Events : MG Live! hits China

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

The popular MG Live! show made a welcome return to China in 2011, supported once again by the MG Car Club China and SAIC MG. The event featured static displays on-track action, and boasted a huge selection of new-world Chinese built MGs, which are steadily picking up a strong following in their adopted homeland.

For those who made it to MGLive! earlier this year at Silverstone, this event will have had a familiar feel – although the near-tropical weather conditions were somewhat different to what showgoers enjoyed in Northamptonshire. The star of the show was the recently-launched MG3, which attracted a huge number of potential customers, many who were treated to hot passenger laps on track (above).

No dates have been announced yet for the 2012 event in China.

 

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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31 Comments

  1. I can’t be the only person who:

    – Has never seen a “new” MG, ever. Not at all. Nope.
    – Is underwhelmed by the 6
    – Is even more underwhelmed by the 3

    Apart from the use of the factory, the badge, a little bit of the engineering and some old bodywork – what has this to do with AR, BL etc ?

  2. Looking at the line up of MG3’s there you have to ask when will we get it? I can well imagine they’d be more than capable of selling more than 50 of those a month.

  3. “Apart from the use of the factory, the badge, a little bit of the engineering and some old bodywork – what has this to do with AR, BL etc ?”

    Well the 1st photo above shows a whole row of Rover 200 based cars. Very much to do with the original Rover Group. Like it or not MG Motor is the successor to MG-Rover Group, who was the successor to Rover Group, who were the Successor to Austin -Rover etc etc. Saying they have nothing to do with the MG-Rover group is a bit like Saying the current range of Vauxhalls have nothing to do with Vauxhall (as they’re all Opels) But this site is for British cars, are these any less British than say the BMW Mini, British Built Nissans, British Built Fords (Ford are American btw).

    I personally like the look of the 6 and the 3, but no never seen one in the metal.

  4. @ Chris – “Apart from the use of the factory, the badge, a little bit of the engineering and some old bodywork – what has this to do with AR, BL etc ?”

    You’re statement pretty much sums up what MG has stood for since 1924! So I cannot see what there is to complain about. MG was always about using other cars, other factories, old bodies and somehow still managing to almost always turn a sows ear into a silk purse. That’s what has made MG unique and why it has such a global following. SAIC are following the same age-old MG formula except they have had the audacity to put some modern engineering and design into the mix which for the very strangest of reason’s seems to anger so many British MG fans – most of which have probably never even sat in an MG much less owned one themselves.

  5. James – i agree. It’s much the same mentality as the BMW mini i think, if it had still been built by the Rover Group there wouldn’t be a problem with them. It’s the same with these MG’s if they’d been wheeled out by MGR as the replacements for the range then i doubt there would be anywhere near the hostility towards them.

    The Diesel Rover 75 got a great deal from BMW, but we don’t see it being slated for not being relevant to AR!

  6. Chris “[a]part from the use of the factory, the badge, a little bit of the engineering and some old bodywork – what has this to do with AR, BL etc” = “[a]part from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans done for us?”.

  7. james , the problem is not the product , its the marketing of the new MG range, i live in longbridge and yes i have mg cars onb my drive but at this time there the only ones i see apart from the ones on the factory car park .by the time we see the MG 3 it will be old news . my concern is that the stigma and background of longbridge and doom and gloom that surrounded the factory for years will be its downfall , people rightly or wrongly have no confidence with a facility that is rundown and carries so much negativity and with the mgr closure major proof SAIC would probably do much better by taking the mg marque and its brand to a new production facility that the buying public would attach itself to maybe within there tie up with gm ,within the uk to make a statement that there here for the long term and they intend to make MG A SUCCESS.

  8. I STILL maintain they should have released the MG3(ZR!)SW over here to plug the time gap before the launch of the rest. They have the tooling for the shell, and would at least have given buyers at leats ONE other choice apart from the TF LE500. Bearing in mind the apathy of the Chinese towards soft-tops, it is quite surprising they didn’t go down this route.

