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China approves Nanjing purchase of MG Rover-Xinhua

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Mar 13 (Reuters) China's powerful State Development and Reform Commission has approved Nanjing Automobile's purchase of collapsed British car company MG Rover, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

Nanjing chairman Wang Haoliang was cited by Xinhua as saying the Chinese car maker planned to roll out its first locally made MG75 sedan in the first half of 2007 based on the acquired technology.

Nanjing surprised the motoring world when the company paid 53 million pounds (US.3 million) to buy MG Rover out of bankruptcy in July, outbidding top Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive Corp.

(SAIC).

The British car maker collapsed under debts of 1.4 billion pounds in April, leading to 5,000 job losses at its main plant.

Last month, Nanjing took a 33-year lease on the former MG Rover plant at Longbridge in central England and reiterated it still hoped to revive production at the site.

Nanjing is one of several Chinese car makers, including Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and Chery Automotive Co. Ltd., hoping to follow Japan's Toyota Motor Co. and South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co.

in becoming truly global brands.

A slowdown in growth in the domestic car market, coupled with intense competition, is pushing more Chinese auto makers towards overseas markets.

But analysts say Chinese car makers face problems ranging from quality issues to a lack of design expertise and capital.

REUTERS SD PM1527

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