News : Redundancies announced at SMTC UK in Longbridge

Despite encouraging improvements in the company’s UK sales figures compared to previous years, SAIC Motor, the parent company and owner of the MG brand, has announced what it calls ‘a global operational review’ of its manufacturing facilities in the face of a growing slump in demand in its home markets of China and Asia.

It’s been revealed that 90 contractors have been given immediate notice of termination and around 140 full-time staff and engineers are to be engaged in a 45-day consultation period with regards to their long-term employment at the Longbridge site.

SMTC UK (SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre Limited) is conducting an operational review at its Birmingham base. SMTC  UK is currently consulting with its staff to find the most appropriate solution and further updates will be issued in due course.’

A SAIC Motor UK spokesperson

Two very reliable sources close to AROnline informed us of the sad news a good few hours before the Birmingham Mail ran with the story. A member of staff still currently with the company told us yesterday that rumours had been rife for weeks and staff morale has been at an all-time low.

We spoke with a former MG Motor UK Engineer who has excellent contacts still working within the Longbridge site. We were told that it seems all that’s to remain there is a small team working on CoP (Compliance of Production) duties – mainly emissions testing and certification.

Excluding the Sales Centre, which operates as a separate entity, Longbridge currently costs a rumoured £49 million per annum to operate. The staff reductions reported above will reduce the total headcount on the site to under one hundred and, with so little going on there, its future looks worrying.

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

17 Comments

  1. Very sad, but not surprised, this is how it was always going to be since the TF LE500 and MG6.

    Over the years, so much hostility on these pages towards MINI, JLR and their owners, whilst defending MG and its sub standard products, hopefully now they will see the reality that they never had a serious plan to ever be a UK car producer.

  2. To paraphrase futurama..

    “It’s deader than the cat I’m sitting on”.

    It’s a shame but I doubt it was going to happen any other way. The 6 looked nice but didn’t sell. I’ve seen 1 XS or whatever it is (and the boot is tiny) and the 3 sells but I doubt there’s much profit in it.

    I think they’ve taken the IP and now it’s phase two, exploitation, followed by phase three, profit.

    And from what I’ve heard recently JLR is up to it’s neck in the cacky too.

  3. The way things have been going & how much attention people really take in looking at where things are engineered, the farce was always going to end. Heck, look at the state of the Union Jack to see how much attention they pay to the site. Very, very sad for all the workers & the history of Longbridge.

  4. Very sad news. My first thoughts are with those that will lose their jobs. My second thought is that I would not be surprised if SAIC is looking for a way out of its lease – I would wager what is left of the Longbridge works is gone within the next decade.

  5. I’m guessing it’s the same story with MG (SAIC) as it is with Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

    Why produce anything on UK soil now all trade tariffs have been lifted.

    MG will favour Chinese design, development and production just as Honda, Toyota and Nissan will favour Japan.

    I dare say it won’t be long before Ford Motor Company abandon UK operations (except dealer network with import, parts, service and sales) and continue to invest abroad. Ford car and van production left years ago leaving just engine manufacturing.

    TATA India has been rumoured to be looking to sell Jaguar Land Rover with PSA Group (Peugeot/Citroën/Vauxhall/Opel) the hot favourite to buy.

    Everybody at Vauxhall, Ellesmere Port has been expecting PSA to announce closure of Astra car plant. Looking at the way all new Vauxhall/Opel cars are restyled/rebadged Peugeot/Citroën models all built in same overseas factories it surely is only a matter of time.

    Hopefully BMW will continue to invest in MINI and Rolls Royce here in UK along with TVR cars and Bentley (VW) Group. Aston Martin continue ahead in Wales with DBX production plans.

    I was kind of hoping TATA would re-introduce Rover brand as a separate sister brand to Jaguar Land Rover and introduce Fiesta/Focus size cars.

    Don’t even get me started on INEOS Automotive and their plans for a Land Rover Defender rival to be made in Wales…

  6. Interestingly Ford pulled out of vehicle production in Britain before Brexit was even thought of, Honda are pulling out because the Civic isn’t selling very well. and Nissan are stopping production of the Infiniti because it’s a flop. Also now there are no tariffs between Japan and the EU, Japanese companies are finding it cheaper to make cars in Japan. I notice Suzuki has shifted prpductiion of the Swift and Ignis back to Japan and Honda has increased its exports from Japan( the Jazz was moved back there in 2014).

  7. Rather frustrating news.

    Simultaneously in today’s Sunday Telegraph are reports of Geely/Lotus (MD a certain Mr. Phil Popham who may be familiar to some of our readers…) announcing 200 new design/engineering positions in Hethel and a new Midlands site – be handy if Geely took over what was left of Longbridge (but I doubt that will happen) – SAIC might see a certain amount of technology transfer….

    Is Chang’an in Nottingham still there?

    Ellesmere Port – there is conjecture that PSA is centring Astra and 208 (?) production in the UK and Poland to relieve capacity in France for SUV’s

  8. I hope Ellesmere Port survives. It’s a very productive factory making a car that has been a huge success for decades. Also it would be nice if another model was moved there.

    • David, triumph had the speke factory at Merseyside but I’m sure the stag was built in the Midlands at canley

  9. This is really very sad. In our area new MG’s are appearing more often – several of the larger ones have appeared in our town and a Citroen Garage in a neighbouring town has changed to become an MG agency overnight!
    I have had a good look at the larger two cars and they seem such good value.
    I’m not sure that with these newer models that MG is not suffering the old BL syndrome – it’s not a BMW or Audi so lets kick the ‘whatsit’ out of it – without actually having any evidence of why.
    Skoda miraculously made a ‘come-back’ all those years ago – so it is possible. I guess the VW group had enough dosh to make it happen – and MG don’t?

  10. This was always going to happen. SIAC needed our design expertise and now that they have that, the next move would always have been to pack up and leave. I’ve been saying this since the MG6 days and I have absolutely zero satisfaction in being proven right 🙁

    This has never been a resurgence of MG, just a cynical attempt to lift and shift to China the last things of any value at MGR, for the lowest possible cost and commitment. Hopefully buyers will now see these cars and the company for what they really are.

  11. Hardly a great surprise, for the type of vehicles MG are producing and the minimal sales in the UK (let along the rest of Europe) why do they need a UK technical centre? It’s not as if the products of MGR have a British (or indeed European) feel, or that the buyers of them (in the VFM sector) care anyway if the handing has been fettled by British engineers.

    I imagine most of the engineers will be snapped up elsewhere, with Geely expanding in Coventry and lots of independent consultancies doing well. JLR probably still need engineering staff too, even if assembly line jobs are being cut.

  12. If SAIC thinks that MG does not need a European design/engineering input check out the new large MG SUV, eg on Autocar India on Youtube. Hideous detailing and they are calling it the MG Hector (!)

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