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Nanjing to miss MG Rover deadline

Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile will miss its year-end deadline to finalise plans for reviving production at the MG Rover site.

Nanjing was still searching for financial backers and a new management team despite forecasts it made two-and-a-half months ago that final plans to revive car production would be announced by year-end, a source said.

Nanjing made some progress last month when it signed a memorandum of understanding to sell the Austin-Healy brand to partner GB Sports Car but there was still a lot of work to do.

"The memorandum is just another step along the way rather than fixing anything in concrete. The business plan needs to be fully sorted," one source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Nanjing, which bought the assets of the former iconic British carmaker after its collapse in April, said in September it planned to revive production at the Longbridge plant by 2007 and create 1,200 jobs at the site.

Nanjing vice-president Wang Qiu Jing said in a statement on September27 it expected to complete a combined business plan with its partners in two to three months and it would issue a statement once finalised.

Nanjing has declined to comment since September amid fears a deal may fall through.

"I think we have moved from a position of scepticism towards one of pessimism," an industry source said.

MG Rover collapsed under debts of £1.4bn in April this year, resulting in 5,000 job losses when Longbridge closed.

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