MG-Rover.org Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,797 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is from Edmunds Insideline and dated 14th May!. Surely this is lazy journos, with space to fill, regurgitating old news? Or is the duke still trying? There's nothing new here that hasn't been written before - I just thought I should post it because I can't believe it's re-appeared just four days ago!!!!

Q&A With MG's Duke Hale

Duke T. Hale is the newly appointed president and chief executive officer of MG Cars North America/Europe, Inc. With more than 30 years in the U.S. auto industry, working for domestic as well as European and Asian brands, Hale is well-known in the business. Now living in Georgia, Hale started his auto career in 1973 with Ford after his graduation from Ball State University in Indiana. He also worked for Chrysler. In the 1980s he went to Volvo, after which he worked at Mazda and Isuzu. Most recently, Hale headed Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering, two separate U.S. companies.

In July, China's Nanjing Automobile announced Hale's appointment, along with the formation of MG Cars North America/Europe, Inc., and plans to bring back the famed British marque and its sports cars. MG began selling cars in the 1920s, hit its stride with its popular sports cars in the 1940s and 1950s, but left the U.S. market in 1980. MG continued to produce cars in Europe until 2005 when MG Rover went bankrupt and Nanjing bought its assets.

Nanjing's plans call for MG vehicles to be built in Nanjing, China, Nanjing's hometown; at MG Rover Group's Longbridge factory near Birmingham, England; and at a new U.S. assembly plant to be built in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Duke was interviewed by Inside Line columnist Michelle Krebs by phone shortly after the announcement.

Nanjing Automotive's Chinese executives were quoted in the British press as saying plans to build a plant in Oklahoma were merely an idea. Is the Oklahoma plant and research and development center going to happen?
Absolutely. It's a lot more than an idea. I'm not saying Nanjing executives were misquoted but I'm not sure they understood the question. In all fairness, Mr. Yu [Nanjing President Yu Jianwei] doesn't know the West. In fact, his trip to Oklahoma was his first visit to the U.S. in his lifetime. He stood beside me in Oklahoma when we made the announcement.
Then it is a done deal?
There is a lot of work to do and there are some uncertainties, such as the precise location in Ardmore [Oklahoma] and other specifics. But it's not an issue about whether or not we're going to do it.

What products will each plant produce?
Right now, Nanjing is looking to build three sedans in China. For lack of another description, they'll be small, medium and large. In the U.K., we will build a modified version of the MG TF roadster. In Ardmore, Oklahoma, we will produce a coupe variant of the roadster. Those will be the products initially.

What is the rollout schedule of those models?
We're working through which products we will begin selling in 2007. The roadster will launch first in the U.K. and the rest of Europe in the second or third quarter of 2007. The coupe won't be built until 2008. The U.S. will have nothing to sell until May-June of 2008, when the roadster will be here also.

Will you sell the sedans, like those made in China, in the U.S. and Europe?
They will all be sold in Europe. We haven't decided what will be sold in the U.S.: maybe one or two products initially, with others coming behind them.

What is your sense — and do you have any data to support — if MG has any brand equity left, particularly after being out of the U.S. since 1980? And if it has any, who is that equity with? Mostly older people?
I have looked at research done by a European-based firm that definitely indicates there is positive equity in North America with the 40-plus crowd. It certainly has more positive equity in Europe, where MGs were sold up until about 10 months ago in the range of 120,000 cars a year. It's been 25-plus years since the MG was sold in North America so people as young as in their late 30s and early 40s still remember the brand. Younger than that, they don't. But look at the Mini Cooper. That was never as strong a brand as MG. I hardly remember the Mini Cooper. But look at what they've done, selling 200,000-plus a year. I think we can learn from Mini on how to not only appeal to the 40-plus crowd, but also how to tap into the 22-40 crowd. We'll tear a page out of Mini's playbook.

Which page will you tear from Mini's playbook?
They did a lot of public relations work. The vehicle has to be right and has to appeal to different folks. I think that will be there with MG. But we want to use PR as one of the mechanisms to build some power in the brand prior to launch as Mini did. We'll look at how to reach the younger crowd by more effective means than traditional marketing. I believe PR event marketing, sponsorships, the Internet and Web sites like MySpace.com are the way to reach them.

