• Jan 20th 2009 at 7:39PM
  • 17
Is a British automaker still British if it's foreign owned? This is an increasingly relevant question, as England's biggest car brands have been gobbled up by foreign concerns. Jaguar and Land Rover are owned by India's Tata, Aston Martin by a group of Kuwaiti investors, Bentley is part of the Volkswagen Group, Rolls-Royce under the BMW umbrella, and Lotus is owned by Malaysian state automaker Proton. This leaves the LTI taxi cab company as the largest independent, self-owned British automaker. Even MG was sold, together with Rover, to China's Nanjing Automobile Corporation nearly four years ago. But a recent change in nomenclature apparently seeks to minimize that impression.
MG has been operated over the past several years as NAC MG UK Ltd, including on its masthead the name of its parent company. Nanjing has decided to change that, however, renaming its British subsidiary as MG Motor UK Ltd. Will that change the notion that Britain's favorite roadster company is owned by the Chinese? Not one bit, but who knows, maybe some will be fooled.

[Source: Autocar]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seems the world is jealous of chinese success.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Of course they are successful. When you only pay your workers enough to eat rice, and sell your products to rich nations at a huge mark up, success is inevitable.

        • 6 Years Ago
        @Jakesnake,

        If you judge by Western standards, the pay scale in China is very small in general, or on average, but then the cost of living is also much, much lower. I don't think Chinese autoworkers are being paid any less than people in other professions.

        As for that rice comment, you do realize that even the wealthiest of Chinese folks eat rice two meals a day?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes Joe, I do know that even the wealthy eat rice twice a day. I was in Beijing and Shanghai on a business trip this past December.

        As I toured those cities, I don't know if I saw any of those "wealthy" auto workers, but most Chinese that I did see don't live any better than my dog. Many things that I saw that appeared to be prosperous were false fronts. Literally! Nice looking homes that were really only a front wall that was propped up with beams.

        Possibly after China completes its economic domination of the world it will take its workers into account, but until then it is sad what they pay average factory workers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't Brits have pride?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The big three in the US are next to be foreign owned. Chrysler was and is almost there again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Noah Joseph doesn't understand how companies are structured. NAC MG UK Ltd is - and always was - a British company. It's registered in England & Wales at Companies House in Cardiff, and it's articled in England & Wales. It also has to comply with company law in England & Wales. All it has done is change its name to MG Motors UK Ltd - a very simple procedure done by lodging an application at Companies House.

      The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nanjing Auto in China, which is a Chinese company. However, the domicile of a subsidiary company is based on where it is articled, and not upon where the parent company is articled or physically headquartered.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, they still have Morgan, and that company is as British as warm beer!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nanjing MG sounds fine....what sounds stupid are names like CHERY, BRILLIANCE, and BYD (Build Your Dreams). Those three seem to be the most successful Chinese automakers but if they want to have a chance outside of China they need to change their names.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wasn't MG changed to stand for Modern Gentleman?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Dear Jeremy Clarkson,
      I have some disturbing news...
      It is about Aston Martin ...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought LTI had some Chinese connection...
      • 6 Years Ago
      The product remains the same. The only thing Nanjing can hope to accomplish by removing its name from the cars is to fool some people into thinking that they are NOT buying a Chinese car... or they wish to avoid any negative perceptions attached to the Nanjing name.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Conundrum - the name isn't on the car. The name of the company is simply the legal entity - and not the name the company happens to be trading as (or doing business as in US-speak). People know the car now has Chinese roots from the amount of press it has received since production was revamped. The change of company name is an aesthetic one designed to promote Britishness in the product with its employees, suppliers and customers, as the company gradually establishes more British input in its future products.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Autoblog: "Is a British automaker still British if it's foreign owned?"

      Uhh, no.
      • 6 Years Ago
      most British automakers havent been British for a very long time, why do you think clarkson is such a sour apple.
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