    As on anothe-r forum, no doubt someone will shoot me down by saying the 200/25/ZR design is out of date, but the fact is that there are stacks of them on the roads here, and the upswing in ZR/SW sightings around where we live is quite astonishing. It was a car that was (and still is) liked by the public, is cheap(ish) to insure and run, and I think a Streetwise with MG branding would have sold in decent numbers.

  9. Someone mentioned “British build Fords”

    It is over a decade since there was a car built in Britain with a Ford badge on it.

    With the disposal of JLR, Ford do not manufacture any cars in the UK any more.

    I’m not even certain that the Transit is still made at Southampton (production moved abroad I recall – Turkey rings a bell).

    Ford make parts and diesel engines in the UK. That’s it.

  10. Locally, Ford offloaded their Belfast component plant to an offshoot – Visteon, who promptly closed it in the last couple of years.
    There was a bit of bad feeling towards Ford locally, though it doesn’t seem to have impaired sales.

  11. The Transit is still made in the UK (some production will move abroad but not all), while Bridgend and Dagenham are massive engine plants, and the joint venture plant with Getrag makes gearboxes. Most importantly, are the 3000 people working in the technical centre at Dunton

    Dennis – “Like it or not MG Motor is the successor to MG-Rover Group, who was the successor to Rover Group, who were the Successor to Austin -Rover etc etc”

    To be accurate MG Motors are ultimately one of the successors to the Rover Group, seeing that
    BMW kept Cowley and Swindon
    LR (as well as Solihull) kept the Gaydon technical centre, which suggests that many of the engineers who developed the original 75 and 25 are probably now working for JLR.

  12. I must admit that the updated Streetwise (sorry, MG 3 SW) does still find appeal with me. Those subtle colour and trim amendments do create further interest and I am glad they have kept the original circular headlamp design rather than use the ‘dewy-eyed Spaniel’ design featured on facelifted MG ZRs and Rover 25s

    Then again, perhaps here in the UK I was in the minority of people who actually warmed to the original Rover Streetwise?

  13. Seems to me that the Streetwise has more of a following now than it ever did new. Guess it validates the concept… even if Rover’s no longer around to benefit from its foresight.

  14. “To be accurate MG Motors are ultimately one of the successors to the Rover Group, seeing that
    BMW kept Cowley and Swindon
    LR (as well as Solihull) kept the Gaydon technical centre, which suggests that many of the engineers who developed the original 75 and 25 are probably now working for JLR.”

    Fair point.

    And yes there are many ex-Rover engineers working at Gaydon. I’m not sure of the details of how they split it up, but from talking to an ex-employee some Gaydon staff fell onto MGR’s side of the fence while some Longbridge staff fell onto the JLR side of the fence. There was a bit of a swap around in the first few weeks of the split. Which probably explains why the streetwise takes a lot from the original Freelander.

    The streetwise probably makes good sense in China, rough rural roads and all that. With all the 2wd crossovers we see sold now, the Streetwise was actually quite good forethought from MGR (for a change). In a way it probably did add value to the remains of MGR, certainly a lot more than say the R75 V8 did!

  15. “The Transit is still made in the UK (some production will move abroad but not all), while Bridgend and Dagenham are massive engine plants, and the joint venture plant with Getrag makes gearboxes. Most importantly, are the 3000 people working in the technical centre at Dunton”

    As i understand it, Transit Chassis Cabs are made in Southampton whereas panel vans and minibuses are built in Turkey.
    Bridgend builds Zetec petrol engines and sends them all over the world to Fords car plants. Dagenham builds and develops most of their Diesel engine output as well as supplementing PSA groups output as demand requires.
    I thought they had run-down Dunton quite a bit though? It used to be their european development centre, but they moved a load of the work to germany and the US.

