MG Rover is planning to develop at least three new models in collaboration with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, and it’s also likely that SAIC will build the Rover 75 in China. The two companies have signed a technology transfer agreement, and although details have yet to be unveiled, it’s thought that Chinese build of the 75 could form the first stage of the collaboration. If this part of the deal goes ahead, MG Rover would earn significant sums in return. Chinese government approval, essential in such deals, is expected early next year.
SAIC is the biggest manufacturer in China, and already has collaborative deals with General Motors and Volkswagen. But it only builds models under licence from both manufacturers – the MG Rover deal differs in that it will allow SAIC to jointly develop new cars for the first time and acquire vehicle design and engineering expertise. SAIC is ambitious – it has previously announced that it wants to be the world’s sixth largest car-maker by 2020.
Collaboration on the the much-delayed new medium car, codenamed RD/X60, is also expected to be a central part of the deal. The companies are also expected to work on a new supermini to replace the Rover 25 and MG ZR, as well as a new executive model that will eventually replace the 75. This car will be of particular interest to SAIC, as executive saloons are popular in China.