July 12, 2006

Nanjing auto to assemble cars in Oklahoma

DETROIT (Reuters) - China's Nanjing Automobile Group, which
took control of Britain's collapsed MG Rover last year, plans
to build MG-brand cars in Oklahoma, state officials said on

Nanjing could be the first Chinese automaker to assemble
cars in the United States.

The company plans to locate its headquarters in Oklahoma
City with assembly and distribution in Ardmore. Research and
development will be in Norman at the University of Oklahoma.

Nanjing Automobile is one of several Chinese car makers,
including Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and Chery Automotive
Co., hoping to crack the global car market amid a slowdown in
demand at home.

It has a small joint venture in China with Italy's Fiat,
but has struggled to make headway against bigger rivals that
tied up with top brands General Motors Corp. and Volkswagen

The company, called MG Motors of North America, will create
more than 500 jobs in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of
Commerce said.

"We looked at a lot of different locations around the
country, but none could equal the overall appeal of Oklahoma,"
Duke Hale, chief executive of the new company, said in a
statement. "Oklahoma also provides an ideal geographic location
to support our distribution efforts for the North American
market and for exporting products abroad."

Nanjing Automobile, one of China's oldest auto makers,
surprised the motoring world when it outbid top Chinese car
maker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. to buy MG Rover out of
bankruptcy for $98 million (53 million pounds) in mid-2005.

Earlier this year, it took a 33-year lease on the former MG
Rover plant at Longbridge in central England and said it still
hoped to revive production at the site.