Nanjing MG to launch own-brand cars in June

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 March, 2007, 12:00am

Nanjing MG Automotive, the newly formed unit of the mainland's oldest carmaker, will launch its first self-branded models in June to take on rival Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.

The company's MGTF and MG7 are among the three standard car models it plans to introduce this year with an aim to sell 10,000 units, 30 per cent of which to the overseas markets. The other model is MG3.

Nanjing MG will also launch at the end of this year economy cars targeting young professional families.

Nanjing Automotive Industry Corp, which will be 60 years old tomorrow, outbid SAIC for the assets and brand of British-based MG Rover two years ago for HK$1.02 billion.

The two firms are keen rivals as both are based in the east coast.

SAIC bought the intellectual property rights of Rover 25 and Rover 75 in 2004 and sold its first own-branded cars, Roewe 750, two months ago in the mainland.

Nanjing MG quality director Paul Stowe said there was nothing to worry about because SAIC and Nanjing MG were at the same starting point in selling self-branded cars.

Nanjing MG plans to use the relatively unfamiliar MG Rover brand in the mainland to position itself between Audi and BMW in the market. It has not disclosed the selling prices of the new models.

'MG is a Chinese car brand now. We're targeting the middle class in China and trying to create an atmosphere of collecting classy cars,' Mr Stowe said.

For the exports market, Nanjing MG will sell its products to Europe where MG Rover had extensive distribution networks. Other markets include Russia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau.

'Our cars are built with European standards, so we have no difficulties in selling the cars in the European markets,' Mr Stowe said.

Nanjing Automotive hopes the acquisition of the MG brand will help it expand in Europe, where its venture with Italian-based Fiat has not been doing well.

Nanjing MG runs a factory in Nanjing, which has a production capacity of 250,000 units, and another in Longbridge, Britain, with a capacity of 10,000 units.

'About reviving the factory in Oklahoma of the United States, it's still an aspiration now. We also hope that the factory in the US can begin operations very soon,' Mr Stowe said.


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