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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
UK 'will retain' Rover production
Rover 25
Nanjing has promised to retain some production in the UK
Chinese car firm Nanjing Automobile has said it remains committed to restarting MG Rover car production in the UK.

Vice-president Wang Too Jing said up to 1,200 jobs could be created at Rover's Longbridge plant.

Production at Longbridge would restart in 2006, get up to speed in 2007 and should soon reach 100,000 cars a year.

The announcement follows widespread media speculation that the company was preparing to pull out of the West Midlands.

Changing times

Recent reports have said the group is removing machinery from the plant as part of plans to shift all car making equipment to China.

Nanjing said its plans for the UK and Chinese operations have yet to be finalised.

MG Rover was sold to Nanjing for an undisclosed sum in July after a prolonged bidding battle with rival Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).

At the time of the deal, administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers said Nanjing intended to relocate the engine plant and some car production plant to China but to "retain some car production" in the UK.

They also said the firm, China's oldest carmaker, had plans to build a research and development and technical facility in the UK.

The UK's last British mass-produced car maker collapsed in April with debts of 1.4bn, a hole in its pension fund of 415m. and the loss of almost 6,000 jobs.

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