24 September 2016
SAIC MG Gone From UK Manufacturing
When I did some research for an article on the subject of MG production in the UK, it became apparent that whether there was car production at all was a source of much speculation - often leading to friction on certain forums. Part of the problem was cars were assembled (from kits) in batches as there wasn't enough volume to have ongoing production. So whenever the assembly line stopped, some said that was the end while others said not so. Then another batch would be processed.
The cars were only for the UK and many noted the dealer network and sales promotion was poor. Budget brand Dacia could use Renault dealerships but MG had to build its dealer network from scratch. This slow build up process and stop-start assembly style didn't make the operation cost effective. I said this in a recent article on the subject (which can be seen by clicking here): It amazes me that in the 21st century, where everything is hurried and has to be of enormous scale, this small assembly operation exists at all. Yet it is working and is growing.
Now we know such a small assembly operation and limited sales didn't add up at all. Future cars will be imported from Asia. I would never have tried what SAIC did. Surely a better way would have been build up the dealer network and sales before considering the feasibility of local assembly.
It will hardly impact on the local economy as few were involved in such a basic and limited arrangement of production. Most staff employed by SAIC in the UK are in design and engineering and that will remain. It had more of a symbolic meaning. At least now the warring factions who seemed to be irritated over whether car assembly is happening or not can now return to peaceful co-existence.
Picture source: Autocar.