Nanjing Oklahoma Move 'A Classic' an American Love Affair and Hard-Nosed Economics Should Ensure Production of MGs in the United States Is a Success, as Manufacturing Editor John Revill Reports
Byline: John Revill
The move by Nanjing Automobile Corporation to set up a factory in the US shows the company's ambition to be a global automotive player.
The American public's love affair with the MG brand could also prove the making of the Oklahoma venture, according to Peter Cooke, KPMG professor of automotive industry management at Nottingham Business School.
"This is the classic behaviour of a global automotive player. If you want to be a global player these days you have to have sites in North America, Europe and Asia," said Prof Cooke.
"The common wisdom is also if you are assembling in a local market, that gives you market share, because people regard you as a local player."
The strong brand of MG would make it attractive in America again, Prof Cooke added. "The MG brand has been damaged by the MG Rover collapse, and this is probably the last time it could be relaunched again in America.
"But in America the MG name is still powerful for sports cars and niche cars. Of course they will have to produce something special."
Nanjing Automobile would have to work hard to make sure the new vehicles passed the federal safety standards which eventually led to the MGB being withdrawn from sale in 1980.
Nanjing will rely heavily on the expertise of major suppliers to meet global quality, emissions and safety standards. MG, short for Morris Garages, got its start in 1923 building sporty versions of Morris economy cars.
The first MGs came to the United States in volume in 1947 and began the British sports car craze. They were sold at US dealerships until 1980.
Oklahoma would prove attractive to NAC because of subsidies which would be available from the American government, while it also had a good location in the centre of the US. …