View Full Version : MG North America hq moving to OKC

07-11-2006, 09:30 PM
I watched the 10pm news on Channel 5 tonight. I am glad I did-- I usually watch Channel 9. Anyway, they said at a 9am press conference tomorrow morning it will be announced that MG is placing its North American headquarters and assembly plant in Oklahoma. The announcement will be with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, so I assume in the OKC area (not Tulsa).

By the way, MG is the popular European sports car. A newcaster said "North American and European headquarters," but if they are already headquartered in Europe, wouldn't that mean their international headquarters would be coming to OKC? I guess we will have to wait until tomorrow morning to get the details.

07-11-2006, 10:00 PM
It appears a story has been posted on They will manufacture in Ardmore, Britian, and China. Their North American/European headquarters will be in Oklahoma City, and they will place an R&D center at OU in Norman.

By Paul Monies
The Oklahoman

A Chinese automaker is expected to announce plans Wednesday to revive historic British sports car brand MG, creating more than 500 jobs in manufacturing, engineering and management in Oklahoma.

In a sign of the global reach of automotive manufacturing, Nanjing Automobile Group Corp. will assemble a line of two-seater MG TF coupes in Ardmore, adding up to 325 jobs.

The company’s MG Motors subsidiary will employ about 150 people at its North America/Europe headquarters in Oklahoma City. It also will place a research and development center at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, creating 35 jobs.

A news conference is planned for 9 a.m. Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

Nanjing plans to assemble MGs in China, in Oklahoma and at MG’s former home plant near Birmingham, England. Construction of the Ardmore factory is expected to begin in early 2007, with car production set for the third quarter of 2008.

“Nanjing Motors is fully committed to the restoration of the MG brand to markets around the world,” said Yu Jianwei, president of Nanjing Motors. “This will be the key component of the effort to join leading automakers in the manufacture and sale of high-quality, high-character automobiles.

“As we finalize the installation of MG assembly lines in our new Nanjing plant, we are enormously pleased to confirm that we will build the TF Roadster once again in Longbridge, U.K., and the new TF Coupe at a completely new facility we’ll build in Ardmore, Oklahoma.”

Nanjing named industry veteran Duke T. Hale as the company’s president and chief executive officer for MG Motors North America/Europe Inc. Hale, who will be based in Oklahoma City, said the opportunity to restore the MG brand was hard to turn down. He has more than 25 years of industry experience at Volvo, Mazda, Isuzu and Lotus.

“Now that we’ve finalized the important financial, manufacturing and product planning details of this new venture, I’m well along in recruiting a team of seasoned auto industry executives to join me,” Hale said. “A key ingredient in that effort has been to find the right home to build a completely new model for a global automotive enterprise. I’m confident that Oklahoma fits that description perfectly.”

Nanjing beat larger Chinese rival Shanghai Automotive in a bidding war for MG’s assets last year. Former owner Phoenix Venture Holdings’ bankruptcy caused more than 6,000 job losses at MG in Britain.

07-11-2006, 10:15 PM
Good news. Kinda came out of nowhere. I wonder why they aren't going to use the old GM plant...

07-11-2006, 10:29 PM
Retooling the plant might cost too much?

07-12-2006, 01:11 AM
yeah, this was also in the New York Times,.

Here is the article posted on SSP, from my colleague and fellow Seattle friend over there - James Bond Agent 007; Im glad you all are already aware.

Chinese Company Intends to Build MG’s in OklahomaBy NICK BUNKLEY
Published: July 12, 2006

DETROIT, July 11 — Can the mystique of a British sports car be recreated by a Chinese company in America’s heartland?

That’s the bet by Nanjing Automobile Group, which plans to resurrect the fabled MG marque in a tricontinental demonstration of how truly global the automotive industry has become.

Nanjing, which purchased the assets of the bankrupt MG Rover Group last year, aims to be the first Chinese carmaker to open a factory in the United States. The company has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday in Oklahoma to announce plans to build a newly designed MG TF Coupe there, starting in 2008. It said the coupe would compete with cars like the Mazda Miata, which sells for $20,000 to $25,000.

It also will assemble a convertible TF Roadster version at MG’s now-shuttered factory in Longbridge, England, and three sedan models in China. American and European operations for MG Motors will be based in Oklahoma City, 90 miles north of the new factory in Ardmore, Okla.

MG’s rebirth under Nanjing, which said it had $2 billion in financing for the endeavor, comes as several Chinese companies are setting their sights on the United States, the world’s largest car market.

