Chinese firm SAIC is looking to downscale its technical centre, which does engineering work for MG, at the former Longbridge factory

Up to 230 engineering and design jobs at MG Motor Ltd's parent company, SAIC, are at risk due to plans to radically downsize its technical centre in at the site of the former Longbridge factory in Birmingham.

News of the plan leaked out after a consultation with the workforce on Friday, with one source suggesting that 140 full-time jobs and 90 contractor positions are at risk out of a total workforce of around 300, whose main function is designing and engineering new models for MG.

MG Motor, which is owned by SAIC, wouldn’t comment on the numbers, instead it issued a statement confirming that talks were underway with the workforce at the SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre (SMTC). The Longbridge site is also registered with Companies House as MG's UK headquarters.

“SMTC is conducting an operational review at its Birmingham base,” it said, “and is currently consulting with its staff to find the most appropriate solution and further updates will be issued in due course.”

The news comes just 24 hours after the UK reveal of the ZS EV, which it plans to launch at the London motor show next week on May 16.

The ZS EV is a key model in MG’s plan to significantly boost UK sales by the end of 2020, making the cutbacks at its technical centre more difficult for the workforce.

UK sales have been on a steep climb and doubled last year to 9049 units compared to 4440 in 2017. While sales in China improved considerably last year as well, hitting 134k against 80k in 2017.

A fresh sales push is being built around a expanding UK dealer network that currently numbers 91 sites, but is planned to grow to 120 by the end of 2020.

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MG Motor has made the UK design and engineering of its cars part of its marketing message and at motor shows in the Chinese home market has featured Union Jack graphics and branding on its stands.

When SAIC took control of the rump of the defunct Rover Group in 2007, it moved the production lines and tooling for the Rover 75 and its K-Series engine to China, where it went into production as the Roewe 75.

To keep the MG brand alive, its re-launch plan featured UK design and engineering alongside local production and it set up a new plant to assemble the MG 6 on a small portion of the former Longbridge site in 2011. However, five years later manufacturing stopped and output was shifted to China.

Since then MG has opened a new sales and marketing HQ in London’s fashionable Marylebone, sharing space with an advanced design studio. Around 50 staff are employed at Marylebone, with about a further 100 supporting the national dealer network.

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19

11 May 2019

...how a revered and loved British brand was bought for peanuts by some jumped up Chinese company and pushed into making poxy, ugly hatchbacks.  If I had the money I'd buy it back and produce EV sports cars...from a factory deep in the Cotswolds.  Yes, I'm a little Englander, and proud of it, so stuff your snowflake thoughts up your exhaust pipe.

UK sales are 9,000!!!  I never see one, and I'm glad I don't.

11 May 2019
Bazzer wrote:

...how a revered and loved British brand was bought for peanuts by some jumped up Chinese company and pushed into making poxy, ugly hatchbacks.  If I had the money I'd buy it back and produce EV sports cars...from a factory deep in the Cotswolds.  Yes, I'm a little Englander, and proud of it, so stuff your snowflake thoughts up your exhaust pipe.

UK sales are 9,000!!!  I never see one, and I'm glad I don't.

How very deluded. A ' jumped up' company , why because they are foreign ? MG are part of SAIC who have been in operation since the 40's. One has to question why MG was such a disasterous failure whilst in 'British' hands. 

The easiest thing in the world is to look back with a sense of nostalgia, that's why the over 50's have dragged this country into the mess it's now. No we don't need to recreate WW2, try to recapture our Empire or make bowler hats compulsory. Time to move on with the times and admit the car industry is best left to those that do it so much better. Lets concentrate on other talents the UK has.

11 May 2019

Congratulations, you get 'Missed point of the week award'.  Well done, you complete tool.  I have no problem with ANY company from ANYWHERE taking over another company.  I have a problem with a company taking a lovely little company like Morris Garages and churning out complete and utter shite...and calling it an 'MG'!  Although I'm a self-confessed little Englander, there are some things foreign companies do better than us - like manage!  We can't manage anything, anything at all, our managers are a joke.  But taking something as sweet as MG and instead of nurturing it and churning out little sports cars, they act like a bunch of nut sacks and think it ok to produce crass little tin boxes that have a MG badge adorning them.  I don't want WW2 re-fought, I don't want the empire back, I don't want us all in bowler hats.  So, in essence, try and see the point of what someone writes, and not be such a prick.  How's that?

12 May 2019

The market for little sports cars from lovely little car companies is tiny, and best left to Morgan. Even they've just sold a controlling share to a private equity firm to raise funds for their future. The motoring world has moved on to SUV's as that's what is currently in demand across the world, and profits are falling everywhere. SAIC will do whatever it takes to keep their profits up, as will every other manufacturer. They grabbed the opportunity to start off their own mass production, with expertise, tooling, IP rights and trademark rights by buying a competitor (Nanjing Automotive) in 2007. MG has had 8 changes of ownership in 94 years and it's Longbridge links prior to the MG Metro were none existant. It's a changing world!

12 May 2019
Bazzer wrote:

...how a revered and loved British brand was bought for peanuts by some jumped up Chinese company and pushed into making poxy, ugly hatchbacks.  If I had the money I'd buy it back and produce EV sports cars...from a factory deep in the Cotswolds.  Yes, I'm a little Englander, and proud of it, so stuff your snowflake thoughts up your exhaust pipe.

UK sales are 9,000!!!  I never see one, and I'm glad I don't.

