Saturday, 26 May 2007

From behind the scenes....




(This is a edited version of an article I wrote for "Enjoying MG" magazine, I thought it was appropriate to put it onto my BLOG, especially as the UK launch ceremony is only a couple of days away, I will of course be writing my own views on that celebration over the next few days)


I lay in my bed; eyes wide open listening to distant train horns. I reached over to my “Shou Ji” (mobile phone in Chinese), to check the time. It had just gone 3am and I knew that any attempt to get back to sleep would be fruitless. My stomach felt like I had washed a chicken madras down with 10 pints of Guinness the night before, and my head was buzzing as if the Guinness had been followed with half a bottle of whisky. The truth was that there had been no curry, no Guinness and not even a drop of scotch. The reason for my nervous disposition, was that today was the culmination of over a years work, a year of 15 hour days, 6 day week's and without any of the national or annual holidays that tend to get in the way of enormous projects like this one. Today was the 27th March 2007, significant as the day after my wedding anniversary, significant as the day I signed my first contract with NAC in 2006. But most significantly this was the day that we celebrated NAC’s 60th birthday, the day we would officially open the new MG car production facility in Pukou, and of course the first day we would launch production of our new cars.

More than 200 Chinese media would attend from TV and Radio.This was in comparison to the 30-40 international media that I offered to organise. I thought that I had the easier task. What I hadn’t understood was that the Chinese press were completely dictated to, and would follow commands like soldiers in the red army. Point and they would go, shout and they would jump, issue a press release and they would print. The international press – now they didn't understand these basic rules of command or instruction.
We had the worlds crop of journalists joining us, in order of appearance we had Sky News, ITN, Channel 4, CNN, Bloomberg News, Reuters, The Times, The Observer, Al Jazeer News, The Birmingham Post, and even the Irish Times.
I had agreed that the media could film on the day before the event, to ensure they had enough material “in the bag” before the big ceremony the following day. What I didn't expect was the extend of the requests for interviews, the filming of vehicles, and some of the bizarre demands made by a minority of journalists whose ego’s had outgrown there physical bodies, and would have normally been associated with Hollywood ‘A’listers rather than middle-aged men with receding hair lines, expanding waistlines and too much time spent watching clips of themselves! I would like to say the previous days filing went without its problems but that would by a lie, we had a number of confrontations, that were only resolved unfortunately with raised voices.
I left the factory exhausted, with a stage half built, and the factory frontage still covered in scaffolding. It was 10 pm, and a bet I had made with the BBC earlier that everything would be finished in time, was looking increasingly lost.

I left home at 7am, and arrived at the Media’s hotel before 8 am. Everything was planned down to the last detail, apart from the obvious demands of the over indulged reporters, the comments “I don't do Coach’s” will always remind me of that stressful morning, pandering to numerous obscure requests. We made the long journey across the Yangtze, which was made more interesting as the whole city seemed to have been dressed up for the occasion. The 20 or so Kilometres between the hotel and the factory had MG flags positioned every 10 metres along the route, and enormous advertising hoardings had appeared overnight to line the way to the main entrance – to the astonishment of everyone (including me!) the frontage had been completed the signs had been installed and the grass had been laid. A Truly miraculous feet, only three weeks earlier the front of the facility had been a mile long stretch of earth and rubble – it had now been turned into a series of landscaped car parks, enormous paved areas and fountains. At the centre of all of this stood probably the world’s largest MG sign.
I made my way into the centre stage where overnight, a video wall, 1000 chairs, media areas, and giant plasma screen TV’s had appeared.

Several day’s ago, I was told that I had been chosen to drive the first MGTF onto the stage, I tried to keep my excitement to myself, fearing that the opportunity would be passed onto a more senior member of the team at the last minute.
I’m not sure what the dozens of senior government officials made of it, or even the dozens of more senior members of the NAC group thought of this English person, taking one of the greatest honours that will ever be available to the company. I didn't care – this would be a moment I would savour, and one I was incredibly emotional about.
After various speeches from numerous government principles and the Chairmen of the company, I was invited to the stage, in front of the enormous audience and a thousand flashing cameras, handed the keys by the Mayor of Nanjing, and dashed behind the stage to get into the car. The adrenalin was pumping hard and fast, my heart racing as I practised my clutch control. Following the Presidents car which drove in front of me, I found my way through the dry ice and parked the car in front of the waiting press and officials. The photographers didn't need their flashes – the grin on my face was enough to light the entire room. I opened the door and stepped out of the car, shaking Mr Yu’s hand for the waiting media pack, before walking of the stage.
Then as quickly as everyone had appeared, they all disappeared. I was left alone with some of my work colleagues, and the team brought in to dismantle the stage. Everyone had gone off to the lunch that had been prepared for the visitors and senior members of the company. I chose to stay behind and look after the BBC who would conduct live reports from the factory for the rest of the day.
It was during this quite period that I found a spot to reflect on what had happened over the last 12 months, and try to come to terms with the emotions that had played on my mind ever since I joined the company. Several journalist had asked if I ever felt guilty about helping the Chinese to use this very British brand as if it was their own, to help them relocate 20,000 ton's of British heritage to China, and to help them to do all this at the expense of the 1000’s that lost there livelihoods some 2 years earlier. My answer to the media was always the same, I wasn't responsible for what had happened 2 years ago, I was merely a pawn in the decisions made by much more senior people, I too had lost my job, my livelihood, my pension and at times my dreams during that awful period in 2005.
NAC would have gone along with their plans for re-launching the MG Brand, with or without my help. At least by being part of that re-birth, I may have gone someway to ensure that they protected the history, and culture that surrounded the brand. Without the influence of the few original employees at NAC, they would still have launched the new factory, with new versions of the original cars – but maybe it would have been a false celebration, empty of a connection between the old and the new, empty of any true understanding of the brands heritage and the blood sweat and tears that had kept it going over the last 80 years. I would be lying if I hadn’t shed a few tears over the past few days, I was immensely proud of what we had achieved, but I was also incredibly sad at what had happened a couple of year s ago, and how there would be people sitting in the Midlands screaming at the TV, about the Gaul of the Chinese, the hatred for those of us that had helped them, and the dismay at how Britain had allowed yet another piece of British heritage slip into foreign ownership.

