MG Rover and the Chinese automotive group, China Brilliance, have signed a deal to create a new company building small and medium-sized cars.
The venture will safeguard thousands of jobs in the UK both at MG Rover’s Longbridge factory in Birmingham and among component suppliers. Kevin Howe, MG Rover’s chief executive, said the link represented a “global alliance”. And a senior union official in the UK car industry said the deal was “tremendous news”.
Under the terms of the deal, a new company will be created for the joint development of vehicles and co-operation on the supply and manufacture of engines. The alliance also provides the potential for MG Rover cars to be built in China. Mr Howe said their tie-up spanned “the full breadth of both company’s activities and presents many opportunities”.
He added: “Brilliance has achieved quite outstanding results in a very short space of time and demonstrates world-class standards in everything it does.” The chief executive of China Brilliance, Dr Brian Sun, described both companies as ambitious and with a clear vision of the future.
He said: “Equally important is the fact that we do not have products that compete directly, which means we can take the full benefit from our alliance without our plans conflicting in any way.”
Dr Sun said that the deal would make both companies “a force to be respected in the automotive industry”. Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) national negotiating officer Tony Woodley said the deal would help to safeguard thousands of jobs in the car industry.
“While no-one should under-estimate the challenges facing the car industry, this tremendous news is the last piece in the jigsaw for MG Rover, which has confounded its critics by surviving and thriving.” China Brilliance is involved in car and component manufacturing and is the largest producer of minibuses in China.