The heritage is MG's not Britain's. To conflate the two may suit nationalists, Brexit politicians and little Englanders (as you put it) but marginalises MG's achievements in favour of a nationalistic and jingoistic narrative.

13 May 2019

I disagree (you may not be surprised to read!).  I think the heritage is the nation's.  I'm 60, so I well remember the 'time' and what it was like.  In fact, even the name, 'Morris Garages' is a giveaway as to the ethos of the period when it originated and lived through.  I also think it unwise to add the word 'Brexit' into this.  Brexit is about sovereignty, control, and immigration.  People like me (a Brexiteer) want Brexit for the reasons previously mentioned.  I may well have little Englander, Cotswold feelings about using my own money and my own engineering company to buy MG back and produce EV sports cars, but that actually has nothing to do with my view on economics and immigration of the state.  Brexit is necessary to survive the coming decades, not to satisfy my cosy and warm nostalgic view of my life in the 1960s.  Like I said, it's simply wrong to marry the two.  I understand why people want to do that, but when they do they're simply misguided...or it's deliberate obfuscation.

11 May 2019
Terrible news for all those affected but for any motoring enthusiast the MG brand died years ago and frankly, like all the other UK motor manufacturers that we used to own, we only have ourselves to blame.

Through the 70's UK car manufacturers were arrogant in their belief that British engineering was still leading the way (it wasn't and at the time the Germans and Japanese did it better), management practices were still rooted in the 1950's, the workforce followed the bolshy unions over the cliff edge, ruining production, quality and ultimately their own job security in the process.

Even the most ardent supporter of buying British cars couldn't escape the fact that German and Japanese cars were better built, were generally more reliable and in comparison, represented a better ownership proposition.

I worked for MG/Rover and later Jaguar in the early 80's and it was a joke - apart from a small percentage of 'believers', most couldn't give a damn and by then we were so far behind other brands that no amount of rose-tinted marketing could save those once famous brands - a top down overhaul of the company, new practices and attitudes were what was needed but no-one grasped the nettle. Instead we gave the world the MG Metro, Maestro etc and tried to live off the glory days of Jaguar.

At the same time British consumers started buying cheap tat from the Chinese that we couldn't be bothered to make ourselves or didn't want to pay a reasonable price for and like the rest of the west, we funded the growth of China to become a super-power, with more cash-rich billionaires than you could shake a stick at.

So there's no point blaming anyone but ourselves for the loss of our motor manufacturing industry, or moaning about who owns the last parts of what remains, we created our own downfall!

11 May 2019
MarkII wrote:

management practices were still rooted in the 1950's, the workforce followed the bolshy unions over the cliff edge, ruining production, quality and ultimately their own job security in the process.

 

Sadly, very true.   Brits going on strike all the time, poor management planning to update and improve models, it all had a disasterous effect on the British car.

 

When Thatcher managed to get Nissan interested in setting up a plant in Britain they were offered the Linwood factory in Scotland for free.   A plant already geared up for car production, in a town with plenty of workers trained in car production.

 

Nissan decided better to spend their own money creating a fresh factory and spend the time training the workforce themselves.

 

The result?   Nobody can deny the success of Sunderland.

 

Now we have the second plague to hit British car production: Brexit.   That same Nissan factory isn't getting the same future work that was planned for it before.   Honda turned the ships that were bringing equipment to update their factory for electric and hybrid car production around because of Brexit.   They're all doing this quietly, but with Nissan having close ties with Renault expect a French plant to get the work off Sunderland in the next couple of years.

 

Gross stupidity of Brexit is going to cost Britain a lot more job losses than the MG workers.

 

11 May 2019
Symanski wrote:

MarkII wrote:

management practices were still rooted in the 1950's, the workforce followed the bolshy unions over the cliff edge, ruining production, quality and ultimately their own job security in the process.

Sadly, very true.   Brits going on strike all the time

Such dribble. Perhaps folk should be asking why workers striked rather than question that they striked.

The same British Unions and the same British workers are building cars in Swindon, Derby and Sunderland. Could it possibly be managing of the industry that was to blame? The rest of MarkII's reply was spot on.

Symanski wrote:

Now we have the second plague to hit British car production: Brexit.   That same Nissan factory isn't getting the same future work that was planned for it before.   Honda turned the ships that were bringing equipment to update their factory for electric and hybrid car production around because of Brexit.  They're all doing this quietly, but with Nissan having close ties with Renault expect a French plant to get the work off Sunderland in the next couple of years.

Gross stupidity of Brexit is going to cost Britain a lot more job losses than the MG workers.

Whether anyone supports or disagrees with Brexit, idiotic fake news comments like this help nobody and has no other purpose than showing your own ignorance. You're either deliberatly spreading lies, have no interest in world economics or clueless as to what role the European Union plays.

The reason Honda pulled out IS BECAUSE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION.  Most people already know this but just for your benefit. the European union (which includes ourselves) changed their export / import tariffs with Japan which meant the Japanese are able to export home built cars to the European Union more cheaply.

You're idiotic niave anti-Brexit rant completely ignores the fact Honda are closing other plants and moving everything back to Japan. They're closing their plant in Turkey for goodness sake - blaming Brexit for that too are you?   You make no mention of other plants in mainland Europe closing, but that doesn't suit the Brexit rhetotic so best ignored eh?

If you're not going to take an interest in general knowledge, perhaps it's best to keep your pipe-dream belief to yourself because you're not helping your own remoaners with such lies let alone anyone else.

 

11 May 2019

AMEN bro!

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