SAIC confirms Longbridge production of MG3 to start in 2013

THE Chinese parent of MG has confirmed its Birmingham-based operation will be the centre of European manufacturing for its MG3 Supermini.

SAIC plans to begin production of the new vehicle at Longbridge from next year. The move is part of the £4.5bn global investment by the Chinese manufacturer.

SAIC already has its European design and technical centre at Longbridge and the investment will see further capital injected into the Birmingham operation to support the development of further new models.

The majority of engineering and design work for the global manufacturer takes place in the UK, where SAIC is keen to trade on the world-class engineering capability and expertise of the MG Motor staff.

As momentum grows for the MG brand, SAIC is also planning to introduce vehicles in new markets, including Egypt and Uruguay.

The Chinese company is hoping the new supermini will prove popular with European buyers. Sales of MG3 cars in China have been particularly strong and the car is one of the biggest sellers in its class.

The version of the vehicle destined for European markets will be of a higher specification to cater for the more sophisticated tastes of buyers here.

SAIC is also deliberately trading on the Britishness of the brand in its Chinese marketing, where it is portraying the car in the same way as BMW does with the Mini. There are even versions with a Union Jack roof.