Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC) (UK) has appointed former Lotus and Volvo marketer Gary Hagan as sales and marketing director as it gears up to launch MG-branded cars across Europe later this year.
Hagan joins from Lotus in the US, where he held several senior marketing and management positions. He is also a former Volvo North America marketer.
Hagan, who will report to NAC UK managing director Richard Ji, joins in the final stages of an advertising pitch that started earlier this year (MW January 11). The company is expected to appoint an agency to handle the multi-million-pound account later this month.
MG Rover’s £21m advertising account was previously handled by St Luke’s and, before Hagan’s appointment, the advertising pitch was being run by Nanjing’s sales and franchise manager Stephen Cox.
Nanjing, 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.
It has been claimed that the company is aiming to sell 90,000 cars across Europe by 2009. It is thought Nanjing will relaunch the MG brand with modified versions of two existing models, the MG ZF and the MG ZT-T, in July.
The Coupé, the Halo sports car and a new “lower-medium car” are expected to follow in 2008, with two new models in 2009.
MG is believed to have lined up about 95 dealers in the UK and a further 260 across Europe.