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Review 2013

 

Chiltern Run
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SAMGOC’s Visit to MG Birmingham, Longbridge
By Terry Jackson

MG Birmingham, Longbridge opened its doors to members of the Owners Club and Car Club with members of the Owners Club Headquarters in attendance.

Five St Albans club members took the opportunity to drive up to Birmingham for a tour of the factory but because of the timing one half did not know the other half were there.
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The tour started in the sales centre where we were taken to the presentation theatre and given a brief history of the Austin/Morris group. This was followed by a tour of the design facility, a lot of emphasise appears to be centred on engine and gearbox design but I am sure other things were going on behind closed doors.

This was followed by visit to Lord Austin’s office that has been retained in its original state, all wood panelling complete with a large desk with ink wells, and then another small presentation.

On again to the production line.  Not a robot in sight.  Lots of MG6s slotting into the long line starting at the upper level with very little happening until they reached the lower level.  The bodies come from China fully painted and trimmed.  The engines have their ancillaries, drive shafts, brakes, etc. fitted and then offered up to the body.  Radiator and front of the cars are assembled followed by the rear.
We were told there are some hundreds of bodies on site with about ten cars a week coming off the line. Of course this can be increased as sales pick up.

We found the staff very enthusiastic about the MG6 and the coming models, the MG6 is much larger than thought ( Mondeo size) But all were impressed by the high level of equipment for the price,  More publicity is required.  Apparently one of the hire companies has ordered a fair number.  I recall this lead the to sales of the Ford KA car to take off when holiday makers began to be offered them as hire cars in Spain.

Chris took one out for a test drive, his reports were that it drove well, it was quite and held the road, and was no slouch.

The trip was well worth the long drive, over 200 MGs were reported to have attended the event, I think MG Longbridge were well pleased. We don’t know if they sold any cars, but we all  wish them well and thank them for their time.

Terry Jackson