MG’s American plans are more advanced than NAC led the British media to believe in its earlier press conference, when its CEO Yu Jianwei said there had been little more than a letter of intent for starting an HQ and plant in Oklahoma.
Both an article from the Norman Economic Development Foundation, which talks of a ‘world headquarters’ for MG in Oklahoma, and the latest statements from the US company CEO, Duke T. Hale, suggest very advanced plans.
Hale said that Yu was unfamiliar with the west and may have misunderstood the question, though British media were convinced otherwise.
Hale’s optimistic ﬁgures for MG sales may give observers some cause for concern, but his method—targeting an internet-savvy buyer—has some merit in restoring the brand globally. The problem is that the internet-savvy consumer is likely to know that the cars are old-tech, BMW-era product. However, Hale cites the Mini as an example of how a brand can be revived if marketed and branded right. Certainly it was absent for decades from the US market, and the right product ensured that it picked up rapidly.
If the world HQ for MG is indeed in Ardmore, Oklahoma—where there are tax breaks because of a deal with the Chickasaw Nation, and where $30 million is expected to go to payroll there—then it seems a waste of the centre of excellence that the Longbridge, England location represents.
The British may not have been great at running its car companies, but as sites such as Keith Adams’ Unofﬁcial Austin–Rover Resource reveal, they are not short of innovative ideas.
The Resource notes that while MG is making announcements of world-beating, rival MG Rover bidder SAIC has released photographs of its highly modiﬁed, long-wheelbase Rover 75, along with initial speciﬁcations. It is also rumoured—something ﬁrst told to me by Dan Lockton, before the trademarks’ ofﬁce revealed any changes—that SAIC, which has deeper pockets than NAC, has bought the Rover trademark from BMW for £11·5 million. A press conference will take place on August 22, according to the Birmingham Post.
This should be quite a battle. NAC has less money but a stronger brand. SAIC has more money and a brand with questionable brand equity. When the cars hit the market—especially as the 75 saloons have a shared base—it will be interesting to note just how much the stronger MG brand will further NAC’s sales. However, the smaller company needs to make sure all is well with the product—without it, a brand can only give a short-term sheen, and nothing more.
Update 1: the UK trademarks’ ofﬁce still shows ‘Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft’ as the proprietor of trade mark no. 288516, the Rover name for use on motor cars. MG (trade mark no. 490091) is owned by ‘MG Rover Group Limited’, which is part of NAC now. It has no need to acquire an additional name.
Update 2, August 16, 1.55 p.m. GMT: deal, what deal? SAIC and BMW China say a deal over the trade mark is not imminent, as reported in the Associated Press. The British press—Financial Times included—may have jumped the gun.
Del.icio.us tags: MG Rover MG Rover NAC SAIC brand branding Oklahoma UK Duke T. Hale Posted by Jack Yan, 00:00
It all kinda reminds me of the whole Rolls/BMW VAG/Bently saga
Funny, the same thing came to mind for me, too. SAIC will pay less for Rover, while NAC had to buy the factory to get MG.
The Rover SUV sales is not doing good for quite sometime now, so Ford should not cling much to the Rover Brand as this will not be a good decision for the ailing company.Post a Comment
# posted by Tracy: 9/14/2006 01:02:00 AM
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