For many, the sun set on Longbridge in May 2005 when MG Rover went into administration – but three years on, and small scale car production has returned with the arrival of the MG TF LE500.
CAB B as NAC MG UK now calls it currently houses the TF, but there’s room for so much more…
Words and pictures: Keith Adams
From little acorns?
It’s empty now, but will it be in two years’ time?
TO see the production line for the MG TF LE500 for the first time is a very instructive experience. The last time I saw the place, cars were being mass-produced and it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. I therefore found it hard to temper my expectations when Corporate Communications Manager, Eleanor De La Haye, led me into what NAC MG UK now calls Car Assembly Building B to see the MG TF’s new home.
CAB B is still, as car production halls go, pretty cavernous and, as at present only a handful of people (18) are working on the line producing a select few cars, the long walk through the empty Car Assembly Building is ever so slightly poignant.
Still, after what seems like an eternity, we arrive at the at the MG TF line – to see a moving production line with workers screwing components to the row of orange sports cars. The line moves slowly and the atmosphere is reasonably light and unhurried. Eleanor explains that they alternate days on the line – so one day it’ll be interior and trim while the next will be the more mechanical tasks.
There seems to be a rather surprising number of Rover and Land Rover branded boxes of components lying around – but I’m hoping it’s just the receptacles that are old and not the contents. De La Haye says that 60 per cent (by value) of the TF LE500 is imported from the ‘Rest of World’ and, looking closely at the components, the quality certainly seems to be there.
There’s no sense within CAB B that NAC MG UK are gearing up for anything resembling mass-production just yet but the plant has been painted and the additional lines look ready to roll. The computer screens monitoring them are on and displaying zeros and, if Gary Hagen is to be believed (separate interview), they will soon be reporting a rapidly rising total of new generation MGs.
The car park isn’t exactly overflowing, but work has definitely commenced…
Gallery: TF line
The line moves slowly, and another batch of orange TF is being worked on…
That old windscreen problem seems to have been sorted now.
Play hunt the Land Rover and Rover logos in this image,
Dashboard qualty is looking good.
Another one nears completion.
About to be conveyored above the line and away to final finishing and quality inspection.
Ready for PDIs.
Gallery: CAB B
Is this the line for the new MG saloon?