  16. Dennis – The proposal to move some Transit production to Turkey will happen with the next generation. According to Wikipedia
    “Dunton designs the Ford Fiesta, the Ford Ka, engines for Ford of Europe (powertrain), and commercial vehicles. Dunton has also had the responsibility for the interior of Ford of Europe cars. It has facilities to simultaneously test fifteen cars and around one hundred engines.”
    Also
    http://www.basildonrecorder.co.uk/news/echo/8268255.Coalition_to_honour___360m_loan_to_Ford_Dunton/

    Looking at what happened in the few years after the LR/MGR split, LR went on to produce the all new Disco 3, RR Sport and Freelander 2, while MGR produced a few facelifts and failed to develop a new medium car with outside help (from TWR). Having funding from Ford obviously helped, but the sheer number of new models produced suggests that LR kept most of the Rover Group engineering resource and staff.

  17. I have actually seen a few 6’s in the UK on the roads…
    One, a 6 Magnette (if only they’d forgone the daft name) in dark grey and not overly specced, following a mk3 Focus down Swanseas Kingsway.
    Is a long multi lane road, very straight and 30mph limit so a good chance to take a proper look. Have to say it works far better than the Ford which I believe will date far faster than its predecessors.
    We don’t have an MG dealership here but the cars are dripping in (seen a couple here now and one out of Birmingham just after launch).
    I simply don’t understand the lack of promotion and publicity in the UK

  18. I still see quite a few Streetwises around. It was a good idea (daft name though) and fitted in with that AR tradition of building newish cars out of next to nothing. It was that kind of thinking that gave me hope that MGR would survive and prosper rather than screw it up. Boy, how wrong was I! A former dealer told me that MGR had only planned to build 5000 a year (if I remember rightly) and he reckoned they could have easily sold double that number. I agree that the Chinese built MG3 Streetwise could still sell over here.

    More MG6 sightings: a blue Magnette driving west on the M4 between Port Talbot and Cardiff on Monday; a red 6GT southbound on the M1 at junction 9 on Wednesday (Nov 2nd).

  19. @ Nathan Williams – as an owner of two Focus MK2s I havent warmed to the looks of the MK3 yet either. In 2009 I saw an earlier artists impression of the Mk3 and it looked very appealing, but they have watered down the production version.

    Having said that I still think it looks better than the MG6 and I say that as a previous owner of a ZS.

  20. @MikeyC “The proposal to move some Transit production to Turkey will happen with the next generation. According to Wikipedia”

    It’s out dated, i had an 09 plate Transit hire van last year. In the glove box was the build sheet, the print out that is stuck in the window when they’re delivered. It had Ford-Ottosan, Turkey written on the top of it. Southampton only builds Chassis cabs. Panelled vehicles are assembled along side the Transit Connect in Turkey. There was some talk of moving the remaining UK production to Turkey with the next generation though.

  21. @James – OK maybe my point is badly made – what has this to do with AR ? I have seen an MG Metro this year, I have owned a few – love them. I have owned a Maestro – loved it too. I have even seen and sat in a Tesla Roadster.

    I have never, ever, ever, ever even seen a “new” MG.

    I don’t live in the sticks, I live in Edinburgh, in a neighbourhood with its fair share of Porsches, Ferraris and Lambos, and thats before we start on every new Audi, BMW or Alfa going.

    No MGs.

    @Paul Shanahan – They did more for me than anything from SAIC has. Harold Musgrove has done more for me than the whole of SAIC.

    Why are we even covering this, who cares ?

  22. Dennis – that’s not what the BBC say…
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/8594689.stm
    Maybe some Turkish vans were imported to cover shortfalls from Southampton?

    Chris, I agree that people here are clinging on to straws, if a Korean manufacturer bought the Triumph badge from BMW, and launched a new TR10 coupe, woule we be saying it was a continuation of the great line of TR sports cars?

