News : £2m sales boost for Longbridge

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

John Griffin, Birmingham Mail

MG6 sales improved in December 2011
MG6 sales improved in December 2011

Longbridge roared into the New Year with a £2 million boom – as MG enjoyed its biggest sales month after nearly seven years under Chinese ownership. MG Motor UK clocked up 111 sales in December alone, its best performance since the rebirth of Longbridge after the demise of MG Rover in April 2005. In December 2010 the firm sold just ten cars.

The pre-Christmas boost for the Shanghai Automotive-owned car firm helped MG Motor increase overall sales for 2011 by nearly 28 per cent to 360, compared to 282 in 2010. The sales joy followed the successful launch last year of the MG6, the first all-new MG for 16 years, and a saloon version later in 2011. Now the Birmingham firm is gearing up for production of a diesel version by the end of 2012, and the launch of the MG3, a new hatchback model.

MG Motor UK PR and Events Manager Doug Wallace said: ‘December was our best month yet – we are absolutely delighted. Momentum is building all the time and hopefully we will see even greater numbers this year. The next step for us will be the addition of a diesel version which is scheduled for the end of this year and we will also be looking to launch the MG3, a smaller vehicle than the MG6, about the size of a Fiesta.’

MG Motor UK currently has 40 dealers nationwide and is looking to increase the total to more than 50 by the end of the year. Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that Land Rover sold 37,637 cars in the UK last year, just under one per cent up on 2010. Jaguar sold 13,787 cars in the UK in 2011 compared to 16,417 in 2010.

[Source: Birmingham Mail]

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.
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28 Comments

  1. MG Motor UK PR and Events Manager Doug Wallace said: ‘hopefully we will see even greater numbers this year’

    Hopefully??? Not exactly full of confidence is he? Remind me never to ask him for advice on my ebay listings. Even though I’m not too sure about the 6 personally, I’d love to see MG succeed. I just wish they’d put the effort into making us believe that they can do just that.

  2. “Looking to increase the number of dealers to 50” – This could be difficult! With current sales levels, I’d have thought many of the existing 40 will be pulling out.

  3. @Frankie the 75 nut. They do look Roverish because, as I understand it, they practically were to be the Rovers of the future and were designed by MGR staff for future launch I’m sure this site will document ti somewhere – it’s just that SAIC/NAC have picked up the baton and run with it whereas the Phoenix 4 were…well don’t start me on that one.

  4. I wonder where the “£2 million sales boost” figure comes from?

    It would seem that they have achieved a combination of just 11 retail sales or dealer registrations, whilst the rest were sent to Avis.

    I don’t think that SAIC have ever claimed to have “sold” them to Avis, have they? It’s far more likely that they would be on some kind of loan or, virtually negligible, rental payment.

    Yet the “£2 million figure” would assume that they were nearly all top of the range cars sold at full retail!

  5. I would imagine that the majority of the December sales figures are because of the AVIS deal. December is the weakest month of the year for retail and nothing has changed with MG’s offer to improve the situation from November. However it does start to improve the confidence in MG. Hopefully the dealers will soon have 6 month old MG 6 at 10k to retail with a reasonable finance offer. That should build showroom traffic. It is very disapointing that the Diesel is not ready until the back end of the year, 18 months after the cars launch. It will not be a new model by then and is already looking quite dated. A good second hand buy when 3 years old and thats about it.

  6. “I don’t think that SAIC have ever claimed to have “sold” them to Avis, have they? It’s far more likely that they would be on some kind of loan or, virtually negligible, rental payment.”

    Or, the £2m figure reflects not the 100 cars delivered in December to Avis, but the overall deal for 500 cars; personally, we’ve accounted for the Avis cars twice when tracking the sales after the initial £5m orders announced earlier in the year – so where are the facts hiding?

    At this stage though, I think it’s pointless to use every opportunity to continue a negative message. It’s fun to laugh at their inept marketing, but cars built and sold are a good thing for Longbridge, regardless of how they are paid for or who is buying them.

  7. @10 very well said indeed,if you dont mind me saying so.If it was 200 million quids worth what would the neg be?oh but they are chinese.No one ever listens,rome wasnt built in a day,as richard mentions this is good for longbridge and i hope they sell a lot more in the coming months.

  8. Simon: It took Citroën 4 years to sell 1000 C6’s in the UK, despite those cars being diesel and having a clear(ish) brand identity. And heavily discounted and supported by cheap finance and a large dealer network.

  9. Well well, this is encouraging to read, hopefully (opps sorry!). Good to see that there has been an increase in figures, no matter who they have gone too, a sale is always a sale regardless of where it goes to and who has bought them. We and I do mean all of us; want MG to succeed but, when you read some of the comments on here and not just this post it seems that some people on here cant wait to put MG down asap! I think you need to channel your anger at SAIC and let them know personally the frustrations of way things are being handled. If you/we are to make any comments to MG please please please let them be constructive so at least they can pass the message on!

    Well, thats the rant over, off to footie now!!!

