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SAIC to bring MG brand back to the UK in 2010

SHANGHAI – SAIC Motor (600104.SH), the passenger car subsidiary of China’s biggest automaker SAIC, will start manufacturing its self-developed MG series sedans at its UK plant, with plans to sell them across the European Union by the end of the year, reported Reuters, citing SAIC chairman Hu Maoyuan on January 25.

“The idea is to take advantage of the existing MG sales network in the European Union as well as the cost advantage in China,” Hu told Reuters on the sidelines of Shanghai’s annual People’s Political Consultative Conference.

SAIC plans to start manufacturing its self-developed MG 6 saloon car, based on acquired technology, in its UK plant at the end of this year, SAIC president Chen Hong said in November.

SAIC obtained the MG brand and technology in 2008 after it acquired Nanjing Automobile Corp. (NAC). In the bid for the defunct MG-Rover, NAC paid for the MG brand and related technology while SAIC bought certain technologies of the Rover brand, integrating them into its self-developed Roewe brand cars.

NAC launched the MG 7, MG 3 and MG TF based on acquired MG technology in 2007, but saw sluggish sales. Reports said MG’s sales volume was only a quarter of that of the Roewe in 2009. Late last year, SAIC released the MG 6, based on the Roewe 550 platform, in order to revitalize MG sales in China.

SAIC Motor sold 75,010 units of the Roewe cars in 2009, up 177.81 percent year-on-year.

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