All posts by amgba

SAIC and Nanjing Merge to form Mega Chinese Auto Group

Industry analysts widely agree that one of the principal factors preventing Chinese automakers from succeeding outside of China is the local industry’s fragmentation, with over 100 automakers vying for their slice of the proverbial pie. However, a merger announced Wednesday between two major Chinese automakers, Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp (SAIC) and Nanjing Automotive Group, stands a stronger chance of succeeding in the international car market as a larger group.The merger, which has been long anticipated, involves SAIC paying $285.7 million for Nanjing. In return, Nanjing’s parent company acquires 4.9 percent of SAIC Motor Corp.

The products of SAIC’s joint ventures with GM and Volkswagen Group account for 14% of the domestic market in China, selling 1.25 million vehicles in the first ten months of 2007. Nanjing, meanwhile, sold less than 80,000 over the same period, making the acquisition a merger in the same sense as Mercedes had “merged” with Chrysler. Nanjing, however, owns MG Rover, whose plants in England SAIC hopes to use as a foothold into the European market.

MG TF Re-Launch Delayed

Nanjing MGTF According to reports by the Birmingham Post, the much-vaunted re-launch of the MG TF Roadster will be put back until sometime in 2008. It has stated that as well as there being little likelihood of the MG 7-Series saloon reaching the UK until next year, but also, ‘Nanjing Automobile missed its end of the 2007 year target for the launch of its MG TF sports cars.’

NAC-MG was aiming for an April relaunch, to coincide with the parent company’s 60th anniversary, but following the Longbridge re-opening ceremony in May where company executives were talking about an ‘Autumn launch’, it now appears that TF will now go to the showrooms in the UK in 2008.

Final details are being worked out on pricing for the car, although reports in China suggest it could be around £20,000. Around 31 dealers have signed up so far to sell the car with more expected to follow. Meanwhile a marketing campaign is expected to start in early 2008 to alert MG enthusiasts and other potential purchasers to the relaunch of the car.

Eleanor de la Haye, spokeswoman for NAC MG, said: “The car will be released to dealers in February and deliveries will start in March..” According to the Birmingham Post, 20 cars are currently on test for altitude testing in Spain, hot weather testing in Australia, and cold weather testing in Finland.

British Motor Trade Show January 2008

The January 2008 British Motor Trade Show was held in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photos by Tom Bruno.

The British Fog Clears, a Little
By: Tom Bruno

As I approached I spied through the dense fog a giant yellow and black Bumble-B, with two occupants huddled down behind the windscreen trying to stay warm. It was Arden Hance and his son Trace. It was 0630 AM and the green blur of the the STARBUCKS logo peered through the hazy morning darkness.
The strange looking little vehicle sported the bulging bonnet of an MGC with it’s peculiar chrome smiley face. But it was obviously a B.
78 B of Adren & Trace Hance Glen Lenhard inspecting Tom Bruno’s B With our tanks filled with mocha latte and petrol we embarked up the Autobahn through the thick cool soup, a caravan of two.
The bees buzzed effortlessly at a steady 100 k/hr pace and arrived at the crest of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in less than two hours despite barreling trailer trucks and the flashing headlights of intolerant speed demons.
We met the host of THE BRITISH MOTOR TRADE SHOW, Glenn Lenhard and representatives of the major LBC companies, i.e.
Moss, Victoria British, Hemmings, Haggerty and many British car shop owners. The guest speaker was John Twist, who is considered to be one of the top MG experts in the country. Glenn’s MG in St. Petersburg rebuilt my ’79 MGB engine and John Twist at University Motors in Ada, Michigan was my mentor throughout my DIY restoration. His YOU-TUBE videos, his detailed manual and his afternoon call in advice hour gave me invaluable assistance in restoring my MGB.
Adren and his son Trace headed south in the early afternoon in order to perform in a band concert. Interestingly enough, both Adren and Glenn Lenhard are both professional musicians and they both play trombone with their local symphony orchestras. I stayed around and had my car inspected by the experts, Glenn and John and I especially, enjoyed their closing “POINT/ COUNTER POINT session. It wasn’t much of a contest because they both agreed on many issues like non-platinum spark plugs, 20w-50 trans oil, SU carb tuning by ear, and power loss from large low restriction exhaust systems.
I zipped home in my Blue B with the top up this time and although I missed a 5PM wedding ceremony on the beach in Naples, I did make it in time for the cake cutting and a glass of Champagne after my arduous journey. I am in the doghouse because I missed the wedding, so I had to sleep in my car that night but the BRITISH MOTOR TRADE SHOW was worth it.

