British pride, it’s… Chinese

It’s a sad thing that the days of British manufacturing are long gone but it’s also true that these days being a mature and developed nation, invariably means having only very limited heavy industry.

In the heyday of British manufacturing almost all families contributed in one way or another to sectors such as aviation, pharmaceuticals, textiles and tobacco.

Perhaps none was more ingrained in the national identity than motor vehicle manufacturing. Names like Vauxhall, Leyland, Rover, Mini, Metro, MG, Aston Martin, Bentley, Lotus and Jaguar all became synonymous with British pride and excellence in automotive engineering.

These days very little motor manufacturing lives on. Yes, many major names still have a presence – Ford, Honda, Nissan, Mini, Morris and Jaguar Land Rover are just some of the companies which still retain UK vehicle production plants – but it is a scaled down presence and the industry does not employ anything like the hundreds of thousands of workers it used to.

At least Nissan, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover can lay claim to decent levels of vehicle production, as all produce over 200,000 vehicles a year, but it certainly isn’t the same, particularly when there is only a limited level of British ownership.

Still, that didn’t prevent me from feeling excited at the news that MG is to produce its first completely new vehicle in 16 years. Yes, it is a now a Chinese owned brand, but MG is one of the most iconic of all British brands and the new model, the MG6, has been engineered in Britain and will be assembled over here at the famous plant in Longbridge, the West Midlands. I certainly won’t allow myself to make tired jokes about MG going all MSG.

My first thoughts on seeing pictures of the new vehicle? Well, I’m disappointed to say that I think it looks a bit samey, so I very much doubt I’ll be seeking a cheap car insurance quote for an MG6 any time soon, but I will reserve final judgement until I see it up close and in the metal.

Image © dok1 via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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