Nanjing Automobile is planning to be the first Chinese car maker to open a factory in the US and hopes to attract American drivers to the delights of iconic British sports car marque MG.

The company, which bought the assets of the collapsed MG Rover Group last year [WAMN: 25-Jul-06], is looking at Oklahoma as the location for the plant to produce a new MG TF Coupé.

Nanjing says is it still planning to assemble a convertible TF Roadster version at MG's factory in Longbridge, England, and three sedan models in China.

The company is not alone in its ambitions to enter the US market. Several other Chinese automakers say they will be ready to export vehicles within three years.

However, Nanjing is the only firm to build vehicles outside China, where it will face higher labor costs.

Says MG Motors ceo-designate Duke Hale: "We want to be a global company. We don't want to be a company that simply exports out of China. We don't want to be seen as just another Chinese car company."

Nanjing's commitment to the marque has the approval of the UK-headquartered MG Owners' Club, whose technical consultant Roger Parker says: "It's clear that they are . . . very conscious of the rich history that they have bought."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff