BL has delayed implementation of its plans for the MG factory at Abingdon in Oxfordshire because of a probable offer from the consortium. Four deadlines have been set by BL and executives were taken by surprise yesterday when the consortium indicated that a further meeting was needed. BL plans to end MG car production at the end of this year and use the Abingdon factory as an export packing and special vehicle plant.
The export packing operation will be transferred from the Cowley plant at Oxford where assembly of the new medium range car, to be built in collaboration with Honda of Japan, will take place. It is believed that the offer from the consortium will be for the factory and use of the MG name, although BL has already made clear it will not sell the marque. It has also said that any offers for MG must be particularly attractive to compensate for the future programme already formulated for Abingdon.
BL dealers, in the United States have been vociferous in demanding that the MG line be retained. The company has told them that production will be maintained until the end of the year with most of the output earmarked for the American market. After 1980, the cars will no longer comply with new Federal emission regulations and will be withdrawn. BL is also facing pressure from both sides of the House of Commons not to phase out the MG.