Queen B

This issue’s Queen B is the 1980 MGB L.E. of Thomas Dahlfors. Here is his story:

Just a little about me – thirty years ago I rebuilt my first British car, a ’61 TR3. After selling that car (wish I hadn’t), I bought my first MG, a 1974 British racing green MGB. Then I upgraded to a 1978 British racing green B. Then lastly in 1992, I bought from his 1980 MGB L.E. with 600 miles on it. It still smelled new!

As a retired school administrator, I finally sold my last horse and am converting my barn into a garage as there is less daily clean-up.

I recently acquired a 1953 MG T and have been doing some work on the MGB.

Your publication, the Octagon, is superb – the technical hints and tips are just what I can use.

I am a member of three other MG clubs but from what I have heard, the American MGB Association is really the tops for MG owners.

Editor’s Note: Thanks for the kind words and hope you enjoy your car being featured.

Chinese Car Deal Raises Hopes for MG Revival

By Fang Yan from the International Herald Tribune

A deal struck this week puts a venerable British motoring brand in the hands of China’s top car maker, raising hopes that Shanghai Automotive Co might do for MG what Germany’s BMW did for the Mini.

Shanghai Auto on Wednesday agreed a $286 million dollar (143.4 million pound) deal to acquire the vehicle and core auto parts operations of Nanjing Auto, an eastern China manufacturer which surprised car enthusiasts in 2005 by snapping up the MG brand and some other assets after the collapse of the British firm, MG Rover.

With a stock market value of $24 billion, Shanghai Auto, backed by parent SAIC, has financial clout roughly equivalent to Italy’s Fiat or Hyundai of South Korea.

“Funding is obviously not a major concern now that the companies are joining forces,” said Chen Qiaoning, analyst at ABN AMRO TEDA Fund Management in Shanghai.

SAIC, which has joint ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen AG in China, already has a connection with the defunct MG Rover.

Last year it introduced the Roewe 750 to the Chinese market. The car is based on technology acquired from MG Rover and is priced to compete with Toyota’s locally-made Camry.

Nanjing Auto, for its part, announced a grand scheme to revive the MG marque when it rolled out its first MG sports cars and saloons, made at a plant in China, in April.

The distinctive MG badge dates back to around 1925 and is part of a rich history of British car manufacturing with a special connection to motor sport.

MG and other British motoring names including Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Lotus all eventually needed to call upon foreign capital as car markets become more open and costs competition hit home.

Ford and GM of the United States and Japan’s Nissan have big production sites in Britain, but a slew of British marques are in foreign hands.

India’s Tata Motor is set to buy Jaguar from Ford . Volkswagen owns Bentley, BMW owns Rolls-Royce while Aston Martin is owned by a consortium including Kuwait’s Investment Dar . Lotus belongs to Malaysia’s Proton.

Nanjing Auto, which paid 53 million pounds for MG, has plans to return the brand to international prominence and make it fashionable among China’s emerging middle class.

Earlier this year, Nanjing Auto unveiled its first British-built MG TF sports cars at the Longbridge assembly plant, ending a two-year production halt there.

VENERABLE MARQUE

The British production was intended to revive the marque internationally through sales in Europe and British Commonwealth countries, where the MG brand remains a household name.

But financing MG’s revival was clearly an issue for Nanjing Auto.

Zhang Xin, general manager of the Nanjing Auto subsidiary making the cars, said at the time that the subsidiary was seeking outside investors and was willing to sell as much as 50 percent of itself to help fund the project.

A Nanjing Auto executive, who declined to be named, told Reuters on Thursday that it had sold 3,000 MG 7 model cars in China since August — not a large amount for a new model. Overseas sales have not begun, he said.

There is one potential legal cloud on the horizon for the partners as the administrator to a failed Dutch unit of MG claims the European brand rights outside Britain. Wouter Verel at lawyers AKD was not available for comment on Thursday.

SAIC’s ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen AG are China’s biggest car sellers. The SAIC group sold 1.25 million vehicles in the first 10 months of 2007, dwarfing Nanjing Auto’s sales of 79,196 vehicles, industry data shows.

Apart from its majority stake in South Korea’s Ssangyong Motor , SAIC does not have major car sales overseas.

SAIC Motor president Chen Hong told reporters on Wednesday that the Longbridge facility in Britain would serve as a platform for his firm to tap foreign markets with the MG brand.

Inside China, the outlook for the MG brand is complicated by the fact that SAIC has been promoting the Roewe, which uses technology similar to the MG 7 sedan series technology bought by Nanjing Auto.

But analysts believe SAIC may continue selling both Roewe and MG models by aiming at different market segments. MG cars in China have so far been priced slightly cheaper than Roewe cars.

