New MG models for Longbridge factory

* MG6 saloon to be built * Two more models on the way * New name for factory, too...

New MG models for Longbridge factory

MG is preparing to restart production of saloons at the former Austin factory in Longbridge, Birmingham.

The MG6 a model that's slightly bigger than a Skoda Octavia will start rolling off the production lines in four- and five-door form in October.

Initially, it will be available with only petrol engines, but diesels will follow 12 months later when the factory now rechristened MG Motor Birmingham will begin exporting cars to mainland Europe.

MG is now owned by the China's Shanghai Automotive (SAIC), the successor to the company which bought the Longbridge assembly lines and tooling when Rover went bust.

'Affordability and sportiness'
The MG6 is an Anglicised version of Shanghai Automotive's Roewe 550, which is based on a modified version of the old Rover 75 platform. MG is promising 'affordability and sportiness' as the cornerstones of its strategy in Europe.

More new models on the way
This will be the first of three models likely to end up being made at the Longbridge site. A VW Golf-sized car based on the Roewe 350, a new model to be revealed at April's Beijing auto show, is next in line to arrive here, probably around 2012.

There will also be an even smaller model, about the same size as or slightly larger than European superminis. A concept study of how that car might look is also due to be displayed at Beijing.