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Owners’ club to get MG franchise

In an industry first, Nanjing Automotive Corporation UK has awarded an MG new car sales franchise to the MG Owners’ Club. It becomes the 13th dealer to be awarded the franchise.

The dealership – Advantage MG – will trade as a business independent from the club, but based at MGOC’s headquarters in Swavesey, Cambridgeshire.

MGOC applied for the franchise when the Chinese manufacturer appealed for dealers at the start of the year. The two have been in regular contact since Nanjing bought MG Rover’s assets in 2005.

The club will adapt its current facilities to make way for a showroom displaying Nanjing’s new MG TF roadsters. The headquarters already has an approved XPart MG Rover Specialist Auto Service Centre.

Richard Monk, MGOC chairman, told AM the partnership with Nanjing will not jeopardise relations with MGOC members.

He added: “It doesn’t create a problem at all. I think they’ll be enthused about the idea. Who better to sort out problems or questions about their new MG?

“Advantage MG will be focusing on a simplified way of working. It’s a completely new direction for MGOC and will be a completely new business model for the industry,” he said.

Monk said Advantage MG would build up the business “professionally and slowly”.

No new staff will be recruited for the franchise. Instead, Monk will transfer some of MGOCs existing 60 staff. Four or five sales executives are ready to fill roles.

Administration will be handled largely by MGOC’s human resources department and it already has MG trained technicians in the XPart workshop.

Some contract details are still to be finalised, but Monk told AM he was “100% committed” to becoming a franchisee, and he expected completion by mid August.

Advantage MG is still waiting on Nanjing’s corporate identity and showroom requirements. Pricing of the MG TF and warranty provision is also yet to be announced.

Professor Garel Rhys, automotive professor at Cardiff University business school, said granting a franchise to MGOC was an innovative move by Nanjing.

“Advantage MG will feel like it is guarding the soul of MG and Nanjing will benefit from the link to the club’s British heritage.”

Professor Rhys doesn’t believe the link with MGOC will give Advantage MG an unfair advantage. “Dealers will just regard it as a variation on the normal franchise arrangements,” he said.

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