“The next thing we will be focusing on is to clarify the market position of the Roewe and the MG, and differentiate the brands accordingly. That is vital for good sales,” said Liu Ningsheng, spokesman at Nanjing Auto.

While this issue may be resolved, the difficulties faced by the MG brand in the past show relaunching it may not be quick or easy, noted Chen at ABN AMRO TEDA Fund Management.

“They should buckle up and be well prepared for the bumpy road ahead,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Alexandra Hudson in Amsterdam and David Cutler in London; Editing by Marcel Michelson and Andrew Callus)

From the Editor's Desk – February 2008

Welcome to the new members that have joined since the last issue.

We would like to Chic & Terry Holliday, Thomas Dahlfors and Art Isaacs and all of the other contributors to this issue of the Octagon. Also thanks to Art Isaacs for his continued work in answering members’ technical questions and answers. Be sure to send in photos and stories so we can include them in future issues of the Octagon.

You can now find us on the popular networking sites at groups.myspace.com/amgba and clubs.yuwie.com/amgba and in the groups section of facebook.com and friendster.com.

I am happy to inform you that Technical Sections Volume III is now available which continues the great tradition of practical tech advice started with Volumes I and II. In keeping with the times this one is available only on CD for PC or Mac and is available in the Regalia/ Club Store section of each Octagon and on the website at www.mgclub.org.

Another new item in the store is a complete copy of the past ten years of the Octagon available on CD only for PC or Mac.

We have a new and improved club message board. You can access through the club website at www.mgclub.org or directly at board.amgba.com. We have a members only section of the message board. You can use the user id and password on page 3 of each Octagon or you can get a personal id and password. To do so, register and then logon to the message board and send a message to us with a reply in this section or via email. This allows you to access the MEMBER ONLY QUESTION & ANSWER and UPKEEP & PERFORMANCE HINTS area. It also allows you to post items in the FOR SALE and WANTED sections as well as post photos in the MEMBER PHOTOS area.

The club also now has a blog located at blog.amgba.com. Members can publish items or comments to the Blog by logging in as a member. We have a new American MGB Association photo gallery located at photos.amgba.com. The same login is used for the gallery as the Message Board. Members can download photos directly to this gallery.

Members now receive monthly publications. The Octagon is published in February, April, June, August, October and December and the eOctagon is published in January, March, May, July, September and November.

We now offer a 3 year membership or renewal rate which includes a free t-shirt or tech volume III CD. The rate is $95 or $125 for members outside the USA. And in response to many members we now have a 3 year eMembership for $50 which also includes a free t-shirt or tech volume III CD. So save some money and get a free t-shirt or tech CD in the process!

Send us your email address so that we can send you the eOctagon. The eOctagon is sent via bulk email so if you are blocking this type of email you will not get it.

Please send in you stories and photos to be used in the Octagon. You will receive a credit toward renewal or regalia.

Send in your list of spare parts that you have for sale as we send out all lists we have received during the year to members that request lists of spare parts available. These lists are also now appear on our web page in the “members only” section!

You need an ID and password to access the “members only” section of our web site at www.mgclub.org. You will find the ID and password on page 3 of the OCTAGON. These change with each issue so be sure to use only the ones listed in the latest issue.

Have a great start to the new year!

Frank Ochal

Nanjing MG 7

Chinese automaker Nanjing MG has formally launched its new MG 7 luxury sedan in the home market, priced from around $25,500
from Edmunds Inside Line

The MG 7 competes head to head with the Roewe 750 sedan built by rival — and suitor — Shanghai Auto. Both models are based on the original and now-defunct Rover 75 sedan; Shanghai bought the blueprints and Nanjing bought the tooling.

  The central government has been trying to broker a marriage between the two   state-owned companies, but so far both sides seem to be resisting a forced merger.

In bringing the MG 7 to market, Nanjing observes that the design “retains the character” of the Rover 75’s stablemate, the old MG ZT sedan. The latest edition, however, is built in China, rather than England.

In the Chinese market, Nanjing is offering three versions of the MG 7, plus a flagship MG 7L. The base car is fitted with a 160-horsepower turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, adapted by Lotus Engineering. The range-topping MG 7L has a 177-hp 2.5-liter V6 and features a modest 0.8-inch stretch over the standard edition, with more rear legroom.

The MG 7L tops out at $45,000, making it one of the most expensive domestic models from a Chinese automaker.

What this means to you: Americans will see the MG TF roadster long before the Chinese send this big sedan over.

