MG6 Components sourced in UK


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    MG6 Components sourced in UK

    Post by Windy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:16 am

    Longbridge assembly line ready to turn out cars once more

    Ian Wheelwright can scarcely believe he’s back on the production line at Longbridge as it gears up to start turning out cars once more.

    In 2005 he was one of around 6,000 workers who lost their jobs following the collapse of MG Rover.

    Many believed that this would signal the end of the road for one of the world’s great vehicle making centres.

    But the firm’s new Chinese owners had other ideas and have spent the last five years paving the way for the return of car assembly at Longbridge, albeit on a far smaller scale than in its glory days.

    Operations began with the production of an updated version of the MG TF roadster, a project which met with only limited success as the car was based on an ageing design. But in a few weeks’ time UK assembly will start on the MG6 Fastback, the first all-new MG for some 16 years.

    The Fastback hatchback will arrive in showrooms towards the end of the month and will be followed by a saloon in July.

    Prices will range from £16,000 to £20,000 and the firm hopes buyers will be enticed by the car’s sporty driving dynamics and high level of standard specification.

    And among the 40 workers who will be assembling the cars for the UK market is 34-year-old Ian, of Coppice Avenue, Stourbridge. Around 95 per cent of production line workers are former Longbridge staffers like Ian who have returned to their former place of employment.

    After losing his job in 2005 Ian re-trained as an electrician and subsequently worked for Birmingham Council. But he says that car making is ‘in the blood’ and jumped at the chance to join the new MG Motor company when it was recruiting workers for the TF project three years ago.

    “There’s been a lot of doom and gloom but now we are nearly ready to take off again,” he says. Staff working on the former production line used for the Rover 75 will not be creating cars from scratch.

    MG6s are partly built in China and by the time they are shipped over to Felixstowe, around three quarters of the production process has already taken place. Cars arrive following their four-week voyage already painted and with the interiors fitted.

    UK workers have to build and fit the engines, as well as installing the front suspension and subframe, exhaust system and electrics.

    Ian says the strict job demarcation lines of the old days have long gone.

    “You have to be multi-skilled these days. The key thing is to be flexible.”

    Manufacturing manager Craig Osman, another former MG Rover man, is anticipating assembling 2,000 MG6 hatchbacks and saloons in the first full year of production.

    He says his staff can produce up to 5,000 vehicles annually, while the plant, which still occupies 60 acres of land at Longbridge, is capable of producing 100,000 cars — should the demand be there.

    “It’s an exciting time for the company and we are nearly there now.”

    As far as components go, electrical items are sourced in the UK and the tyres come from Dunlop, but the bulk of the parts are made in China.

    MG’s owner, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, (SAIC), is determined to get the launch of the vehicle right.

    While the British arm of MG may still be relatively small it is backed by the might of SAIC, a firm which sold 3.58 million cars last year making it one of the top ten manufacturers in the world.

    It has already invested £45 million in updating Longbridge and the costs of developing the new models are estimated at hundreds of millions of pounds.

    SAIC has already opened a European technical centre and design studio which together employ 300 workers at Longbridge.

    A £5 million engine testing unit will open in a few weeks’ time on the site.

    Around two dozen dealers are set to join the UK network of 39 in the run-up to the launch of the MG6 Fastback.
    What does not look likely, however, is a return to major league car production at Longbridge.

    Even if the MG6 is a roaring success it would result in the creation of hundreds rather than thousands of jobs in the West Midlands.

    But at least Longbridge is up and running and looking forward to a more positive future.

    As Ian Wheelwright says: “It’s just great that it’s still here. . .”


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    Re: MG6 Components sourced in UK

    Post by patpending on Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:45 pm

    I see the cars are coming via Felixstowe.

    So will we be able to say we were overtaken by three MG6s on the A14?

      Current date/time is Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:05 pm