  10. one of the reasons i believe the chinese do not build the car at longbridge is that the skllls are not there to take a new model forward , the current mg manufacturing team were from the original mg line at mg rover and have no new model skills and even in the days of mg rover they were known as the sick and lame ,if you put there skills up to the level of former body and white/west works/ and methods build trainers/and flight shed engineers you would be amazed at the lack of knowledge , being a retired former manager thats why im unsure of the realistic intention of SAIC to be serious when they are able to ignore the wealth of knowledge outside and remain with the current level of associates.i no its harsh but true

  11. @ doodle You seem to have completely overlooked the fact that all the product development for UK cars is done at SMTC UK (based at Longbridge) and it is staffed by body in white, powertrain, chassis etc engineers and designers. They also have a workshop that has several members of staff who worked in methods build. No wonder we went down the pan with managers like yourself who spout off without knowing the full facts. Harsh but true!

  12. @16
    @16
    tom tom if you read into what i said i was not questioning the engineers/designers/powertrain /chassis employees as i have worked win most and yes i no they have current staff from methods build in the new workshop as these were the top engineers i was questioning the skills on the shop floor .if you look at the skills in the former flightshed /body in white /methods etc these guys built cars from metal to showroom not stuck a steering wheel on and filled it with a bit of oil, harsh but fact

  13. Your comment was “One of the reasons I believe the Chinese do not build the car at Longbridge is that the skllls are not there to take a new model forward”. People who can build the car from metal to showroom work at LONGBRIDGE for SMTC the sister company of MGUK so the skills are there at the factory. Since when would any car maker expect its production staff to be able to engineer the car? They are there to build the car and rectify any faults and a good job they do to.

  14. It’s not that long ago that MG fans were screaming for the 6 to be launched. Well, it’s here now and it’s an infinitely better car than most people on here give it credit for. Mistakes have been made in marketing the car, but we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that it was never going to storm to the top of the sales charts. It was always going to be a gradual return to the UK market for MG. 2012 will see SAIC/MG continuing to grow.

  15. well tommo to rectify the faults you have to understand the product ,and with such a small workforce you would expect the current production staff to have more skills ,when i said they had no skills i referred to the ability to identify problems /rectificationj /process improvement./continued improvement /as for the guys in smtc i no they are from the methods arena and you are correct in your observation they have the skills but wouldnt you want to transfer them skills in such a small operation to your production staff considering the amount of downtime.they have had , as for the rectification of faults if the so called smtc guys have the skills why wasnt the faults identified first time around , you may not believe this but i want mg to succeed but i want the mg brand to be given the best opportunity

  16. No doodley I don’t believe you.You spend most of your time on here running the place and the people (who you don’t actually know yet seem to be an expert on their skills set) who work there down with little or no justification.

  17. “It’s not that long ago that MG fans were screaming for the 6 to be launched. Well, it’s here now and it’s an infinitely better car than most people on here give it credit for.”

    The only real problem the car – rather than the marketing – has, if you consider sales incentives and finance packages part of marketing, is that 1.8 Turbo engine. It’s simply not an easy sale. And yet, and I am happy to be corrected here, the majority of heavily promoted PCP/lease deals for the 75 focused on the 1.8T Petrol models near the end of that car’s life.

  18. “not stuck a steering wheel on and filled it with a bit of oil, harsh but fact”

    Surely that’s how most car assembly plants work? You just train people in how to do their individual task. No need to have fully qualified engineers carrying out basic production tasks it reduces the wage bill. Someone on a production line thinking they’re an engineer is a bit like that bloke in the KFC ad thinking he’s a chef.

  19. tom tom
    well how wrong can you be tom tom, ive put many a positive response to what goes on at longbridge,and what ever you believe i want it to succeed so many former employees can be re united with what they no best.but saic have to show more professionalism in its efforts to promote and sell the new range of the mg marque ,failure to do that will contribute to its down fall .

  20. out of interest tom tom why is there a breakdown of sister companies smtc and mg motor ? it sounds like you work there

  21. @doodle

    Then we both hope for the same then. I think that’s just the way Chinese companies work they have lots of companies under the same umbrella.

  22. It’s not really that unusual.

    The Japanese camera companies that we know as brands like Fuji, Minolta, Nikon, Canon etc. are, or were, conglomerations of component inventors and manufacturers. Similarly the car firms – if you consider the period of growth post-war, Japanese cameras of countless brands appeared – fuelled by inventions of reflex mechanisms, metering, focal plane curtain/metal shutters and so forth. Ultimately, after 30 years or so, we hit a stage where these firms own their tech and keep it in house, but initially they began making a camera from many third-party components, competing with firms doing the same.

    If you consider the way cars are built in Europe, it’s not that different. We can’t buy a Bosch or Valeo car, but innovation is fuelled by these firms, pressing plants, glass makers. Powertrain, PSF… it’s not that different to China. Plants have to bid to produce a product from the intellectual property developed by the parent firm.

    Ultimately as China privatises the firms, and becomes more open, we will have fewer Chinese “brands”, and effective conglomerations of tech. SAIC’s partnership with GM and ownership of MG Rover IP will be paired with Byd’s hybrid innovations, for example; China Brilliance, Geely… Western-friendly names will surface, large firms made of smaller firms…

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