A happy ending for the MG Rover soap opera?

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The Independent Online

At last, MG Rover's global search to secure its long-term future as a volume car business may be approaching fruition. It seems that a deal with Shanghai Automotive of China will be signed early next year, providing for much-needed new investment, fresh models and vastly increased production. The price? Control of MG Rover, the last indigenously owned major maker in the UK, will effectively pass from Birmingham to Shanghai, with the Chinese company owning 70 per cent of the equity in the new, much bigger, venture.

At last, MG Rover's global search to secure its long-term future as a volume car business may be approaching fruition. It seems that a deal with Shanghai Automotive of China will be signed early next year, providing for much-needed new investment, fresh models and vastly increased production. The price? Control of MG Rover, the last indigenously owned major maker in the UK, will effectively pass from Birmingham to Shanghai, with the Chinese company owning 70 per cent of the equity in the new, much bigger, venture.

That may be bad news for sentimentalists, but there are plenty of foreign-owned motor manufacturers in Britain doing very well indeed: Nissan's plant in Sunderland is one of the most efficient in Europe; BMW's new Mini, made in Oxford, is enjoying exceptional sales success, while Peugeot, Toyota and Honda all seem happy to have their products made in Britain. Globalisation has been the key to a revival in our car industry, and it may work for MG Rover. For decades, the story of MG Rover, the remnant of the once vast British Leyland combine, has resembled a soap opera. The latest episode may have a happier ending.

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