15 November, 2017

Britain's Greatest Car Manufacturer - MG

The next in our series is MG. They have experienced a chequered history due to their relationship with the British Leyland Motor Corporation but have come back with a new selection of models to claim back what was theirs.

History of MG

MG was founded by Cecil Kimber who chose MG as a reference to Morris Garages, owned by William Morris. Kimber saw an opportunity to ease the disadvantage of cars with rumble seats at the rear. His solution was to attach a roof to stop the people who were in those seats from being wet. In 1923, he created the Morris Garage Chummy - a modification of the Morris Oxford or Cowley. The following year, Morris was dropped and cars from the garages were becoming known as MG's. The octagonal badge was trademarked and used on the second MG car which was the 14/28 super sports. 

Abingdon - A home for over 50 years

In 1929, they moved to the Abingdon factory where they would produce cars until it closed 1980. During their time at the factory, MG produced some of their most famous cars such as their MG Midget series which ran for over 20 years. In addition to this, other long-standing models were the MG Magnette (1953-68) and the MG MGB. 

“MG was very important. It represented Abingdon, everybody thought of them together. It was a major blow the way the news came out, they were celebrating their 50th anniversary the weekend before." - Jackie Smith - honorary archivist.

Demise of MG

After Kimber was removed, Morris Motors merged with the Austin Motor Company to form the British Motor Corporation who would later merge with Leyland Motors to form British Leyland Corporation in 1968. After running into serious difficulties, the British Leyland Corporation was nationalised and MG was merged into the Rover Group along with other brands such as Land Rover and Mini to form the Austin Rover Group.

In 1988, MG was acquired by British Aerospace for £150m who later sold the brands to BMW in 1994 for 800m. MG was sold on in 2004 for £10 to the Phoenix Consortium who also inherited a dowry worth £500m. The company would go into receivership in 2005. 

Return of MG

They were bought by NAC for £53m who is China's oldest car manufacturer. NAC merged with SAIC in 2007 and re-launched the MGTF LE 500 based on the iconic MG F. In 2011, the MG6 GT became the first new MG released in 16 years. 

MG's Ascension to Royalty

MG has the accolade of one of its owners being the Prince of Wales who bought a Blue MGC GT in 1968.

MG in Motorsport

MG participate in motorsports such as the British Touring Car Championships where they have achieved success in 2014 when they won the BTCC Manufacturer title in 2014.

Final Words

Has MG's phoenix-like return has ensured that their underlying strength as a brand is enough to be the greatest story of all -time? Or is there another? Next in our series is the ultra-classic MINI.

Britain's greatest car manufacturer MG
Britain's greatest car manufacturer MG
Britain's greatest car manufacturer MG
Britain's greatest car manufacturer MG
Britain's greatest car manufacturer MG