Chinese MGs Assembled In OK?

≡ Category: MG |

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Wow! Take one abandoned British automotive icon, mix in a huge chunk of Chinese money and manufacturing expertise and shake, not stir, in an Oklahoma Indian tribe and what’ve you got? Well, maybe the next entry-level European sports car assembled in Ardmore, Oklahoma! From the Business section of today’s LA Times:

A struggling Chinese manufacturer, the remnants of a failed British automaker and an ambitious American Indian tribe plan to pool their resources to rescue the iconic MG sports car from the automotive junkyard.

A consortium led by Nanjing Automobile Group announced a $2-billion plan Wednesday to construct a state-of-the art production facility in China, reopen a shuttered MG factory in England and open an assembly plant and a distribution center in the small town of Ardmore, Okla.

If the Nanjing-led group succeeds in rolling out the MG TF coupe by the middle of 2008, it could enter the U.S. market ahead of larger Chinese rivals Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and Chery Automobile Co.

So, what will OK get out of it?

The Chinese-led group also will create 500 jobs in a state that has been hit hard by restructuring in the auto industry. This year General Motors Corp. closed a plant in Oklahoma City that employed 2,400 people.
Amy Polonchek, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, said the project was expected to deliver about $69 million in direct investment and generate $189 million in new economic activity.

And, why the Indian connection? What do the Chickasaws bring to the party?

The new MG team also is counting on additional help from the Chickasaws, a 38,000-member tribe based in Ada, Okla. Under federal law, Indian tribes are considered sovereign nations and are exempt from paying taxes. Hale said his group was researching ways that the MG operation could benefit financially from a partnership with the tribe.

“I can tell you, there may be some unique tax advantages there,” he said.

Some ol’ song — Money, money, money!

I always hated that the British car industry gave up and died. The cars weren’t very good, especially compared to the Japanese clones of the day, but they had something that car manufacturers are only recently understanding again — character.

They better imbibe this newest MG with tons of that — otherwise it’s just another Asian clone of something that wasn’t exactly great, but was unique and entertaining.



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