  23. It’s possible – so does anyone live near southampton, that can pop down and look over the fence? haha

    Thing is SAIC haven’t just bought the badge, they bought the factory, the existing car designs, the existing Engines, they transfered many of the remaining MGR development engineers to Ricardo 2020. Actually about the only part of MGR they didn’t take on were the production staff and the original UK company registration, but with that would have come the massive debts! They continued to produce the ‘old’ Rover designs for a couple of years then replaced them with new models. If MGR had been a success then chances are we’d be seeing similar new models now, designed by the same people.
    So it’s ok for this site to cover the BMW Mini? Which by now in the same logic you’re using has nothing to do with AR either. BMW kept a badge, a factory and a little bit of engineering. So what’s the difference? The current generation BMW Mini has no Rover Group input into it at all.

    In fact the only car still in production that has anything like a direct link to AR is the Land-Rover Defender. Does that mean we’re going to shut the site down when that gets replaced?

  24. SAIC buying the existing designs and producing them in China is obviously of interest, but in the same way that those Bulgarian/Chinese Maestros, Indian SD1s etc are of interest. And, as the replacements have UK input with a link to MGR, then yes they are very relevant to this site. If, however SAIC had just kept the MG badge, and stuck it on a 100% Chinese developed and manufactured car, then it would be of little relevance surely?

    I just feel that people’s judgement is clouded by the ‘MG’ badge and the so called Longbridge ‘assembly’ line, when in reality BMW employ far more ex Rover Group workers, and LR employ most of the former Rover Group development engineers.

  25. In the car world judgement is always clouded by badges. Look what happens when ever anyone hints that Tata might resurrect the Rover name. We hear lots of people saying how cool it would be to see another Rover, however it WOULD just be a Jag or even a Tata with a Rover badge stuck on it. Or people that pay more for an Audi, when it’s simply a VW!

    There is a clear lineage from the old MGR to the current MG though, and i really just can’t see how anyone can say it has nothing to do with this site!? They certainly have as much if not more to do with AR than say Nissan Sunderland, who also pop up quite often, as a manufacturer with a footprint in the UK.

  26. Seeing that JLR own Solihull, the Rover factory, and Gaydon, the former Rover HQ, they have just as much entitlement to the badge as the current MG/Roewe!

  27. Although SAIC own Longbridge, The Austin Factory and Longbridge, Former Austin HQ…..

    My point exactly, they’re all clearly successors to the company that this site was originally set up for. Which is why you see JLR, MG, Mini products discussed on this site. So how can anyone say that the current MG has nothing to do with this site?

  28. the streetwise was a very popular car in its time and saic would probably do well to re-introduce it over here but there is no facility to build this vehicle in longbridge as they have stripped the original 25/45 line out .MG have a big enough task as it is to convince the uk public to buy the current mg range and while there is only a token gesture or a kit car build at longbridge they may not succeed The new range of mg 3/5 should be built as a whole in the uk whether it is longbridge or a more modern facility to give the buying public more confidence of saic being within the uk in the future as this moment in time there is no security or belief the chinese will stay around for a long time, No one will buy these cars unless there is a major investment within the uk with a build facilty to match the other car manufacturers within the uk ,or even transfer the builds to a GM facility of which they have major deals with Longbridge is to run down we as locals and former employees no that there will never be a mass turnout of volume vehicles as so much has been given up for house building and the longbridge project and thats where the failure of confidence lies within the current set up. longbridge is a former shadow of itself and sadly i believe will never return with the history it was once proud of

  29. @ excalibur

    I agree re the 25/45 line, but if they had a bit more foresight they could possibly have modified what WAS left to assemble a run of cars in the couple of years prior to the 6 being released, even if they were kits partly-built from China. As you say the Streetwise was, and still is, a popular car and I think SAIC gave themselves a bigger hill to climb by not having a car available for sale in the UK before they did. Yes, there was the TF but that appealed to a narrower car-buying demographic than the 25/ZR/Streetwise did.

    It’s easy to say these things with the benefit of hindsight, but with so many British employees within the company from a fairly early stage in their ownership, some of them should have been brave enough to have a word in their ear about the dangers of leaving things idle for so long.

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