as me – how about the “yuppie” Montego ad? A budget ad that is still fondly remembered 20 plus years after!

  18. Tony says:

    Oddly enough, I saw an MG6 on the Kidderminster ring road today – a white VX10-plated car which was, presumably, on a final shake down run. I saw another on the M42 last September too. They look fine, if a little Mazda-esque.

    Good to see one in the ‘wild’!

  19. Hilton Davis says:

    @Timbo
    Yes, I remember that yuppie Montego advert too… showing my age?

  20. @Richard Kilpatrick
    I am, in fact, rather glad that Kia did not import their version of the Lotus Elan SE Turbo into the UK – I experienced a potentially life-threatening braking issue with my Elan and am pretty lucky to be around to tell the tale!

  21. Jon says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Pretty though, I’d still love one :-).

  22. Ianto says:

    I would love to see an MG-badged (and maybe lightly restyled) Astra or Insignia being produced at Longbridge and Ellesmere Port if the links with GM are strengthened!

  23. Ianto says:

    @Jon
    The engine in the M100 Lotus Elan is quite rough by all accounts.

  24. James Riley James says:

    Ianto :
    I would love to see an MG-badged (and maybe lightly restyled) Astra or Insignia being produced at Longbridge and Ellesmere Port if the links with GM are strengthened!

    Sadly, that would make absolutely no commercial or economic sense whatsoever.

    Anyway, so as to keep all future MG’s as cost effective as possible, they need to continue their trend so far of buying in as little content as possible.

  25. Ianto says:

    @James
    Sorry, I should have expanded on that. I think that, if the links with GM are strengthened, they should drop Vauxhall (which, as a brand, has a very limited following) and replace it with MG. I think that the current range of Opels deserves a better name than that which sat on the front of a Viva HA.

  26. Jon says:

    @Ianto
    The M100 Lotus Elan’s engine was from the Isuzu Gemini wasn’t it?

  27. Will101 says:

    Vauxhall has a limited following? I don’t think so as these cars are very popular sold new today with a huge Dealer Network in the UK.

    Vauxhall will never die – its name is part of engilsh heritage dates back to 13th century of Fulk le Breant with his chosen badge (the mythical creature known asthe Griffin) became Lord of the Manor of Luton – it’s along story.

    A Scot, Alexander Wilson, also adopted the Griffin badge for Vauxhall Iron Works, South London in 1857. The company moved to Luton in 1905 because more space was required for the building of early model cars and so on.

    Today, Vauxhalls are badge-engineered Opels but, in the 1970s, Ford UK did the same with its German models and got away as British. Vauxhall didn’t at first but the Griffin’s a stronger badge here and always will be.

    Incidentally, the GM takeover from 1925-on helped them survive. Austin Motors turned down the same offer and survived until 1989.

  28. Ianto says:

    @Will101
    I don’t, for one moment, think that there would be a public outpouring of grief if the Falkshall name was dropped.

    MG has a much stronger image and an MG-badged Insignia would sell like hot cakes. Anyway, there has always been speculation about the future of the Vauxhall brand in the UK.

  29. Will101 says:

    That’s true – due to the increased car sales of European, Asian and even US makers here over the years. The UK car buyer has lots to choose from like, for example, white goods, mobile phones and something to plug your iPod into.

    Brand loyalty wavers with us all in this day and age and it’s up to the present or next generation to dismiss a long-established named product. Remember Woolworths has gone from the High Street but still survives as an online store.

    I would like to see MG back as a success story as that would increase employment in UK and that has to be a good thing. Vauxhall would, though, have to drop their VXR sports models to make MG-badges versions work.

  30. Rooster says:

    The first thing Guy Jones needs to do is to up the skills in the General Assembly area – having all skills required at hand is essential if a high level of vehicle is to be achieved.

    I mean no disrespect to current MG track personnel but you don’t become a Technician overnight and, if there is a high level of rectification – which is quite possible with cars being shipped from overseas – skills from build to finish will be essential.

