The news this morning from the Chinese-owned MG brand that car production at Longbridge was finally over came some 110 years after the first car emerged from Herbert Austin’s converted printworks.
Truth is, Longbridge’s underused production lines haven’t only just fallen silent. That probably happened some months ago, when Chinese owners SAIC pulled the MG 6 from sale.
The best estimate is that MG didn’t manage to make even the modest 3000 a year of the big hatchback that it had planned for. The MG 3 supermini is already shipped in from overseas, as will be the new MG GS small SUV, which is made near Shanghai.
The company says only 25 production people will be made redundant, and it will be retaining 400 engineers at the SAIC Technical Centre, which is also located on the Longbridge site and is responsible for much of MG’s engineering and styling. MG’s sales and marketing staff will also stay at the Longbridge site.
However, for older Brits, the final demise of Longbridge will be something of a historic landmark. Back in the strife-torn 1960s and 1970s, Longbridge was the main stage for the monumental battle between the Unions and the UK Government.