Several Chinese carmakers have said they are two to three years away from exporting vehicles to the United States. One, Geely Automobile, displayed a $10,000 sedan at this year’s Detroit auto show, although the car fell short of American safety and emissions standards.

Geely and Chery Automobile, a state-owned company that has sparred with General Motors over the similarity of its name to the Chevy nickname for the Chevrolet brand, plan to sell cars in the United States in 2008. Only Nanjing, however, has said it intends to build vehicles outside China, where it will face higher labor costs than in its home country.

“We want to be a global company,’’ said Duke T. Hale, a former executive at Mazda, Isuzu and Lotus who will be chief executive of MG Motors. “We don’t want to be a company that simply exports out of China. We don’t want to be seen as just another Chinese car company.’’

Nanjing also is unique among the Chinese car companies in its plan to revive an established brand with a Western following. Mr. Hale called that a critical advantage the company held over its Chinese rivals. “I’ve got a brand name that still resonates,’’ he said.

The company says its lineup will be true to MG’s heritage, to the delight of enthusiasts such as Roger Parker, a technical consultant with the MG Owners’ Club.

The club, run out of a large MG parts shop near Cambridge, England, has about 40,000 members worldwide. Many live in the United States, despite the brand’s 26-year absence here.

“If they don’t get the product right, they will certainly do damage that will be difficult to recover from,” said Mr. Parker, whom Nanjing officials consulted about their plans. “It’s clear that they are very committed and very conscious of the rich history that they have bought.”

MG’s limited appeal will ensure that Nanjing remains merely a niche player here.

But construction of the first Chinese auto plant in the United States, which will create more than 500 jobs, carries a great deal of symbolism about the industry’s future.

“It wasn’t very long ago that nobody believed the Japanese would build plants in the United States,” said David E. Davis Jr., who co-founded Automobile magazine and now runs an online publication for car lovers called Winding Road. After Lee A. Iacocca, the brash chairman of Chrysler, challenged them to do so, Mr. Davis added, “they did, and they blew everyone’s pants off.”

MG, originally called Morris Garages, began selling cars in the 1920’s. Its iconic TC convertible was a big hit in the United States after servicemen grew attached to earlier MG models in Europe during World War II.

“MG was really an integral part of the foreign car revolution that started in the late 40’s and early 50’s,” Mr. Davis said. “They weren’t terribly good cars, but they were so different and they were so much fun to drive that we all forgave them for their lack of reliability and fragility.”

The brand withdrew from the American market in 1980, leaving a generation of enthusiasts longing for its return. Sales continued in other countries as ownership passed through several hands, including Honda and BMW, until production ceased in April 2005 and all 6,000 workers at the factory in England were let go.

“It’s the first sports car that I remember as a child,” said Paul Fucito, who grew up around the corner from an MG dealership in New Jersey and remembers its closing.

Mr. Fucito, 34, a spokesman for George Washington University, has never lost hope that he will one day own an MG, although the company’s bankruptcy last year raised doubts for him about the chances of that happening. He participates in several online forums devoted to the brand and fantasizes about a new MG, painted British racing green, with wire wheels and chrome accents.

“It’s been that dream car that I’ve always wanted,” he said.

Several automakers have capitalized on demand for nostalgic nameplates in recent years, including BMW with its modernized Mini Cooper. Chevrolet has been deluged with requests to bring back the Camaro after it unveiled a concept version in January.

Jeremy Anwyl, president of, a Web site that gives consumers advice about buying cars, said MG had the potential to join the list of successfully resurrected marques, as long as Nanjing kept quality high and prices low. “It’s not just a question of slapping an MG brand on something and expecting it to be an automatic success,” he said.

Mr. Anwyl expects to see the new MG models sporting the brand’s distinct vertical grille and octagonal logo but without the flaws of earlier models.

“Hopefully some of the electrical problems you wouldn’t bring back,” he said. “If you really want to go for nostalgia, you put on a leaky roof.”

Could this be the beginning of another industry sector for the city? Could OKC become the "new Detroit"? :spin:

07-12-2006, 01:19 AM
Im also curious of the HQ would be in downtown OKC. Can you imagine if they took over the KM tower?

That would surely be a shot in the arm - but Im hopeful that Tornox (the KM spin-off) will retain the tower (and maybe rebrand themselves as "the new Kerr-McGee" and that MG NA/Europe would select or build another tower downtown.

