The History of MG

   

MG Cars is a former British sports car manufacturer, which was founded in 1924, the creator of the MG brand.
MG Cars is best known for its two-seat open sports cars, but MG also produced saloons and coupés. More recently, the MG marque has also been used on sportier versions of other models belonging to the parent company.
The MG marque was in continuous use (barring the years of the Second World War) for 56 years after its inception. Production of predominantly two-seater sports cars was concentrated at a factory in Abingdon, some 10 miles south of Oxford. The British Motor Corporation (BMC) competition department was also based at the Abingdon plant and produced many winning rally and race cars. In the autumn of 1980, however, the Abingdon factory closed and MGB production ceased.
Between 1982 and 1991, the MG marque was revived on sportier versions of Austin Rover's Metro, Maestro and Montego ranges. After an interval of barely one year, the MG marque was revived again, this time on the MG RV8 an updated MGB Roadster with a Rover V8 engine, which was produced in low volumes.
The "real" revival came in the summer of 1995, when the high volume MG F two-seater roadster was launched. This was an instant hit with buyers, and sold in volumes which had been unthinkable on affordable two-seaters since the 1970s.
The MG marque passed, along with the Rover marque to the MG Rover group in May 2000, when BMW 'broke up' the Rover Group. This arrangement saw the return of MG badges on sportier Rover-based cars, and a revised MG F model, known as the MG TF, launched in 2002. However, all production ceased in April 2005 when MG Rover went into administration.
The assets of MG Rover were bought by Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile in July 2005 who themselves were bought by SAIC in December 2007.
In 2007 production of the MG TF roadster and MG 7 large sports saloon (derived from the previous Rover 75/MG ZT model) started in China. Assembly of MG TFs for the European market, from Chinese built complete knock down (CKD) kits, was started by NAC MG UK at Longbridge in August 2008.
MG Cars got its name from Morris Garages, a dealer of Morris cars in Oxford which began producing its own customised versions to the designs of Cecil Kimber who had joined the company as its Sales Manager in 1921 and was promoted to General Manager in 1922.  Kimber remained as General Manager until 1941 when he fell out with Lord Nuffield over procuring wartime work. Kimber died in 1945 in a freak railway accident.
The first cars which were rebodied Morris models using coachwork from Carbodies of Coventry and were built in premises in Alfred Lane, Oxford but demand soon caused a move to larger premises in Bainton Road in September 1925 sharing space with the Morris radiator works. Continuing expansion meant another move in 1927 to a separate factory in Edmund Road, Cowley, Oxford, near the main Morris factory and for the first time it was possible to include a production line. In 1928 the company had become large enough to warrant an identity separate from the original Morris Garages and the M.G. Car Company Limited was established in March of that year and in October for the first time a stand was taken at the London Motor Show. Space again soon ran out and a search for a permanent home led to the lease of part an old leather factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire in 1929, gradually taking over more space until production ended there in 1980.
Originally owned personally by William Morris, the company was sold to Morris Motors (itself part of the Nuffield Organisation) in 1935.
MG was absorbed into the British Motor Corporation, created in 1952 as a merger of the Nuffield Organisation and the Austin Motor Company.  Under BMC, several MG models were no more than badge-engineered versions of other marques, with the main exception being the small MG sports cars. BMC merged with Jaguar Cars in 1966 to form British Motor Holdings, which in turn merged with the Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968 to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC).
Following partial nationalisation in 1975 BLMC became British Leyland (later just BL). Amidst a mix of economic, internal and external politics, the Abingdon factory was shut down and later forms of MGs built by BL's Austin Rover Group were often badge-engineered Austins, and were made at the Longbridge plant.
After BL became the Rover Group in 1986, ownership of the MG marque passed to British Aerospace in 1988 and then in 1994 to BMW.
BMW sold the business in 2000 and the MG marque passed to the MG Rover Group based in Longbridge, Birmingham. The practice of selling unique MG sports cars alongside badge-engineered models (by now Rovers) continued. The Group went into receivership in 2005 and car production was suspended on 7 April 2005.
In 2006, it was reported that an initiative called Project Kimber, led by David James, had entered talks with Nanjing to buy the MG brand in order to produce a range of sports cars based on the discontinued Smart Roadster design by DaimlerChrysler. No agreement was reached, which resulted in the AC Cars marque being adopted for the new model instead.
On 22 July 2005, the Nanjing Automobile Group purchased the rights to the MG brand and the assets of the MG Rover Group for £53 million creating a new company NAC MG UK Limited. Its new Chinese owners, stated that the brand would stand for something new in China, as MG general manager Zhang Xin said: "We want Chinese consumers to know this brand as 'Modern Gentleman'. To see that this brand represents grace and style." In Europe it still stands for "Morris Garages".
Nanjing restarted production of the MG TF and ZT ranges in early 2007. The TF and the ZT (renamed the MG 7) are assembled in Pukou, Jiangsu Province in China. The MG 3, a rebadged Rover Streetwise, also entered production at Pukou.
On 11 July 2006 Nanjing announced the development of a TF sports coupé. A new plant was to be built in Ardmore, Oklahoma to build the car, accounting for roughly 60% of TF output worldwide. A new development centre would also be opened in the United States, located at the University of Oklahoma. According to Nanjing, MGs were to go on sale in the United States in the early summer of 2008. However, in an interview in August, 2008, NAC MG UK's Sales and Marketing Director, Gary Hagen stated that the Oklahoma deal had fallen through. He also said that there would be no immediate return to the US market as they would first be concentrating on the UK and Ireland followed by the rest of Europe.
In 2007, NAC entered talks about a merger with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, supported by the Chinese government. The takeover was completed on 26 December 2007. SAIC manufactures the Roewe 750, which, like the MG 7, is derived from the Rover 75/MG ZT.
The MG range was relaunched in Britain during 2008, with an updated limited edition of the TF built at Longbridge by NAC MG UK, called the TF LE500. Production of the TF at Longbridge was suspended again in October 2009.
In January 2009, NAC MG UK was renamed MG Motor UK Limited.
The MG 6 hatchback variant of the Roewe 550 was announced in April 2009.  It is expected that this model will be assembled both in China, starting in 2010, and at Longbridge, in 2011.

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