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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Longbridge cars 'on sale in 2007'
Longbridge Works - April 2006
Machinery remains ready to use within the Longbridge works
The UK chairman of the firm that bought Rover's Longbridge plant has said that Nanjing Auto is about to restart car-making in Birmingham.

The BBC has learned that cars could go on sale from July 2007 and Chinese firm Nanjing has said it is keen to re-employ ex-Longbridge workers.

Two production lines remain intact, including the MGTF sports car line.

Some Midland firms have been approached to make parts for Nanjing and more orders are expected.

Speaking through an interpreter, Nanjing's UK chairman Wang Hongbiao told the BBC: "We are going to resume production of MGTF here.

"Maybe in the near future... we will launch some new models to the market."

Nanjing announced in February that it had renewed its lease on the Longbridge plant for a further 33 years and wanted to resume car production. It also has a get-out clause allowing it to walk away.

200 initial jobs

The firm has previously said it could employ 1,000 people. It later changed that number to 600.

On Tuesday, Nanjing said there would be 200 jobs in the first year of production.

The company said the more cars it sells the more jobs it will create. A recruitment drive to find the initial workforce will take place at the end of this year.

Nanjing's acquisition of MG Rover only included the rights to use the MG brand. The Rover brand is still owned by Rover Group's former parent BMW.

MG Rover went bust in 2005, at a cost of about 6,000 jobs, and was then bought by Nanjing for 50m ($86m).

See Nanjing's UK boss outline the firm's plans

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