Monday, 21 May 2007

It’s been a slow week!

I guess it had to happen sooner or later, after 18 months filled with excitement, frustration, anger, joy, passion, disillusionment and enlightenment, I had to have a quite week – well quiet in Chinese terms!

We had had a very important visit from the Chairman of the Bank of China over the weekend, which meant everyone worked both Saturday and Sunday to ensure a positive image, and a good reception for such an important visit. Support from the Bank of China had been key to our progress, and would secure our future development plans. Thankfully the visit went extremely well and resulted in strategic agreements being agreed with the Bank.

Due to the weekend’s events, Monday would be a rest day for the entire workforce, a fact that I chose to ignore, and I travelled into work as normal. Being alone in the immense factory complex was very strange. The facility was eerily quite, after 14 months of intense activity – today was the first time during daylight hours that I could remember it being quite.
I wondered around the assembly hall checking the status of the latest batch of vehicles, and reviewing the most recent product audit results. Despite all the positive messages I was still keen to hold back production levels. Ever since I had started work in China, I had seen how setting a specific date meant that this became etched in stone – with blood! Once declared, there was no going back, no negotiation, no compromise no amendment, a fixed date meant – a fixed date. I had been careful to avoid setting a date for full commercial production – and offered a quality level instead. Achieve a level that we believed would be acceptable – then production levels could be increased.

Tuesday started with a visit by Zhang Xin, he is MR MG. A larger than life character, as most top manager’s seem to be. Young by international standards, infantile by Chinese he oozed confidence and charisma. He ruled MG with an iron fist, and a broad smile.
He came to tell me of some senior management changes, and that I would be getting a new vice-director. One of the senior managers from Sales and Marketing was being transferred to my department to help with the last push for Quality before full volume production.
This is how it worked in China, no discussion, no debate – just a dictate from the top guy. 12 months ago I would have been frustrated and perhaps angry at the lack of consultation – today I was at least thankful that I had received the information in private from the boss, believe it or not – this was a major step forward!
We had a busy week planed; a delegation from X-Part had arrived to discuss service part supply and quality. We had developed a good working relationship over the previous 12 months and I always looked forward to there visits – not just because it meant an opportunity to engage in some fluid conversation (conversation with my Chinese colleagues always had undertones of pigeon English – mainly due to my poor grasp of mandarin), but is also meant that the kind people at X-Part always brought various gifts to remind me of home. In the past this has included DVD copies of Only Fools and Horses, and The Fast Show, boxes of Paxo Stuffing, Bird’s Trifle, Tetley Tea Bags and bottles of HP Sauce. This time they came with 36 bags of Walkers Salt and Vinegar crisps – maybe not such a big event you think, but if you had seen my daughters face when I presented them to her the following morning – it was if Father Christmas had just delivered the entire contents of Toys-R-Us gift wrapped to the foot of her bed.

Wednesday. In-between the negotiations with X-Part we held a ceremony for destroying old parts. The idea was to show the workforce just how serious we are about the Quality of Parts we use. We gathered up a variety of parts that were substandard, pre-production or damaged and instructed the workforce that they are all inspectors of Quality. During my early years in the industry, army’s of white coats used to patrol the production lines and the storage warehouses, their responsibility was to inspect parts prior to fitment. This led rise to a certain animosity by the production workforce, and also a lack of individual responsibility from the line operators – “it’s their job to check the quality of the part’s, not mine!” this attitude changed with the introduction of supplied part approval, where the supplier became more responsible for the parts they sent, and the line operators took the responsibility for the parts they fitted – we changed from having dozens of men in white coats to thousands of inspectors over night. This concept hadn’t hit China yet, and many factories still employed ‘good-inward’ inspectors, and roaming inspection teams. I was keen to move to a western philosophy, and events like this helped force the message home. It also enabled me a childhood dream of driving a roller – albeit in my dreams it didn’t weigh 5 ton’s, have just two gears and a top speed of 5mph!