  31. pigeons99 Pigeons99 says:

    @Ianto
    Two points:

    Firstly, Vauxhall has quite a young following. Many people grew up learning to drive in Corsas and the like. I personally, as a younger person, prefer MG but the Corsa and Astra are in the hearts of a lot of young people.

    Secondly, if you drop Vauxhall, you would have to put MG badges on Corsa vans which probably wouldn’t help MG’s image much.

  32. Ianto says:

    @Pigeons99
    Why not use Vauxhall for the commercial vehicles and MG for the passenger vehicles?

  33. Steven211 says:

    @Ianto
    Vauxhall have enthusiasts like MG and that would upset them – I, myself, am an enthusiast of both Vauxhall and MG. I would like to see both manufacturers work together as MGV – MG Vauxhall, but with entirely different model ranges.

  34. Ianto says:

    Steven211 :
    @Ianto
    Vauxhall have enthusiasts like MG and that would upset them – I, myself, am an enthusiast of both Vauxhall and MG. I would like to see both manufacturers work together as MGV – MG Vauxhall, but with entirely different model ranges.

    That would work. It would be no different to what happened when Jaguar bought Daimler in 1960, i.e. two previously long-established companies with no previous connections coming together to sell their brands under one roof. A good example being Daimler 2.5-V8 and the Jaguar Mark 2.

  35. Ianto says:

    @Jon
    Yes, the Lotus used a Isuzu 1600cc unit, whilst the Kia used their own 1800cc engine. Neither were classics.

  36. James Riley James says:

    I can’t work out why there is all this speculation about Vauxhall. It isn’t ever going to happen. Vauxhall does not need MG and vice versa.

    Besides the fact that Vauxhall is, at least in Britain, by far the second most popular brand and needs MG’s sales like a hole in the head, current MG models overlap Vauxhall too closely to gain any benefit.

    I really am perplexed by the latest obsession with some kind of Vauxhall/MG tie up?

  37. Richard Moss says:

    That’s because the MG7 replacement will reportedly be based on a GM platform.

  38. @James
    @Richard Moss
    Yes, a number of reports have suggested that the next-generation MG7/Roewe 750 will be based on GM’s Epsilon II platform which underpins (inter alia) the new Saab 9-5 and Opel/Vauxhall Insignia.

    However, there appears to be more to the deepening SAIC Motor/General Motors relationship than that. See our MG Motor UK: New models will be sold by GM in the UK article dated the 27th December, 2010 but note, in particular, my Post #7 in the accompanying Readers’ Comments section.

  39. Steven211 says:

    MG Birmingham-based SMTC UK are also jointly developing small 1.0-1.5ltr engines for future GM products – that says to me that MG and Vauxhall could use the same engines. SMTC UK have already developed the NSE family of small engines.

  40. Ianto says:

    @James
    @Clive Goldthorp
    @Steven211
    @Richard Moss
    Yes, on so many levels it looks as if there will be closer links with GM. I like the sound of MG Vauxhall – it rolls of the tongue nicely and would form the basis of a symbiotic relationship, with MG gaining first class engines and engineering and Vauxhall gaining the kind of kudos for their sporting variants that VXR just doesn’t deliver. Just imagine an MG-badged VX220…

  41. Theward says:

    I’m sure the GM tie up will be a positive one. They won’t link the two brands in terms of using them in the same breath. I think they will ultimately use them in the same way that VW, Skoda and Seat use the same production lines, engines and platforms. VW have the GTi, Skoda have the vRS and Seat have various sporting variants up to Cupra.

    I do not think there would be any need to link the MG brand directly with with any other logo but, if they ended up building an MG and Opel/Vauxhall car at Longbridge on different shifts, that would be great news.

  42. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Ianto

    Ianto :

    I would love to see an MG-badged (and maybe lightly restyled) Astra or Insignia being produced at Longbridge and Ellesmere Port if the links with GM are strengthened!

    Why?

  43. Ric says:

    Here’s a quote from the article:
    “MG Motor UK believes that the new family of MGs, from the MG6 onwards, will be high quality products because they are being designed and engineered in the UK for the world market, built in a world-class manufacturing facility with final assembly in the UK, will feature desirable British styling as well as engaging driving dynamics and will offer high standard specifications and value.”

