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Old 06-12-2013, 10:06   #1
LeRich
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'The Pilgrimage' - MG Factory Tour 5th December 2013

Yesterday I took the opportunity to take part in a tour of Longbridge which are hosted by MG every Thursday, and thought I would share a few of the photos and experiences from my afternoon there.

The tour began in the Elephant House, or the 'MG Sales Centre' where we were greeted by Doug Wallace, MG's PR and Events Manager and given a brew while we watched a short film in the auditorium. The film gave a brief background to the site's history and MG itself with the majority of it about MG's present and future as part of SAIC. It was nothing I hadn't seen before, but informative nonetheless.



From the Sales Centre we made out way across to the Conference Centre.



In the foyer to be greeted by one of the oldest ever Rovers.



Pretty amazing given it's over 100 years old and apparently still runs!

From the foyer you can then visit Herbert Austin's office. While not in its original location, it has been faithfully reconstructed to exactly how it was. Another short film accompanied. (Apologies for image quality - pics were taken through a window as we weren't allowed access inside.)





Back from the foyer we went through to the large conference auditorium to watch a short footage reel of car body building from Austin's 1930's heyday. The room itself is huge and draped with large red banners displaying the MG logo in a rather imperialistic fashion.

From there we stepped through to a small museum housing a pair of vintage Rover P4 and some special Minis







As well as the 5,000,000th Rover (a beauliful 75 2.5 Connoisseur SE) and MG (a lovely TF 160)





From the Conference Centre, we braved the winds to cross over to the Assembly plant. We saw an MG3 endurance test vehicle whizzing past on the way over. The car has covered over 60k miles so far (not bad for a 13-plate!) and is so far proving durable.



Doug revealed that the cars are assembled in batches, with the assembly staff then working on quality assurance once the cars had been assembled. When I quizzed him about the MG3, he said they were assembled as the MG6 was, with the drivetrain and front end attached to the car there. This is contrary to recent reports that the cars are currently arriving fully assembled.



We weren't allowed into the assembly area unfortunately, with health and safety cited as the reason. A great shame but I was able to capture the activity below.





Plenty of MG6 GTs ungoing final checks for anyone in doubt that production had halted.

A view between the Conference Centre and Assembly block showing just how vast the site still is.



The final stop on the tour was the Technical Centre. I was particularly excited about this as it's the nerve centre of SAIC's UK operation. Due the potentially sensitive nature of the work being done, no photography was allowed within.

Inside the Centre is a vast open plan office flanked with a series of smaller offices and meeting rooms. At a guess there was at least 70 people on there from what I could see and most likely considerably more.

As you enter the main office there are displays showing the NSE engine from the MG3, a hybrid transmission as fiutted to several Chinese Roewe models, a manual gearbox and another larger engine. We were then givena brief outline of the work down in the centre and shown the MG5 concept which is proudly displayed.



(Image c/o AROnline)

It's a stunning looking car - it's just a shame the production version didn't translate well.

Back outside the SMTC, an attractice late ZT (identical to my old one) is surrounded by various MG6s




The SMTC was the final part of the tour before returning to the Sales Centre to paw over the single MG3 and numerous MG6s on display.

There was only 1 MG3 on display such is the demand for the car; the other 2 outside including this striking example were awaiting collection



According to Doug, MG has taken over 600 orders for the MG which I find very encouraging given how long the car has been officially on sale.

Overall, a very enjoyable 2 hours spent and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the site's past but more so to those more interested in it's future.
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:57   #2
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Very interesting. Thanks for posting the pics and sharing the info you picked up.

Like you say, the MG5 concept looks good and the amount of MG3 orders seems promising for them.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:12   #3
H Musgrove
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I heard the tour is 5 now, is that right?

That production line looks pretty dead to me.

I did the tour twice last year, very enjoyable.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:53   #4
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Real shame the production MG5 differes so much from the concept.

Hopefully in a few years the assembly area will be a bit busier.
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:19   #5
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Originally Posted by H Musgrove View Post
I heard the tour is 5 now, is that right? That production line looks pretty dead to me. I did the tour twice last year, very enjoyable.
I went on one last year. The highlight was the tour guide's summation of the MG6: "It's a good car. Not as good as my BMW, mind, but a good car."
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:37   #6
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Well they do say 'Honesty is the best of Policy'.

I asked for a cup of tea there last year. I had to hand over 50p and them found out the milk was off as I poured it into the cup.
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:47   #7
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I went to see 75s, 45s, 25s and TFs being made getting on 10 years ago. We certainly saw the production line then. I would bet it would be a much more dangerous place back then with presses and welders going full song.

I think it was arranged by aronline.co.uk or this forum, one of the two.
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:50   #8
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Back in The Good Old Days, we (X-Power forums) used to arrange one at least every 6 months. We even used to get the chassis lads to meet us at the Curborugh Sprint Track.
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:59   #9
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Originally Posted by JoCoLo View Post
I went to see 75s, 45s, 25s and TFs being made getting on 10 years ago. We certainly saw the production line then. I would bet it would be a much more dangerous place back then with presses and welders going full song.
A few weeks back, I went to tour the Land Rover plant at Solihull and we got shown the lot there too so I'd imagine it's not all to do with Health and Safety.

Those MG6s undergoing final checks seem to have numberplates, oddly. Were they returned fleet cars being prepped for the used car program, rather than new builds?
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Old 06-12-2013, 15:23   #10
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Last time I was down that way they were stripping down a competitors vehicle, which I "did not see".

Not got any work with SAIC for a while, they are slowly and surely maturing the team down at that end, I know they'ev done worth with a few companies we have worked with but dont know if its MG or General Engineering.
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Old 06-12-2013, 15:37   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay13 PNTHR View Post
Last time I was down that way they were stripping down a competitors vehicle, which I "did not see"..
They certainly made no secret of the Audi A3 they are currently analysing. A section of the office adjacent the MG5 concept was packed with loads of components that had been, or were being, studied.

Interesting it's an A3 they're looking at...
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Old 06-12-2013, 15:38   #12
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Originally Posted by Jay13 PNTHR View Post
Last time I was down that way they were stripping down a competitors vehicle, which I "did not see".

Not got any work with SAIC for a while, they are slowly and surely maturing the team down at that end, I know they'ev done worth with a few companies we have worked with but dont know if its MG or General Engineering.
was that the fiesta?
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Old 06-12-2013, 15:39   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H Musgrove View Post
I heard the tour is 5 now, is that right?

That production line looks pretty dead to me.
There's no charge for the tour but they ask for a suggested 5 donation for the Macmillan Trust.

There is currently no assembly there at the moment - the team are doing the quality assurance on the last batch built.
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Old 06-12-2013, 20:36   #14
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Great pics mate, thanks for posting.

I went on the tour last year and really enjoyed it - seems like theres more happening there now that the '3 is on sale though.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:01   #15
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Perhaps one day I will go over and take the tour. No interest in the new stuff but I do love history and the conference centre frontage is just so iconic of the period.
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