07-12-2006, 09:02 AM
I saw this exciting news on the news this morning. I was going to attend the Press Conference but couldn't drag myself over there.

The KM spinoff you are referring to is Tronox and it is highly possible they will move to the suburbs of OKC. Their R&D is up north around memorial and they have another building elsewhere in the city. I talked to some insiders yesterday and unfortunately they might move to the suburbs. I'd love to see them stay in downtown.

As far as Nanjing (MG) I doubt they would build a new tower, at least at first, especially since they only plan on having around 300 employees in the entire state and that is including all 3 sites. R&D of course will be in Norman, assembly in Ardmore, and the HQ in OKC. Definitely great news in light of KM.

07-12-2006, 09:20 AM
I agree...highly doubt they will build a HQ or do anything too substantial until they get off the ground....and of course there is the possibility that they will give up or go under within a few years

Hope not, but thats a distinct possibility with trying to build and market an essentially new brand of cars...many people won't even remember the MG's

07-12-2006, 11:19 AM
You gotta love China outsourcing to Oklahoma.


07-12-2006, 12:37 PM
Low cost labor! LOL!

I think the city is still holding out hope that GM will build the Camaro here.

07-12-2006, 01:32 PM
Even if they don't build a new tower, it will be cool if they get that MG logo up on the side of Oklahoma Tower or something.

Even though it's not a lot of jobs, it's a high profile company to have headquartered here. Kind of like Six Flags was.

The Old Downtown Guy
07-12-2006, 02:30 PM
My next car: British racing green MG.

Who handles MGs in OKC. If it's not nailed down, I hope Atomic Brown goes for it.

07-12-2006, 03:56 PM
That'd be a weird niche for them. They'd have to relocate or expand to do so. No one handles MG's as of now. They haven't built them in years for the US market.

The Old Downtown Guy
07-12-2006, 04:54 PM
Urban Motor Works. Atomic Brown joins Bob Howard Mercedes, Jag and Volvo on Broadway.

07-12-2006, 05:40 PM
They won't need a full-blown automobile production facility (the GM plant would be wayyy more than needed) because the car will be assembled in Oklahoma from KITS - which are to be made in China.
(Financial Times story)


07-12-2006, 07:19 PM
they only plan on having around 300 employees in the entire stateCorrection: they actually will have more than 500 in the state. There will be 150 at hq in OKC, 35 at R&D in Norman, and 325 at assembly in Ardmore.

07-13-2006, 09:56 AM
brianok, you're right. The first press release I read, before the big announcement said 300, so technically I was right at the time, although I'm glad the press corrected it, I'd much rather have 550 estimated jobs here.

07-13-2006, 02:37 PM
As far as Nanjing (MG) I doubt they would build a new tower, at least at first, especially since they only plan on having around 300 employees in the entire state and that is including all 3 sites. R&D of course will be in Norman, assembly in Ardmore, and the HQ in OKC. Definitely great news in light of KM.

metro. I thought the employment number was over 500, with 150 or so in the OKC hq, 35 in the R&D in Norman, and 32X at the new factory in Ardmore. :gossip:

whatever the case, definitely good news for OKC!!!

And thanks for the info on Tronox. I really wish they could save/take over the KM tower downtown.

Sooner Golf
07-14-2006, 08:40 PM
I heard last night from a local guy (ex-dealership owner) who has invested in the deal, that this is a long way from making any cars. Apparently there are a lot of hurdles that have to be cleared before this deal can be off and running. They felt like it was a good investment due to the minor amount involved and the potential upside. However, I don't think he had high hopes.

Hopefully they will be wrong.

07-15-2006, 04:12 PM
One of those hurdles is the fact that the TF, while a completed product, was never originally scheduled to be sold here, and so they're going to have to make whatever tweaks the Feds demand to make it legally salable in the States.

I have my doubts, but the demand for sports cars (and for cars that resemble sports cars) must be up these days; the Delaware plant that builds the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky is working three shifts.

07-16-2006, 09:55 PM
One of those hurdles is the fact that the TF, while a completed product, was never originally scheduled to be sold here, and so they're going to have to make whatever tweaks the Feds demand to make it legally salable in the States.
I have my doubts, but the demand for sports cars (and for cars that resemble sports cars) must be up these days; the Delaware plant that builds the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky is working three shifts.

Excellent point.


02-26-2007, 10:38 AM
MG on track
Quiet progress being made with Ardmore car-assembly project

By Don Mecoy
Business Writer

Last year's announcement that the legendary MG nameplate will be resurrected on vehicles assembled in Ardmore garnered serious attention. Very little new information about the project, which could bring hundreds of jobs to Oklahoma, has surfaced since that time.

