NAC has hit back at claims that its UK intentions are disintegrating after its body panel supplier Stadco pulled out yesterday and the launch of the new TF has been put back several times.
NAC MG told the Birmingham Post: “Initial volume production for the TF is insufficient for Stadco to make a profit, making the venture uneconomical for them.
“NAC remains committed to the re-launch of the MG TF and Longbridge. To date it has invested £38.4m including research and development in the project and is working to ensure that its products are of the very highest quality. It is not thought that this current situation will affect the TF launch.”
Meanwhile, Tim Parker, regional officer for Unite, has said the fact that NAC has now merged with the larger Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, meant that it now has the financial means to make TF production happen at Longbridge.
Parker said: "There are positives and negatives to this. On the negative side, with Nanjing, we would say that they never had the expertise and more importantly the financial resources to really make that operation in Longbridge a runner.
"We are obviously disappointed that they stripped out a lot of resources and sent a lot of the machinery to China, but at the same time, they claimed they would be producing up to 50,000 units and creating 2,000 to 5,000 jobs and this has never really materialised and we believe, to a degree, that they have been a little reluctant to enter into proper cooperation with the union.
"Having said that, SAIC are entering into this and are senior partner now and they do have expertise and financial resources, so we are a little more upbeat about how the future might look and if that was to continue. There is a fairly good chance that we will see cars rolling off the production line."
Other union representatives are now seeking an urgent meeting with Nanjing to clarify their inentions for the future of Longbridge.