Press Report : Job cuts looming at MG in Longbridge

Anna Blackaby, Birmingham Post, 4th March, 2009

The West Midlands automotive industry has taken a further blow with the announcement that job cuts are looming at MG in Longbridge.

The Chinese-owned firm would not say how many jobs were set to disappear but a caller to the Birmingham Post reported that up to 30 positions were to be axed at the carmaker.

MG said the cost-cutting move was in response to the downturn in the automotive industry. The company said in a statement:

“MG Motor UK Limited is reviewing its business operations to ensure that it continues to offer value to stakeholders and mitigates its exposure to financial loss during the global downturn. In consultation with employees and the board, the business is proactively restructuring to gain maximum efficiencies. It is likely some roles within the corporation will be amalgamated resulting in some job losses but the company is working hard to limit the effects on its highly-skilled workforce.”  

The announcement comes six weeks after about 30 temporary contract workers were laid off at Longbridge. The cuts were made among staff who recently transferred from Engineering and R&D firm SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre Limited (SMTC UK) in Leamington – a wholly-owned subsidiary of SAIC/Nanjing – to Longbridge.

Job cuts at MG add to the mounting toll of redundancies in the automotive sector in the West Midlands, with job losses announced recently at major manufacturers Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and LDV as well as numerous smaller supply firms.

The overall number of workers at Longbridge recently increased following the move of SMTC UK to the site, bringing the workforce up to about 380 after 250 transferred from Leamington, adding to the 130 already on site.

The SMTC UK operation provides engineering and design skills for MG and the Shanghai-built Roewe models and now shares premises on the site of the MG factory on Lowhill Lane.

One of SMTC UK’s first projects for MG is likely to be a remodelling of the existing TF, following the launch of the MG TF LE500 earlier in 2008, into a limited edition derivative to mark MG’s 85th anniversary in 2009. 

SMTC UK said the move to Longbridge was an “obvious, sensible and inevitable rationalisation of SAIC Group companies with the UK.”

SMTC UK Director of Business Development Ian Horton said: “ We were already working closely with MG and the new geographical proximity of the companies can only be of benefit to the group and the MG brand. We now have a Technical Centre platform from which to grow the future of the group’s engineering in the UK.”

One of SMTC UK’s first projects for MG is likely to be a remodelling of the existing TF, following the launch of the MG TF LE500 earlier in 2008, into a limited edition derivative to mark MG’s 85th anniversary in 2009. 

The car firm recently dropped the Chinese element from its company name, changing from NAC – Nanjing Automobile Corporation – to MG Motor UK Limited.

The company said the change was to help strengthen the company’s reputation and re-emergence in the market by emphasising the already well-known MG brand.

[Source: Birmingham Post]

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.

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