Why are you building the roadster in the U.K.?
One reason is that it's a British car. It's a core vehicle. You expect it to be British. It's what MG is known for. Second, we are also committed to the U.K. We're truly committed to jobs in manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution in the U.K. and Europe. We need a stronghold in Europe of 100,000-130,000 vehicles a year. Lots of the major components will be sourced in China to help on price.

Why Oklahoma? General Motors recently closed the state's only assembly plant there.
The opportunity in Oklahoma is immense. The Ardmore Air Park, where we will build the coupe, is a 3000-acre parcel. Some of the land is sovereign Indian state. We are partnered with Mark Nuttle. [Editor's note: Nuttle is manager of the Oklahoma Sovereign Development LLC, which has a joint venture with the Chickasaw Nation to develop the land into an international trade and distribution center. Nanjing would benefit from tax advantages, including property tax exemptions, accelerated tax depreciation and employment tax credits if the tribe purchases 650 or more acres for the Ardmore Airpark and leases it to Nanjing.] Let imagination run and you can think of creative ways that allow the business to be more efficient and profitable to the point that one might be able to build vehicles in Oklahoma nearly as cheaply as China.

What is your plan for dealerships? How many dealers will you have?
About 300-350 in the U.S. In Europe, we'll use an assortment of importers and dealers. We won't ask our dealers to put millions of dollars to build drive-in theaters either. Likely we will have a dealership with an exclusive showroom for MG next to another brand, and they will share the back office, service and parts operations.

How and why did you become involved with MG?
This kind of opportunity has been a career-long dream. I did some consulting work for MG Rover through the previous chairman of Malaysia's Proton. He convinced me to take over the U.S. Lotus operations. I then transitioned the MG Rover work to a friend I'd met at church when I lived in California, Michael Davis of Davis Capital [one of the investment firms in the Oklahoma MG project]. When the purchase of MG Rover's assets by Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp. fell apart, Nanjing grabbed up Michael and me because we'd worked on the project.

What's your vision for this venture five years from now?
My vision — a vision I had long before this company — is to create a world-class company and world-class cars. What that means to me is this: I want the people that work for our company to view it as one of the top 100 places to work on their continent — North America or Europe. Second, when the National Automobile Dealers Association — and the equivalent in Europe — does a dealer attitude survey, I want our company to be in the top 10 in dealer attitudes. Third, I want our products to be in the top third of quality surveys. I genuinely believe we'll be successful if we have enthused employees and dealers who truly take care of the customer, and the customer thinks we build a pretty darned good-quality car and they feel the dealership and company truly takes care of them. They'll tell their neighbors and friends, and they'll buy again themselves.
© 1995-2007 Edmunds Inc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,115 Posts
Duke was interviewed by Inside Line columnist Michelle Krebs by phone shortly after the announcement.
That means it's old news and he said all those things before he resigned.

thanks for the nice misleading thread title though :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36,503 Posts
This is from Edmunds Insideline and dated 14th May!. Surely this is lazy journos, with space to fill, regurgitating old news? Or is the duke still trying? There's nothing new here that hasn't been written before - I just thought I should post it because I can't believe it's re-appeared just four days ago!!!!



© 1995-2007 Edmunds Inc.
I agree that the quotes given don't seem to fit with May 07 at all. Is that copyright date a clue - "Rover to launch Bubble 400, lose 420 Tourer shock!"?

Duke T. Hale is the newly appointed president and chief executive officer of MG Cars North America/Europe, Inc.
yeah, right.

...it's not an issue about whether or not we're going to do it.
I'm guessing "not"...

In the U.K., we will build a modified version of the MG TF roadster...
Presumably the Dook expected to buy and control the lot, like a private equity company, in return for dollars. Hadn't thought of that before.

The opportunity in Oklahoma is immense. The Ardmore Air Park, where we will build the coupe, is a 3000-acre parcel. Some of the land is sovereign Indian state.
So the secret plan was to make CityRovers!.

I'd just better church this idea with my friend Mr. Bush:
I then transitioned the MG Rover work to a friend I'd met at church when I lived in California
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,131 Posts
Interesting... I presume Davis Capital as per http://www.daviscapital.com

In which case I have been to their offices in London. Only it is not really their office, it belongs to Regus as in the people who specialise in short lets.

