Chinese maker Nanjing Automotive has plans for British family car brand
19 February 2007

Nanjing Automotive Corporation, the Chinese buyer of MG and of most of MG Rover's Longbridge production facilities, looks set to resurrect the Austin brand for its new small and mid-sized models. The Chinese car manufacturer bought MG's 'heritage brands' along with MG from the ruins of the demise of MG Rover in 2005, and they included Austin, Morris and Wolseley. Last last week, one of NAC's directors revealed that it has plans for at least one of the brands in that collection; it's going to turn Austin into its budget brand.“Austin is a fantastic brand with an enormous worldwide appeal,” NAC’s Quality Director Paul Stowe told the MG-Rover.org website. “It has a very different heritage to MG, and this allows us to develop and market a very different range of vehicles. For this reason I can definitely see the re-emergence of Austin in less than five years.”NAC is scheduled to re-start production of the “TF2” roadster and ZT saloon (rebranded as the 7Z) in March, with partial assembly of British market TFs set to take place in the company’s modest facility on the former MG Rover site at Longbridge. Stowe’s comments give a strong indication that the two new model ranges that will replace the erstwhile supermini-sized MG ZR, and the Golf-sized MG ZS, will carry Austin badging. He also suggested that Lotus was involved in the development of both.NAC will also offer European versions of the 7Z with a diesel engine from a third party supplier, probably Fiat’s proven 1.9 litre unit. “It is our intention to supply vehicles to a global market, and a global market expects a range of diesel engines,” said Stowe. “I think that everyone will be pleasantly surprised by the strategic decision we have decided to adopt, and how advanced our diesel strategy is.”

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