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China To Bring Back The MG

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The Chinese are going to win my prize: Car Saviors of the Decade. Maybe it should be for a number of decades. They promise to bring the MG back to the world. The New York Times reported that the Nanjing Automobile Group of China announced plans to re-create the MG motor care marque (car line to American aficionados) from the ruins of the now bankrupt MG-Rover company of England who made the MG Ts, the MGAs and Bs and just plain made a generation or two of people who love cars happy. The plans are to create a "tri-continental car company" from China, England and the United States.

The Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation (Yuejin Motor Group Corporation, China's oldest car maker, founded in 1947) is a state-owned enterprise with 16,000 employees. The group occupies an area of 4,000,000 m², has fixed assets amounting to RMB 12 billion and an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles. The group's major products are cars, trucks, and travel buses.

Car brands owned by NAC
* Soyat (Chinese car brand, their models are licensed by SEAT and Isuzu)
* MG (Acquired MG Rover Group and Powertrain Ltd assets, including the brands: Wolseley, Austin, Morris, Vanden Plas (outside the US & Canada), American Austin, Princess, Austin-Healey and Sterling)
Truck brands owned by NAC:
*  Yuejin
NAC Joint Ventures:
* Nanjing-Fiat
* Nanjing-Iveco

The company plans a news conference and announcement of the location of a plant in Oklahoma. They plan to build an MG TF coupe to compete in the Mazda Miata class. The machines should have a selling price in the neighborhood of $US 20-25,000 and be produced starting in 2008.

It also will assemble a convertible TF Roadster version at MG’s now-shuttered factory in Longbridge, England, and three sedan models in China. American and European operations for MG Motors will be based in Oklahoma City, 90 miles north of the new factory in Ardmore, Okla.

The Nanjing Company is creating a unique niche in the world car market by restoring a famous marque and thereby attracting a loyal base of MG enthusiasts, many of whom live in the US. The MG Owners Club based in the U.K.
run out of a large MG parts shop near Cambridge, England, has about 40,000 members worldwide. Many live in the United States, despite the brand’s 26-year absence here.

MG began in the 1920s as Morris Garages and became an international symbol of freedom and non-conformity in the '40s and '50s when soldiers brought them and their memories back to the States. I even remember Rock Hudson folding himself into an MG TD in some long-ago comedy. The movie is forgotten, but MG TDs can never be forgotten. In many ways they are the symbol of the sports car that was. David E. Davis, Jr. who runs an on-line magazine called Winding Road says — and I cannot argue as the once owner of an MGA 1500 coupe,
“MG was really an integral part of the foreign car revolution that started in the late 40’s and early 50’s,” Mr. Davis said. “They weren’t terribly good cars, but they were so different and they were so much fun to drive that we all forgave them for their lack of reliability and fragility."

Nanjing promises the coupe, a roadster made in the British facility and three sedans made in China. Happy faces may be found in the MG Enthusiasts Club in Britain. At least, hopeful faces. The site includes a Buying Guide. A new $20,000 model might make it easier to own the MG marque than these prices:
Australia was a popular destination for new MGAs and the cars’ ongoing desirability has ensured high survival levels with most of those available being 1500 and 1600 Mk 1 Roadsters.

The Mark 2 and Twin-Cam are rare while the Fixed Head Coupe wasn't popular here and is also scarce. For practical and aesthetic reasons wire-wheeled cars command better money than those with drilled steel rims.

Prices are reasonable with $15.000 buying an older restoration needing minimal mechanical and cosmetic refurbishing.

Top-quality recent restorations will cost $10,000 more and cars with concourse potential $30,000-35,000.

I bought my 1959 MGA 1500 twin-cam coupe (the coupes were rare and had roll-up glass windows and non-leaking roofs) in about 1963 for $900 — a gigantic sum. It had wire wheels, knock-off hubs and a continental kit I removed. I painted it silver, pulled off the vinyl dashboard cover and finished the wood. Then covered the cracked leather seats with black naugahyde. It was one of the prettiest cars in car-culture Tampa and I made the best of it. I loved that car and even managed (I was thin then) to make love in it. It was the essence of sporty and the crux of fun. I owned a lot of cars after that including a '59 Mercedes, a new Saab (sob with a Saab), a raft of wonderful Volvos including two fine Volvo 164s, an Alpine (junk), a new 2001 Jetta built in Mexico (sturdy and fast but conservative) and my beloved '86 Bronco 4×4 302 which I am now renovating to get a few more miles out of it (past the 250,000 it has). Nothing touches the MG for joy and dreams of youth and freedom, fun and sex. I scanned an ancient print of me (the cropped out 18 year old) and left in the sexy beauty of that coupe.

Happy memories. Searching for more information on the Chinese group and the state of the UK facility I did discover that MG continues to be made and distributed in some countries — the U.S. is not one of them and the Lebanese showroom may not be full this week. They offer models of MG and, I assume, the Chinese influence could bring the car back to our shores and provide further stability. The future remains to be seen. My view of the past catalyzed by this press release gave me pleasure in the memory of a great machine.

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About hfdratch

  • http://www.china-motors.ru Chery

    In Russia now chinese cars is 10% from all cars
    In Russian: Chery, Great Wall, Geely

    in English: Chery, Great Wall, Geely

  • Mallory Starr

    This will be a huge success if the model is based on the classic 1953 MGTD or TF. The appeal of such a classic design is unbelievable. I wish you all well.

    R. Mallory Starr, Jr.
    President
    US Asian Cultural Academy
    Director
    Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group

  • http://www.InPlainEnglish.com Ronald Wohl

    I would love to find an MG-TD or F custom built to US driving and safety standards with electric windows, electric door locks, gps and other modern car features. The MG T series is so classically good looking, they deserve a return just for the exterior design!

  • U.S. Naval Academy

    2009 Biannual International Forum on Asia-Middle East Studies

    Transcending Borders: Asia, Middle East, and the Global Community

    October 16-17, 2009, Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.A.

    While the United States was deeply involved in negotiating peace between Israel and the Palestinians and fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia have been quietly developing frequent economic, political, and cultural interaction with the Middle East. Countries such as China and Japan pay close attention to the Middle East because of their strong ties to the region. Indeed their roles in the Middle East have become so prominent that they should be acknowledged and closely observed. The “Transcending Borders: Asia, Middle East, and the Global Community” conference, hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy’s Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, U.S. Asian Cultural Academy, the Shanghai International Studies University, and the Library of Congress Asian Division, aims to provide a platform for western and Asian scholars to converge and exchange views on major issues concerning the Middle East and its relationship with Asia, the U.S., and the rest of the world.

    The 2009 Biannual International Forum on Asia-Middle East Studies plans to invite scholars with strong interest and specializations in Asia-Middle East relations to present their papers on the following suggested subjects:

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    – Both broad theoretical studies and specific case studies are welcome. Paper proposals (no more than 200 words) & a 1-page biography are due by 1 May 2009, and should be submitted electronically to:

    Transcending Borders: Asia, Middle East, and the Global Community
    Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies
    U.S. Naval Academy
    Annapolis, Maryland USA 21402

    – This is an interdisciplinary conference. Participants will include academics, diplomats, military officers and other interested individuals.

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    Brannon Wheeler, Director
    Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies
    107 Maryland Avenue
    United States Naval Academy
    Annapolis, MD 21402

    Anchi Hoh, Assistant to Chief
    Asia Division, Library of Congress
    101 Independence Ave., SE
    Washington, DC 20540-4810