Their New York address appears to be something similar, being registered to a myriad of different organisations, whereas their address in Wacker Drive Chicago also appears to be subject to a short term let courtesy of Regus.

Regards

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,625 Posts
Interesting... I presume Davis Capital as per http://www.daviscapital.com

In which case I have been to their offices in London. Only it is not really their office, it belongs to Regus as in the people who specialise in short lets.

Their New York address appears to be something similar, being registered to a myriad of different organisations, whereas their address in Wacker Drive Chicago also appears to be subject to a short term let courtesy of Regus.

Regards

John
Reading their web site is interesting. Manages to say absolutely nothing but does so using as much jargon as they can to obfiscate their lack of clients prepared to be named.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36,503 Posts
Reading their web site is interesting. Manages to say absolutely nothing but does so using as much jargon as they can to obfiscate their lack of clients prepared to be named.
Now I know corporate twaddle when I see it. I have been fortunate enough to point out to the assembled firm I worked for once just how non-existent its marketing strategy was. That firm folded within one year after I resigned so it doesn't matter now that they would surely have sacked me...

One of the funniest things I have ever seen was a German comedian trying to act out physically what a politician was saying "umm...we must go forward, not back...on to the future!...but we must bring with us the talents we have built up in our proud past" sort of thing...

but try acting this out!

"A Premier Investment firm elevating our [sic] clients to new heights by providing a bridge to inspiring results through precise execution and clockwork focus". :lol:

Tip no.1 - your font's all over the place. You can see which sub-committee came up with which part of the mission statement before you sellotaped it together.

Tip no.2 - Clockwork focus? That's an image like "electronic sock" or "zero-impedance sheep". If you find it's not trademarked, that's because it's completely meaningless. Do you mean the photo of Big Ben? or is it a car that beats the congestion charge?

Tip no.3 - Show a picture of what kind of bridge elevates you to new heights.(!) Given Big Ben, I presume this is Tower Bridge. Wouldn't want to be on it when it opened though. Or is this a clue that your customers are the Duke T. Hales of Hazzard?

Tip no.4 - "precise execution" - Attract new employees to your firm by not mentioning to them until after they've joined just how their underperforming predecessors left...

:lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,625 Posts
Now I know corporate twaddle when I see it.
:lol:
Brilliant deconstruction!

Trouble is unless you come out with such utter bunkum you are not considered to know anything. The Apprentice is a perfect example of this. Just how many people are giving 110%!.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,387 Posts
Lets ignore the duke's ramblings and bring this a little more up to date:


Wheels in motion bringing MG and world trade

By Sheila J. Robinson
Staff Writer
Web posted October 22, 2006

Exact location of the MG plant has not been determined, according to Kim Custer, spokesman for MG Motors North America.

"In the final analysis, the accountants and lawyers will decide which model works best for the company and Ardmore is flexible as to the location which will entail 50 acres within a 1,145 acre area (some of it is owned by the Ardmore Development Authority, some is owned by a private company and some is under contract for sale to the Chickasaw Nation), Custer said.
Some of the components for producing MGs will be shipped to the Port of Houston, and brought in by truck to Ardmore, but a specific list was not available.

"I do know that certain key components can be shipped in via aircraft as large as 747s for just-in-time delivery, including drive-trains from China and certain body panels from Longbridge, U.K.," Custer said. "This has not been a common practice in the past, but with increasing congestion at ports around the country due to increased trade and increased security checkpoints, air cargo growth will be an increasingly important function of the global manufacturing future."

Stucky added the airstrip is more important in many ways for the Ardmore International Trade Center than for MG. Regions with airports featuring air cargo operations generate more good jobs than regions without.
"Engineering, design, logistics, dealer network, etc. all require a lot of work that is ongoing," Stucky said. "In addition, there are about 15 major agreements between the U.S. partners and Nanjing Motors that are being finalized. A lot of legal work is underway. This is a huge undertaking -- a first of it's kind international agreement between a Chinese car company and American partners for three operations: Ardmore, England and China -- each producing one brand of the MG line."

