Archive : MG Rover shuts production early

Sales of MG Rover’s products have fallen sharply

Car manufacturer MG Rover is stopping production for Christmas three days earlier than planned for stock taking, following a slump in sales. The assembly lines at its Longbridge plant, West Midlands, will stop on Tuesday, instead of the weekend.

MG Rover’s sales fell by almost a third in November compared with the same period last year. One supplier said the situation was “fairly worrying”. But an MG Rover spokesman said the stock taking had been planned.

”Sales broadly in line’

The Longbridge plant suspended production for three days last month. MG Rover, which recently announced a loss of £95m, has reportedly been running at less than full production for the past month. The company is also said to have a pensions deficit of £70m.

However, a spokesperson said sales for the first 11 months of this year had been “broadly in line” with last year and that a stock take would be carried out next week. Production line workers would be redeployed to help with the stock taking.

Tony Parr, managing director of AP Smith, one of MG Rover’s suppliers, said the early closure was “fairly worrying” but said such closures of production were a common feature of car manufacturing. He added: “It has an effect on us that’s quite significant.”

But the management of MG Rover had improved recently, he added. The company’s forthcoming new small model, the City Rover, will be made by Tata in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The Phoenix consortium bought MG Rover from BMW in 2000.

Keith Adams

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