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28DL and UE in the News Telegraph - 12/11/05



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Oxygen Thief

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Rover’s boulevard of broken dreams

By Christopher Hope
Last Updated: 12:08am GMT 12/11/2005

What a difference 12 months makes. This time last year, the Longbridge car plant in Birmingham was producing over 300 MG and Rover cars a day, as its owners talked excitedly about a long mooted joint venture with China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

Now the Longbridge factory is a shadow of its former self. The deal with Shanghai never came off, MG Rover went bust and the vast halls now lie empty after 100 years of car making.

Some images, posted on a website last week, bear testament to the drama in May when car making suddenly halted as the money ran out. The shells of half-built Rover 75s sit on a production line, while a crate of Rover tools is discarded on the factory floor.

Elsewhere, Chinese writing on MG Rover notepaper has been pinned to a car door, a reminder MG Rover's future is in the hands of Shanghai's rival Nanjing Automotive, which bought the site (but not the land) for £53m in late-July.

The run-down state of the car plant illustrates the level of investment required if Nanjing is going to succeed with its plans to hire 1,200 staff and start making 100,000 cars a year again.

Nanjing said this week it will try its best "to resume production at the beginning of 2007".

Forty security guards patrol the 300-acre site. Sources said Nanjing's executives were likely to be "concerned" about the apparent security lapse.

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2005/11/12/cnrov12.xml

Stolen picture gallery: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Sli...005/11/12/longbridge/upixrover.xml&site=money

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