But that doesn't mean nothing is going on.

Marc Nuttle, the Norman attorney who is chairman of Oklahoma Global Motors, said negotiations with Nanjing Automobile Corp. on the design of the assembly plant at Ardmore Airpark and the vehicle it will produce are continuing with the goal of striking a deal by March 31 and issuing some major announcements in April.

"If we can meet that schedule, then we would actually be rolling cars off the assembly line early second quarter next year,” Nuttle said.

Nanjing, which bought the MG name in 2005, announced last July that it would manufacture MG vehicles at plants in China, England and the United States. Nanjing executives announced recently in a news release that the company would celebrate its 60th birthday next month by rolling the first MG off its assembly line in China.

The company's new factory in Nanjing is designed to produce 200,000 MG cars and 250,000 engines a year. Some vehicles will be sent on to the former MG Rover plant in Longbridge, England, for final assembly. Nuttle said the company is on target to begin assembling sports cars at the Longbridge factory in June, two years after the plant was closed when MG Rover Group collapsed.

A group of Americans has been in England working to get the shuttered Longbridge plant prepared for production, Nuttle said.

"We're helping with marketing, dealer network, services, which is what they don't know,” he said. "Manufacturing, they get.”

MG will be Nanjing Automobile's first stand-alone passenger-vehicle production effort. The company has a joint-venture agreement to produce Fiat cars and Iveco trucks.

At least three Americans stationed in Europe have returned to Oklahoma to focus on matters here, Nuttle said, "because I've got it to the point where our responsibilities are more North America than Europe, and that's better for Oklahoma.”

Wes Stuckey, president of the Ardmore Economic Development Authority, said designs for airpark improvements undertaken in concert with the Nanjing project are complete or soon will be and construction will begin this spring. "We are proceeding with the design of the runway extension and will be ready to go out for bids in 60 days,” Stuckey said Friday. The Benham Cos. is starting to design the road improvements needed for the project. Water and sewer extensions are in the final stages of design and construction will start in May.

"We are spending money and are making commitments,” Stuckey said.

A recent benchmark that was met by Oklahoma Global Motors was repayment of a $5 million state loan that was used as seed money, state Treasurer Scott Meacham said. "The important thing to know is that it was timely and with interest,” he said. "It's positive that we got this money back.”

However, the worldwide project hasn't gone off without a few hitches.

Nuttle admitted that dealing with Chinese government and Nanjing corporate executives can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to communication. All statements and documents must be translated from English to Chinese and back, Nuttle said.

"You can't have dialogue back and forth,” Nuttle said. "It's difficult.

Duke T. Hale, president and chief executive officer of MG Cars North America/Europe Inc., in an interview last year denied a reported statement by a Nanjing executive that the Ardmore project was just an idea. Hale said the executive, whose first trip to the West was when he came to Oklahoma in July to participate in the deal's announcement, may not have understood the question.

Nanjing executives also must review and consult on all matters before reaching a decision, said Nuttle, who has the power to make decisions "on the spot.”

"There's a cultural barrier,” he said. "There's a lot about western contracts that still the Chinese government doesn't understand. They just don't. You just have to be patient.”

Nuttle, who worked with the first Bush administration on trade policy, was involved in discussions 15 years ago dealing with China's efforts to join the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade, forerunner to the World Trade Organization. That, he said, provided him with keen insight into the vast differences in politics and culture between East and West.

"To be in the WTO, you had to have an intellectual property rights law,” Nuttle said. "You had to protect patents and trademarks. I remember my counterpart, his eyes glazed over; he was lost — confused to the point that it was distressing him.

"I stopped the meeting and said ‘what's the problem?' And he looked at me and he said, ‘Now tell me again how you can own a thought.' He just couldn't get it.”

Despite the obstacles of a project spanning three continents and two languages, and the challenges of getting three separate plants in operation, the deal is on target, Nuttle said.

"The plan called for the plant to begin construction somewhere around April in 2007,” he said.

"It takes a year to build a plant, three months to train the employees and then we would be in production in summer 2008. That's what we announced. We're still on track for that.”

Contributing: Business Writer Paul Monies

02-26-2007, 10:48 AM
Great news...Looks like it's a go...From what I have seen on their website they make some great looking cars overseas...Just hope the quality is there as well

Could turn out very nicely for Ardmore and Oklahoma