The incredible story of MG: from UK to China

The incredible story of MG: from UK to China

The origin of the incredible story of MG begins in the early 1920s with a key figure in the creation of the company, that of William Morris. Morris marketed his own cars in Oxford under the brand name that bore his surname. In 1921 the second key figure entered the scene, that of Cecil Kimber. Kimber joins the Morris dealership as a sales manager and a year later becomes general manager.

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Kimber decides to give a boost to the sales of vehicles Morris developed special versions of these cars. These cars sported custom bodies made by Carbodies, in Coventry, and bore both the Morris and the Morris emblems. MG (short for Morris Garage). The octagonal MG logo first appeared in an Oxford newspaper in November 1923, and the May 1, 1924, the Morris Garage trademark and its well-known logo were registered.

The incredible story of MG: unstoppable growth

From that moment, the demand for MG models skyrocketed, forcing the company to move up to two times, in 1925 and 1927, to larger factories. The second would be located near Morris’s main factory, with its own production line for the first time. The company continues to expand and in 1928 it appears for the first time in the London Hall independently. That same year, the brand began to be used The M.G. Car Company.

The third factory cannot keep up with the demand and the company is relocated again in 1929. A year later, MG Car Company Limited is founded. Kimber was in charge of MG until 1941 after a dispute with Morris. For his part, Morris had sold MG to Nuffield Organization in 1935. From that moment begins a dance of owners, mergers and takeovers that would bring about the degradation of the MG brand until its total extinction in the early 1970s.

Mergers, sales and takeovers

In 1952, MG Car Company Limited is absorbed as part of the merger between Morris Motor Company and Austin Motor Company, which resulted in British Motor Corporation (BMC). Until the end of the 60s, MG marketed redesigned versions of cars from other brands, with some exception of its own manufacture. However, the brand was gradually losing its identity and was doomed to failure and extinction.

Thus, BMC merges with Jaguar in September 1966, giving rise to British Motor Holdings (BMH), a company that, in turn, would merge again with Leyland Motor Corporation (owner of Triumph) in 1968, which would give rise to a new company called British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC). In 1972, MG Car Company Limited disappears.

However, the MG brand endures over time. In 1975 BLMC is restructured, dividing its brands into two groups. On the one hand, Triumph, Rover and Jaguar as special vehicles; for another, MG and Austin along with other previous BMC brands intended for the mass market. Of this second group, only MG was profitable despite not marketing innovative or proprietary products, with the exception of MG B. This forced the closure of the Abingdon plant and the temporary abandonment of MG.

The darkest years for MG

The next chapter in MG history was going through design sportier versions of the Austin Rover, Metro, Maestro and Montego models between 1982 and 1991. In 1986, British Leyland became Rover Group and, two years later, MG becomes part of British Aerospace, which represents a new opportunity for the brand with the launch of a new model, the MG RV8, presented in 1992 at the Birmingham Motor Show. In 1994, the MG brand is acquired by BMW and, a year later, the mid-engined MG F is introduced.

BMW sells MG in 2000 and the brand happens to be MG Rover Group based in Birmingham. The brand is now in charge of the development and marketing of sportier versions of the main Rover models, with the MG ZS y ZR like the tip of the spear. However, history once again shakes the manufacturer that emerged in the 1920s with a new bankruptcy in 2005.

MG is reborn with Chinese capital

That same year, MG and other assets of MG Rover Group are acquired by Nanjing Automobile Group, a Chinese company that merged with the giant Shanghái Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) in 2007. This large consortium has allowed the British company to begin a new stage of expansion with a new range of its own models. The new MG 3 helped give the company a sales boost in 2012 and five years later, the brand’s first SUV, the MG GS, followed by MG ZS and RX5.

Now, MG is developing a complete range of electric and hybrid cars that can already be purchased at different Spanish dealers. The range is made up of the MG ZS EV fully electric and the MG EHS Plug-in Hybrid, a plug-in hybrid SUV. This same year 2021 they will launch the Marvel R and MG5, two other 100% electric models designed for efficient mobility in the cities of the future.

Aaron Perez April 2, 2021 – 11:00 a.m.

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