In preparation for MG and the international trade center, an initial study of road and rail extensions to serve the large industrial tract has been done. Three potential rail extensions are being studied to determine which works best, and infrastructure is being added.

"Nanjing Motors and MG Motors have engaged the Benham Co. to design the auto assembly plant and support facilities," Stucky said. "We are working with Nanjing, MG and Benham and meeting weekly to keep the project moving forward."

On the international trade side, Marc Nuttle, Sovereign Development LLC, bought 675 acres adjacent to Ardmore Industrial Airpark and the Chickasaw Nation is buying 160 of those acres, according to Neal McCaleb, consultant to Gov. Bill Anaotubby on economic strategies.

"We've been working with an engineering firm for the extension of infrastructure improvements; i.e., the extension of the runway to accommodate fully loaded 747s, and the extension of a rail spur further into the industrial park to serve the area on the east side of the park where our property is located and where Marc's property is located," McCaleb said. "Marc has been working closely with Nanjing and MG North America in developing the final plans. He is in Europe now."

The Chickasaws, in conjunction with Nuttle are working with Nanjing on the possibility of building a North American parts distribution warehouse facility on Chickasaw property. The tribe also has a signed memorandum of understanding with a company in Slovakia that makes car parts and computer components for European manufacturers.

"Also we are working on the possibility of a power generation facility on the site," Nuttle said. There are other possible developments he was not at liberty to discuss, but said they have a number of potentials the tribe is looking at.

"The Nanjing-MG deal has brought a lot of attention to us and the site and we are taking full advantage of that," McCaleb added. "It's a bright prospect for Southern Oklahoma and the Chickasaws are right in the middle of it, and we are pleased to be."

Some of the information in this article was supplied to another reporter and provided to The Daily Ardmoreite by Wes Stucky, president and CEO of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce/Development Authority.

Construction expected to begin in 2007

Construction of an approximate 300,000-square-foot assembly plant and distribution center is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2007, and the first MG TF Coupe is expected to roll off the assembly line in Ardmore the third quarter of 2008.

Although specifics about the new line have not been revealed, coupes will be similar to the Roadster with a 1.8 liter engine, with a choice of automatic or manual transmission, and about the same size as a Mazda Miata. The new line of MGs will be required to meet with federal and European safety regulations as well as emission regulations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36,503 Posts
...Exact location of the MG plant has not been determined, according to Kim Custer, spokesman for MG Motors North America.

"In the final analysis, the accountants and lawyers will decide which model works best for the company...
whatever happened to engineering-led production?

and Ardmore is flexible as to the location which will entail 50 acres within a 1,145 acre area (some of it is owned by the Ardmore Development Authority, some is owned by a private company and some is under contract for sale to the Chickasaw Nation), Custer said.
This land deal makes the exact status of the Longbridge water treatment plant sound simple!

And am I the only one who gets nervous on seeing that MGNA's spokesman for dealing with the Native Americans is called Custer?

"I do know that certain key components can be shipped in via aircraft as large as 747s for just-in-time delivery, including drive-trains from China and certain body panels from Longbridge, U.K.," Custer said.
Carbon-footprint-wise, this does not sound like a good idea. Before even considering the costs and environmental effects, something like it's been tried before - the Cadillac Allanté IIRC...

and who can possibly believe that air transport can reliably deliver just in time?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,131 Posts
Going slightly off topic here... but I couldn't help but revisit the Davis Capital website. Anyone else think the copy was penned by Kevin Howe? :err:

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,625 Posts
and who can possibly believe that air transport can reliably deliver just in time?
It can for things like microchips which are small in size but huge in value. I remember being surprised about 1981 in Barbados to discover INTEL had a chip factory there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36,503 Posts
[air transport] can [deliver on time] for things like microchips which are small in size but huge in value. I remember being surprised about 1981 in Barbados to discover INTEL had a chip factory there!
well well!

I can't recall seeing a single factory on Barbados though I did go to the museum.

unfortunately, for things like me that are large in size but small in value, air transport is generally late.

Mind you, one of the last times I flew was on the 10th of August (and they were handing out Tesco vegetable bags for the six things we were allowed to carry on!)...
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top