There will be a new 50,000-unit assembly plant in Thailand to be established by SAIC Motor Corp., the owner of the British MG sports-car brand. The plant will be set up together with the Charoen Pokphand Group to assemble MG cars for sale in Southeast Asia. According to an SAIC statement, the initial investment by SAIC and CP Group in the joint venture will be 1.8 billion yuan ($289 million).
It plans to start auto sales in 2014. A 51%-share of the venture goes to the Shanghai automaker while CP gets the rest. SAIC said that the partners intend to increase the annual capacity for the plant to 200,000 units. No time frame was given. According to the Web site, a total of 90,035 MG and Roewe vehicles were sold through June 2012.
SAIC has invested in plants outside China as it aims to expand outside of its home market, where it builds passenger vehicles through joint ventures with General Motors Co. and Volkswagen Group. Since 2009, China has been the biggest trading partner with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
SAIC acquired control of the MG brand via a merger with Nanjing Automobile Group Corp., which purchased the British brand and other assets for 604 million yuan in 2005 after UK group MG Rover Group Ltd., collapsed. In 1924, MG was founded near Oxford, quickly getting famous for its two-seater sports cars such as the MGA, Midget and MGB, which ended production in 1980 after the company was purchased by the precursor of Rover Group as the UK car industry consolidated.