'74 B of Francis P Queoff

The December 2007 Octagon issue’s Queen B is the ’74 B roadster of Francis P. Queoff. Here is the story:

Here are some photos of my ’74 B roadster. I bought it in 1998, the body was in good condition, it had no rust, it was a Florida car but it did not run good. I put in a Weber carburetor and electronic ignition. In the next two years, I did the interior and a new top. In the year 2000 I replaced the motor, the next year I put on a new chromed set of 72 spoke wire wheels. Last fall I stripped off all the chrome and windows and had it painted. I worked all winter putting new chrome and bumpers back on the car. I have gone to six local car shows in 2007 and have taken two first place, three second place and one third place trophy and one best of show for foreign cars. I drive the car and put approximately 2000 miles on the car each year.

From the Editor's Desk – December 2007

Welcome to the new members that have joined since the last issue.

1st place ‘74 GT of Ken Nicks We would like to thank Francis P. Queoff and all of the other contributors to this issue of the Octagon. Also thanks to Art Isaacs for his continued work in answering members’ technical questions and answers. Be sure to send in photos and stories so we can include them in future issues of the Octagon.

AMGBA Meet 2007 was held September 29, 2007 in conjunction with MGs on the Green in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thanks again to Kyle Kirby for his help in making AMGBA Meet 2007 a great success! See the report in this issue.

I am happy to inform you that Technical Sections Volume III is now available which continues the great tradition of practical tech advice started with Volumes I and II. In keeping with the times this one is available only on CD for PC or Mac and is available in the Regalia/ Club Store section of each Octagon and on the website at www.mgclub.org.

Another new item in the store is a complete copy of the past ten years of the Octagon available on CD only for PC or Mac.

We have a new and improved club message board. You can access through the club website at www.mgclub.org or directly at http://board.amgba.com . We have a members only section of the message board. You can use the user id and password on page 3 of each Octagon or you can get a personal id and password. To do so, register and then logon to the message board and send a message to us with a reply in this section or via email. This allows you to access the MEMBER ONLY QUESTION & ANSWER and UPKEEP & PERFORMANCE HINTS area. It also allows you to post items in the FOR SALE and WANTED sections as well as post photos in the MEMBER PHOTOS area.

The club also now has a blog located at http://blog.amgba.com . Members can publish items or comments to the Blog by logging in as a member. We have a new American MGB Association photo gallery located at http://photos.amgba.com. The same login is used for the gallery as the Message Board. Members can download photos directly to this gallery.

Members now receive monthly publications. The Octagon is published in February, April, June, August, October and December and the eOctagon is published in January, March, May, July, September and November.

We now offer a 3 year membership or renewal rate which includes a free t-shirt or tech volume II CD. The rate is $95 or $125 for members outside the USA. And in response to many members we now have a 3 year eMembership for $50 which also includes a free t-shirt or tech volume III CD. So save some money and get a free t-shirt or tech CD in the process!

Send us your email address so that we can send you the eOctagon. The eOctagon is sent via bulk email so if you are blocking this type of email you will not get it.

Please send in you stories and photos to be used in the Octagon. You will receive a credit toward renewal or regalia.

Send in your list of spare parts that you have for sale as we send out all lists we have received during the year to members that request lists of spare parts available. These lists are also now appear on our web page in the “members only” section!

You need an ID and password to access the “members only” section of our web site at www.mgclub.org . You will find the ID and password on page 3 of the OCTAGON. These change with each issue so be sure to use only the ones listed in the latest issue.

Have a great holiday season!

Nanjing MG has launched the MG 7 Luxury Sedan

Chinese automaker Nanjing MG has formally launched its new MG 7 luxury sedan in the home market, priced from around $25,500

from Edmunds Inside Line

The MG 7 competes head to head with the Roewe 750 sedan built by rival — and suitor — Shanghai Auto. Both models are based on the original and now-defunct Rover 75 sedan; Shanghai bought the blueprints and Nanjing bought the tooling.

New MGs made in China The central government has been trying to broker a marriage between the two state-owned companies, but so far both sides seem to be resisting a forced merger.

In bringing the MG 7 to market, Nanjing observes that the design “retains the character” of the Rover 75’s stablemate, the old MG ZT sedan. The latest edition, however, is built in China, rather than England.

In the Chinese market, Nanjing is offering three versions of the MG 7, plus a flagship MG 7L. The base car is fitted with a 160-horsepower turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, adapted by Lotus Engineering. The range-topping MG 7L has a 177-hp 2.5-liter V6 and features a modest 0.8-inch stretch over the standard edition, with more rear legroom.

The MG 7L tops out at $45,000, making it one of the most expensive domestic models from a Chinese automaker.

What this means to you: Americans will see the MG TF roadster long before the Chinese send this big sedan over.