Nanjing Automobile is looking for an advertising agency ahead of the launch of MG-branded cars across Europe later this year. It is understood that the business is worth several million pounds.
The company, China’s oldest carmaker, bought the British assets of MG Rover, including the MG name and the carmaker’s Longbridge plant, in July 2005. It plans to launch MG branded cars in Europe and China in July.
Nanjing’s sales and franchise manager Stephen Cox confirms the company is in talks with three agencies and will hold a pitch at the end of the month. Nanjing is also looking for a sales and marketing manager to work alongside Cox. They will all report to an as-yet unnamed managing director.
Cox will not comment on the shortlisted agencies but says: “We’re mainly interested in above-the-line advertising because we’ve got to get our profile out there.”
But he believes the MG brand “has not been sullied to too great a degree”.
MG Rover’s £21m advertising account was previously handled by St Luke’s but it is not thought that the agency is one of the three currently talking to Nanjing.
It is not clear which models Nanjing plans to launch but its preparations have been hit by a dispute over ownership of the MG badge with the administrator of the Dutch subsidiary of MG Rover.
Anthony Terng, administrator of MG Rover Nederland, said last month that the insolvency company still owned several MG trade marks in Europe which Nanjing would need to secure before selling cars there.