Nanjing Automotive is to split the revival of the MG brand between the firm's old factory in Longbridge and a new plant in the United States.
A press conference in Oklahoma yesterday confirmed that a new factory in the town of Ardmore will employ 500 people building a hardtop coupe version of the MG TF. Only the convertible MG TF roadster will be built in Longbridge. Nanjing also says it intends to build three saloon models in China.
The news that production of the coupe is being taken to the USA - and the fact that a large chunk of the $2 billion (£1.2 million) funding for the project is coming from government and state grants - will come as a blow to the unemployed MG/Rover workforce. Nanjing has also confirmed that its research and development centre will be based in Ardmore, killing off speculation that it would retain engineering facilities in the Midlands.
The firm's newly-appointed CEO, US car executive Duke T Hale, said, "The prospect of using 25 years of executive experience at Volvo, Mazda, Isuzu and Lotus to restore MG to the automotive landscape is an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down. Now that we’ve finalised the important financial, manufacturing and product planning details of this new venture, I’m well along in recruiting a team of experienced auto industry executives to join me. A key ingredient in that effort has been to find the right home to build a completely new model for a global automotive enterprise. I’m confident that Oklahoma fits that description perfectly."
Nanjing expects manufacturing to start at the Ardmore plant in autumn 2008. It has not yet stated how many jobs it expects to create at Longbridge, but these details could be confirmed at its pre-British motor show press launch early next week. Keep checking autocar.co.uk for details.