Nanjing says it plans to renew production of the MG TF sports car in 2007.
The agreement will see Nanjing pay rent of £1.8 million per annum on 105 acres of the 469-acre site. This comprises the South Works of the former MG Rover plant, which incorporates two car assembly plants, the paint shop and administrative offices, together totalling more than 2 million square feet. Interestingly, the lease terms incorporate a six-month break clause in case Nanjing is unable to confirm a viable long-term future for the site.
However Nanjing’s acquisition only included the rights to use the MG brand, as the Rover brand is till owned by former parent company BMW. But the Rover name is up for sale and “several parties…are interested” in it, the BBC quoted BMW chief executive, Helmut Panke as saying.
Commenting on the lease announcement, Mr Wang Hongbiao, chairman of Nanjing Automobile Corporation (UK) Ltd said: “I am delighted that we have reached an arrangement with St. Modwen Properties. This means that we can move forward with our business plan to build cars at Longbridge. The MG Brand is famous and we are proud to project it into an exciting future. We are grateful for the help and support Birmingham City Council has given us throughout this process and look forward to working with them in the future.”
Cllr. Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “Since the announcement of the closure of MG Rover in April 2005, I have been determined to bring about a resumption of car building at the historically significant site of Longbridge. We have worked tirelessly with NAC to develop a relationship of trust and confidence – which are the essential prerequisites of any deal.”