British brand MG, which is owned by Chinese automotive giant SAIC, will not produce its range of cars at its Longbridge plant
Jimi Beckwith
23 September 2016

MG has ceased production of cars at its Longbridge plant, five years after the brand started producing cars there once more.

Production now takes place in China, ending MG's UK-based finishing production. The move has been under consideration for as long as two years, according to MG's head of sales and marketing, Matthew Cheyne. 

Read our thoughts on the shutdown of Longbridge here

Cheyne explained that there were many reasons for the relocation, but the main reason for the decision was MG looking to streamline its production process because its UK plant's production output could not compete with its larger, more modern facilities in China.

"Small volumes aren’t economically viable at a site of Longbridge's size. Elsewhere in the world we have state-of-the-art facilities, so it's more cost-effective to import and build them elsewhere. There was no efficient way to carry on doing it in the UK.," Cheyne explained.

Despite the loss of 25 jobs at the Longbridge plant, the MG facility will still continue to employ more than 300 people, with new recruits having been taken on in other areas of business. MG's development of its model range will continue to be UK-based though, as Cheyne revealed the company's investment in a new £1.2million test-bed for new models. Sales, marketing and aftersales are also here to stay.

The move away from UK production is also partially due to the UK's vote to leave the European Union, according to Cheyne. He explained that since the value of the pound dropped following the Brexit vote, the cost to MG of producing its product range rose, rendering the production operations in the UK no longer cost-effective.

Alongside the move, MG is also starting a new initiative to build a more global product line-up, rather than starting with a car destined for international markets, then re-engineering and designing it to fit into the UK market. Cheyne also denied that the move would have any impact on the price of MG cars, given the economic benefits of moving production overseas.

According to the BBC, the move has drawn criticism from local Labour MP for Birmingham, who dubbed the pull-out “hugely disappointing and premature”.

MG's market share, according to the most recent set of official industry statistics, was 0.12% in August this year. 

The news of the wind-down of production comes just one day after the SMMT announced a 14-year high for UK car production figures for August, although MG's limited domestic sales mean that this is unlikely to be considerably impacted.

Cheyne explained that the move would not affect MG's upcoming product plans, including the production of a new small SUV to sit below the brand's current GS SUV. He remained optimistic about MG's future in the country, stating: "Going forward, we have the availability for production to build in China and other markets. We're part of a massive global company, which we haven’t been taking advantage of, which we now can."

Production at the Longbridge plant re-started in 2011, following a 16-year hiatus after Rover and MG went under in 2005.

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Comments
43

23 September 2016
before they pull out of the UK altogether I wouldn't have thought, the current range is not very good and has got nothing to do with the old MG company apart from the name, can't say I've ever seen one on the road since they came back.

23 September 2016
If ending production has only resulted in 25 jobs lost, it is little wonder they couldn't sell more cars over here. Those 25 workers must have been working their butts off!

23 September 2016
Jeremy wrote:

If ending production has only resulted in 25 jobs lost, it is little wonder they couldn't sell more cars over here. Those 25 workers must have been working their butts off!

I doubt it! 25 people to screw an MG badge on what? one car a week?.. oh and peel off the bubble wrap.

23 September 2016
Surely these figures make the business unsustainable:

https://www.howmanyleft.co.uk/make/mg#!newreg

23 September 2016
I would sincerely hope not

289

23 September 2016
One less 'joke' crap car in the market.
I don't think anyone has 'bought into' the MG badge nailed to a deeply underwhelming Chinese 'Junk' box.
The market is too sophisticated in Europe now for anything of this low calibre to gain a foothold. Especially now that everyone is buying premium product at cheap PCP monthly rates.

23 September 2016
"partially down to the UK's vote to leave the European Union" - BS. Currency swings are normal and that following Brexit has not been excessive. Besides, it would make exported MGs cheaper and if prices in their supply chain are only locked in for some 2 months, then they have a lot more problems going on. A more plausible explanation may be that the attempt to sell MGs in the UK has failed and with 0.12% of the market and only 25 jobs lost, I'd say that's more likely.

23 September 2016
k12479 wrote:

"partially down to the UK's vote to leave the European Union" - BS. Currency swings are normal and that following Brexit has not been excessive. Besides, it would make exported MGs cheaper and if prices in their supply chain are only locked in for some 2 months, then they have a lot more problems going on. A more plausible explanation may be that the attempt to sell MGs in the UK has failed and with 0.12% of the market and only 25 jobs lost, I'd say that's more likely.

Thank you for your expert opinion. I'm sure you know better than the company managers LOL.

23 September 2016
Well, as I can't recall seeing any new MGs on the roads and they're now shutting things down, I'd say they haven't been expert managers either.

23 September 2016
I side with k12479, MG is sadly a failure, pre Brexit they were crap... Don't tell me you drive one of these poor excuses for a car.

If anything a weaker pound should will have cut UK production costs, many successful UK businesses who export great UK products were fine pre Brexit and are doing fine now... Suggest you do your research before trolling a good contribution.

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