The Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC) finally reassembled all its old MG Rover tooling in China – and started building new/old cars again. It all seemed so optimistic back then…
Here’s the full MG press statement from 27 March 2007.
NAC-MG celebrates the birth of China’s first international car brand
On 27 March 2007, after a period of huge anticipation, MG – China’s first international car brand – will reveal its strength to an eager public. This day will symbolise a milestone in Chinese automobile manufacturing. NAC MG is inaugurating its state of the art production line while celebrating the launch of China’s first international car brand which inherits all the British traditions synonymous with MG.
The celebrations to mark the first car off the line have attracted leaders from the JiangSu provincial government, Nanjing CCP committee and the Nanjing municipal government, while British VIPs including a Member of Parliament will also attend the celebrations. Nearly 1000 visitors will attend, including MG’s global suppliers, distributors, partners, Chinese and non-Chinese consultants and the world’s media. All have gathered together to enjoy this significant moment which will witness the first Chinese-built MG roll off the production line.
The world’s biggest single power assembly line
The MG plant is the world’s largest single power assembly line making the world’s widest range of associated products. The Chinese built, fully automated welding and assembly line guarantees the simultaneous production of multiple models and also incorporates modern production equipment brought over from the UK.
Three new Chinese-built MG models will be seen for the first time at the event, witnessed by nearly one thousand guests. The new MG models include the MG7 series and the MG TF sports car. The luxurious and elegant MG7 series will appeal to China’s middle and high-end car market sectors, while the first Chinese-made sports car – the MG TF – incorporates many high technology features.
A true sports car, the TF is a high performance model with outstanding handling characteristics and dynamic good looks, very much in keeping its British sports car heritage. The new MG cars demonstrate world-class levels of construction, quality and technology.
Production begins with the TF
The official ‘off the line’ celebration of NAC MG car production not only symbolizes the full launch of this new international Chinese brand but also marks a new age of development for the Chinese automobile industry. Chairman HaoLiang Wang says of the event: ‘The purpose of the MG project is to create a brand-new, self-dependent Chinese brand which has the advantage of already being recognized as an internationally well-respected brand.
‘From the outset, this was an advanced project that has delivered competitive and technologically advanced products. The project is hugely different from the traditional joint ventures and the purely domestic products of the Chinese automobile industry.
‘NAC has adopted the third development model which in essence brings a truly international brand to the market led by a Chinese enterprise. This is a true innovation. The brand’s core competence is to incorporate international standards of development, production and quality control with world class marketing and know-how.’
China grows to world number three
In recent years, the Chinese automobile industry has made great improvements and has become the third largest car manufacturing and consumer market in the world. However, compared with world’s top level automobile manufacturers, the Chinese auto industry lacks certain competitive advantages.
The auto industry has become the fifth largest industry in China and huge emphasis is now being focused on how the country can further improve its competitiveness and become a major power in the world’s automotive industry.
During ‘the 11th Five-Year Plan’ period, CCP implemented a plan to enhance creativity as one of the key strategies for developing Chinese society and industry. The key strategic decision of ‘going out’ was a change from the established macro-economic development of the country. The ‘third development model’ of the Chinese automotive industry, adopted by NAC-MG, clearly demonstrates the proactive implementation of these two great strategies.
New ground for the Chinese
According to NAC-MG Chairman, Mr Jian Wei Yu, to accomplish this strategic concept, MG will develop two bases; one in Nanjing and the other in Longbridge, Birmingham, UK. The UK will be the centre for R&D and also be the base the production of high-end, value-adding products, while China will be the production centre and responsible for developing the domestic and overseas markets. In China, NAC MG will focus on achieving cost control and developing core competences for sustainable growth.
Since NAC’s successful acquisition of the assets of MG Rover and Powertrain in July 2005, NAC-MG has mastered MG’s core technologies within only one year and has made a range of accomplishments including the export of the first batch of parts to Europe, production of the first N4 engine as well as the first MG7 and MG TF cars.
Gallery: MG7s build by Nanjing Automobile Corporation
Following the beginning of the project, NAC MG took an unprecedented and innovative route, creating 12 ‘firsts’ in China – from owning the first ‘world renowned’ car brand to being the first Chinese car company recognized by the international automotive industry. NAC MG is also the first Chinese car manufacturer to introduce European environmental standards, the first enterprise to simultaneously establish production bases domestically and overseas and the first Chinese enterprise to get world class core technologies.
The first MG model ‘off the line’ not only demonstrates the successful implementation of the MG project – renowned as the number one industrial project for NanJing city – but also symbolizes a key transformation point for the Chinese automobile industry. Through the brand strength, the assurance of quality and the use of technology and world class manufacturing techniques, MG is entering the international top league and will create the drive for Chinese automobile products to speed up their pace in the international market . NAC MG has created a true high-end international car brand led by the Chinese and will lead the way for the establishment of the truly international automotive firms.
But the reality was that there was still some way to go…
…as subsequent events would prove.
The banner covers a line exclusively revealed on AROnline days before the official opening…
The launch date: 27 March 2007. A big launch for the newly energised ‘Modern Gentleman’ in China, and Nanjing Automotive is promising to make a big splash – with the unveiling of its new MG factory, and a range of cars based on the TF and ZT. The date is significant for the company as it’s the 60th anniversary of the beginning of vehicle production, and the Chinese want to celebrate in style.
However, according to a report by Reuters, the company is looking for financial support for the venture – which it sees as being an important bridgehead into the European market.
Reuters stated that NAC-MG may sell as much as 50 per cent of the company to outside investors to help fund its expansion of its recently purchased ‘British’ marque. The company is expected to roll out two mid-ranged MG 7-series saloons (in two different wheelbases) and an MG TF sports car, priced at 180,000 yuan and 400,000 yuan (£11,800-£26,250).
However, in order to expand the MG business into a global player, NAC will need between 2bn and 3bn yuan (£130m-£195m) to increase capacity in the next few years. NAC-MG General Manager, Zhang Xin told Reuters, ‘We have been in talks with several potential partners, including funds, in North America and Europe and could sell as much as 50 per cent’.
The company also hopes to sell 200,000 vehicles in five years’ time, he added.