Is Your Car Really British? Part Four – MG

Sun 25th Mar 2018

The British Isles used to be one of the bastions of motor supremacy, some of the biggest car brands, names that go down in history. But no more – we may believe that the famous name brand car we are driving is as British as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding – unfortunately we are probably wrong.

This British sports car manufacturer took its name from the initials of Morris Garages, an Oxford-based sales and services business which began trading in the 1920s. The Morris in question was William Morris, the 1st Viscount of Nuffield, who might be best remembered for his philanthropy and setting up of the famous Nuffield Foundation.

MG was famed for producing open-topped two-seater sports cars in the 1920s, but the distinctive Octagon branding could also be seen on saloons and coupes.

The company remained under William Morris’ overall control until 1935 when he sold it to his holdings company, Morris Motors Limited and production continued at the factory in Abingdon, a site which also hosted the British Motor Corporation and it was to this name that the company moved when Morris merged with Austin in 1952 – the first of several changes.

BMC became British Motor Holdings for one year between 1967 and 1968  before another merger saw MG move to British Leyland, where it remained for the next 22 years. It wasn’t a happy period of time for MG though, the 1970s was a turbulent time for the British motor production industry and despite MG being one of the most profitable marque’s the closure of the Abingdon factory in 1980 saw the MG brand temporarily abandoned.

It was revived in 1982 with the Austin Rover Group building high-performance versions of the saloon and hatchback models, which were produced at Longbridge and Cowley in the UK. One of the most famous MG brands, the Metro was moved over to Rover in 1990 and the Maestro and Montego soon followed.

British Leyland became the Rover Group in 1986 and ownership of the MG marque passed to British Aerospace two years later and then left the UK when BMW bought it out. The German manufacturer held on to the brand but they too abandoned it in 2000 when the MG marque returned to these shores under the MG Rover Group guise, with production back at Longbridge.

Unique MG cars were produced at the site by Rover, but they went into receivership in 2005 and the brand was bought outright by the Nanjing Automobile Group in 2005. The Chinese company has revived the brand and it has gone on to win awards and was voted third place in the Auto Express ‘Best Manufacturer’ category in 2014.

MG is still going strong and you can own one by ordering today at Get one delivered to your door.