You're dead right streetrover, a hell of a lot of perception depends on how the deal has been presented. Imagine if the press hadn't got wind of MGR's troubles (difficult given the falling sales figures, but bear with me) and the SAIC deal came as a complete surprise:
Now there's nothing actually untrue there. It's just been presented differently.MG Rover expands in China :: April 2005
Enterprising British car-maker MG Rover is to expand its Rover luxury car brand into the world's fastest-growing car market, with new factories in Shanghai - building a range of hatchbacks and saloons with advanced British-developed lightweight alloy engines.
The deal involves a commitment of substantial equity participation from the Shanghai government, indicating impressive levels of confidence in the British manufacturer, and includes MG Rover engineering consultancy and development for a whole new range of vehicles to be sold worldwide - along the lines of Lotus' famed engineering consultancy business but on a far larger scale.
Representatives of the Shanghai government said that MG Rover's engineering expertise and flexibility made it "the only choice" as a development partner - previous involvement with motor giants GM and VW has not led to the desired levels of innovation.
In other news, MG Rover engine technology will also go into Korea's new range of Ssangyong sports-utility vehicles, thus capturing another massively growing segment of the east Asian car market, along with another sports-utility vehicle co-developed with Indian manufacturer Sonalika. MG Rover's heritage and expertise in rugged sports-utility vehicle development is legendary - the company developed the famous Land Rover and Range Rover for Ford's Premier Automotive Group - and the future seems bright. MG Rover has also collaborated with Indian manufacturer Tata to develop the country's first indigenous supermini to European levels of refinement, and has managed Tata's entry to the lucrative western European market with the car.
MG Rover has a compact corporate site at Longbridge, Birmingham, with on-site R & D, assembly and engine plants along with headquarters - an impressively efficient set-up compared with the sprawling factories of many other manufacturers.