    This concerns me. High quality does not automatically happen because a car is designed in Britain and it drives well.

    Indeed, from what I have seen of the MG6 – and I have spent a good couple of hours prodding around in one at Longbridge – quality is definitely somewhat lacking. Low-rent plastics, an awkwardly designed facia and awful visibility will definitely stand out and, no matter how well the thing drives, you can’t get past the cheap interior.

    Potential buyers, who take the normal 20 minute test drive, probably won’t get to feel those driving dynamics, but they sure as hell will see and feel that interior.

  44. Ric says:

    @Richard Kilpatrick
    I’m pretty sure that the film Monsters was filmed on a small-format Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera or the equivalent.

  45. Ianto says:

    @Mark Pitchford

    Mark Pitchford :
    @Ianto

    Ianto :
    I would love to see an MG-badged (and maybe lightly restyled) Astra or Insignia being produced at Longbridge and Ellesmere Port if the links with GM are strengthened!

    Why?

    Why not?

  46. Cookie1600 says:

    MG-badged Vauxhalls and/or loose Vauxhall’s name altogether??? Are you sure???

    You’re more likely to see Becks divorce Posh and hitch up with Jordan!

  47. Craig W says:

    Okay, getting back to the subject of the MG6 itself, I sat in a Fastback version which was on display in the local shopping centre last week. It was a pre-production version according to the sales guy who was there, but was very nicely put together inside and looked a lot sleeker in the metal than in the pictures I have seen.

    Previously sceptical, I was quite impressed with it, although I don’t have £17k to hand to buy one myself and it would not suit my family’s needs anyway!

    I wish them the best of luck and hope that the MG6 leads to greater things in the UK/Birmingham in the future.

  48. Ianto says:

    @Cookie1600
    Stranger things have happened – think GM and Lotus, Bugatti and Lotus, Proton and Lotus which are all just some examples.

  49. Doodle says:

    I have been listening to all the talk about GM and the make up of future vehicles and wonder whether SAIC Motor’s long-term plan to move the operations lock stock and barrel out of Longbridge and into a modern facility within one of the GM factories in the UK. After all, Longbridge is quite rundown…

    I know Longbridge is the home of MG but it may well be in SAIC Motor’s best interests to start afresh with GM – the latter’s Dealer Network is handily placed all over the country.

  50. Ianto says:

    @Doodle
    I agree as Longbridge isn’t the real home of MG – that was Abingdon.

  51. Rooster says:

    I understand from employees currently working at MG Birmingham that they have been painting and preparing the 75 area for months and that, according to MG Motor, they can use the building built by BMW for the MINI. However, I believe that was condemned for production when Longbridge was open – it just doesn’t add up.

    We have employees who live near us and they even tell us that the heating isn’t working in CAB1 and hasn’t been for two years. Toilet facilities are run down – even the water test collapsed during the MG TF build.

    What is the truth? SAIC Motor has some excellent products in the pipeline and we all want them to be successful. However, to produce what they have in mind needs a state of the art facility which would breed consumer confidence instead of the negativity shown by many, including some present staff, at the moment.

  52. Ianto says:

    @Rooster
    This is slightly worrying…

  53. Woof Woof says:

    Just a quick note on the camera…

    It has a full frame sensor equivalent in size to 35mm film and so much bigger than that in most digital video cameras. The large sensor gives the advantages of low noise at higher ISO and makes shallow depth of field shots possible.

    This is definitely not a cost-cutting measure, it’s a creative opportunity and I’ll be waiting to see the results.

    Anyone who doubts the moving image quality these cameras can produce should look into it. I’m sure they’ll soon change their views.

  54. Jeff says:

    Re: Timbo

    Before you comment on the equipment being used to film the ad, i suggest you check out some of the videos being shot with the Canon 5d. Indeed, anyone in the know, knows that people in the movie industry are raving about the qaulity of film capture of the Canon 5d. If its good enough for Hollywood………..

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