MG is Back!

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March 27th saw yet another of those milestones being hailed far and wide as a sign of China’s rise. Nanjing Auto said it was beginning production of two car models under the once-iconic British brand MG, having bought rights to the name and what was left of MG Rover’s production facilities in 2006. Once upon a time, an MG was the apotheosis of cool, producing a range of affordable sports cars. But that was back in the 1960s and 70s. MG pretty much lost its cachet once the Japanese invasion started for the simple reason that while they were fun, like other British brands like Hillman, Austin and Morris they were incredibly unreliable. Once people found that they could buy cars that were fun and also didn’t break down every other day or have parts drop off, they abandoned good old MG in droves. Mazda even produced a car called the MX5 that was basically a highly reliable, fuel efficient MG. It remains to be seen what kind of cars emerge from the Nanjing Auto factory in China. Given the cutthroat state of China’s car market at the moment, it’s hard to see them spending a lot on quality control. So great is the discounting war going on among domestic manufacturers that quality seems to have been thrown out the window in an attempt to cut costs. Somewhere around three quarters of domestically made cars produced in recent months reportedly had defects. MG should fit right in.