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Nanjing Auto plans to ship MG 7 in bid to revive brand

From shanghaidaily.com| June 26 , 2007

NANJING Automobile Corp said yesterday it plans to start exporting its Chinese-made MG 7 series cars as early as the second half of next year, seeking to revive the UK's most famous car brand globally.

The Chinese owner of the bankrupt British car giant MG Rover aims to sell its MG 7 series premier sedans in Malaysia, Russia and Britain, said Tang Yuejin, vice general manager of Nanjing MG Automotive Co Ltd.

"We are be able to export at any time as we have passed all the technical tests including emission (standard) from VCA, the designated UK Vehicle Type Approval authority," said Tang.

But Tang said the company has no plans to build the model in its plant in Britain.

Nanjing Auto, China's oldest car maker with a more than 60-year history, outbid Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp to buy the failed British MG Rover Group for 53 million pounds (US$103 million) in July, 2005.

The car maker's plant in Nanjing, which is designed to turn out 200,000 units annually within five years, is also the main auto parts supplier to the former Rover plant at Longbridge in Birmingham, which just restarted making MG TF sports cars.

"We are confident of market acceptance because British cars have their unique features and are models of art compared with others," said Zhang Xin, general manager of Nanjing MG.

The first Chinese-made MG cars, costing between 200,000 yuan (US$26,315) and 400,000 yuan, will go on sale next month. The MG 3 series, a smaller-sized sedan with engine capacity of 1.4-liter will hit the market early next year.

Initially there will be 40 dealerships and more will be set up in Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities, Zhang said.

In addition to a US$2 billion investment in reviving the MG brand worldwide, Nanjing Auto also got a US$260 million loan from a Chinese policy bank in March as financial aid to expand production and go overseas.

SAIC, which acquired intellectual property rights of Rover 75 before MG Rover collapsed, has already launched the Roewe 750 at the end of last year.

In order to improve operational efficiency, Nanjing Auto is also eying to cooperate with SAIC, China's largest car maker, on a possible tie-up to develop the MG and Rover models.

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