Chinese-owned carmaker seeks full integration with local community

In the town of Longbridge on the southern outskirts of Birmingham, workers assemble a new MG6 model, as a group of visitors tour the renowned MG Motor UK industrial complex.

Despite its name, the MG Motor UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), China’s largest automaker.

The historic car manufacturer MG Rover went bankrupt in 2005, and its assets were purchased by the Nanjing Automotive Company (NAC) which later merged with SAIC,

The deal had created some sour feelings, especially coupled with thousands of job losses.

After years of tentative operation through promotions of new products, investment and job creation, the company now have recreated strong links with the local community, which helped to promote the image of the brand and the company, according to Manager director Wang Hao.

Each week, the company hosts a two-hour free tour of the factory site, including a visit to its state of the art Technical Center, which has been proved hugely popular. Tours are often booked out for months in advance and the feedback has been very positive.

The local community is also invited to key events hosted by MG, such as the “Walk down Memory Lane.” It invited former workers and local residents to display photographs of the old factory, along with a Memory Board where old colleagues could post messages.

Local schools are invited on educational visits to the MG site, where Christmas concerts and rock shows are staged for students in the iconic 300-seat Conference Center free of charge. A Birmingham Under-9 football team is now playing in MG shirts and kit.

These events are also used to raise money for various charities, such as Macmillan Cancer.

In the meantime, business links with the local community have been firmly established. MG is an active member of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, and members of the Chamber have visited the MG factory many times and held meetings on site.

In 2011, MG Motor and Birmingham Airport signed a formal corporate partnership agreement, highlighting their long term commitment to the development of trade between the Britain’s the second largest city and China.

MG often hosts visits by car clubs. The MG KX Momentum Racing team has been very successful this year by entering the British Touring Car Championship.

“SAIC is proud to be the owner of the world famous MG brand, and has made significant investment to make Birmingham a global home of MG,” Wang said.

Xinhua