Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 13:26 UK

MGs leave Longbridge for dealers

New MG
SAIC said 700 MGTFs would be produced by the end of the year

MGs have left the Longbridge plant in Birmingham for dealers across the UK for the first time since 2005.

The MGTF LE500 cars are due to go on sale to the public at dealer open days from 20 September.

Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) has said it hopes to produce 700 MGTFs by the end of the year. The model is expected to retail at about 16,500.

MG Rover collapsed in 2005. It was bought for 53m by Nanjing Automobile Corporation and then SAIC took over.

The LE500 designation will only be given to the first 500 individually-numbered cars to leave the Longbridge production line.

Phoenix consortium

Longbridge was opened in 1905 by motoring legend Herbert Austin.

As well as producing cars, it was used as a munitions factory during both world wars and began production of the iconic Mini in 1959.

It also produced the popular Metro and Rover 200 models before the Rover company was bought by BMW in 1994.

BMW subsequently sold the firm to the Phoenix Consortium, under whom it went into administration in 2005.

The collapse in 2005 led to the loss of about 6,000 jobs.

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