Thursday started with an interview with the Shanghai Youth Daily – no I hadn’t heard of them either, but the young lady who interviewed me, did so for 2 hours, it felt like a school exam!
The evening meant that I would take our guests from X-Part out for a traditional evenings entertainment. They had already been exposed to a multitude of Chinese restaurants for lunch and dinner during their stay, so I always like to vary their experience. I took them to my favourite Japanese restaurant (everything you can eat and drink for a tenner!), then onto a Karaoke entertainment club. I said traditional – I didn’t say which tradition though!

Friday meant a visit from the Chinese version of Autocar, they arrived early in a Maserati Quattroporte and an Audi A8L, they were doing a back-to-back road test and thought that the mileage from their office in Shanghai to Nanjing, would be a good way of killing two birds with one stone, we toured the factory and they took some pictures for the following weeks magazine. While I discussed various topics with the journalist, I noticed the photographer taking the word’s “freedom of the press” to new levels, secretly putting his camera onto movie mode and filming every detail of an MGTF we were building for a durability test, not sure what he hoped to gain from it, but I am sure it wouldn’t be long before I found out!
Late in the afternoon I travelled to Xuanwu Lake, where we would be training with a National Coach for Dragon Boat Training. After watching the performance of the other teams at our last race, the team manager invited some of the key people in the professional world of Dragon Boat Racing to come and give us some pointers. After hilarious attempts at standing in the boat, we made a few adjustments to the seating pattern and before we knew it, we were all standing and rowing at the same time, who knows with some more practise – maybe we would be in with a chance at the next race meet?

After all of that, perhaps it wasn’t such a quiet week after all?

Monday, 14 May 2007

Boats and Dragons

Amongst my many roles at NAC MG, one that is not too well known outside of Nanjing, is my participation in the company’s Dragon Boat racing team.
For those that don’t know, Dragon Boat racing is where 20 or so brightly dressed testosterone filled men, paddle like crazy across a lake or river, all hell bent on reaching the same goal. It’s colorful, loud, and filled with tradition and Chinese politics.
We had a successful year last year, not because of our strength or fitness level, but because we had a great team camaraderie, and a will to win. Our team was made up of all shapes and sizes, male and female young and old (well ok I was the old one!), and we had great fun. Little did I know that our success in 2006 would lead to problems this year!

In 2007 we were not only expected to take part in races but this time we were expected to win. Most of us did it just to keep fit and enjoy the occasion, but this was a new year, and it would be a new team! The young girls, and the less energetic of the team had now been replaced by monsters – gigantic Chinese athletes, with arm’s as thick as my thighs and backs as broad as they were long.

We hadn’t trained for a long time, and to say we were ‘rusty’ would have been an understatement, however after a couple of sessions, our muscles remembered what to do, and we were back into the rhythm. We thought that after a couple of months we would be in race condition again, but that’s not how it works in China! Just 2 weeks after picking up the paddle again, we had been entered into a race in the neighboring city of Changzhou. A warm up race you might think? Definitely not, we would be representing Nanjing – a city of over 6.5 million people - Gulp!

The 3 day event cut across the Labour Day holiday in China, on the first a banquet was arranged to open the event, with plenty of Bei Jui, and political speeches amongst the entertainment provided - In fact too much of both left some of us feeling very unfit the following day.

Day 2 and we headed off in the cavalcade of organized transport – 12 newly painted coaches with police outriders to stop the traffic, and allow a quick transfer. Driving through development zone after development zone, with major constructions sites the size of small villages littering the route to the start of the venue.

The venue itself was an enormous resort being building on the edge of Taihu Lake, Jiangsu’s largest, and covering over 2250 square metre’s! The posters showing the complex made it all look like Monaco, with tall white apartment blocks clinging on to the deeply forested mountain sides, and a harbor surrounded by posh hotels and restaurants. Despite only being half built the place itself had great potential, and the death defying drive through mountain passes on the way in, certainly made an impact.


As we peeled out of the coaches, we got a view of the competition, our jaws dropped. It seemed that the entire cast of Conan the Barbarian, and Bruce Lee’s Return of the Dragon had been replicated in some crazy Chinese DNA experiment. The guys in our boat, whom I had described as ‘monsters’ now looked like mere children. They wore sleeveless shirts, not because they allowed for freer movement of the arms when rowing – simply because they couldn’t find shirts with arms big enough in them! They also wore a kneepad on one knee – which bemused not only me, but also the rest of our team. We were keen to ‘put paddle in water’ and work off the hangovers we had accrued the night before, and jumped into our allotted boat. A few practice starts, and a bit of muscle burn to get us warmed up, then we saw it – a thunderous sight, 20 Chinese hulks half kneeling (the reason for the knee pad!), half standing in the boat, rowing so hard, they were making Moses impressions of parting the water around them, speed boats made less wake, and most were slower than these guys. Then another team with the same style, and another, and another – what had we got into? Our style and all the styles we had seen before were with your bum firmly fixed to the plank of wood across the boat, ours was a frantic but elegant style, this seemed primeval.
Primeval it may have been, but it looked incredibly effective, our chances of surviving the first round had diminished, we had reached our limit it didn’t matter how many muscle bound athletes we had in our boat, this style seemed to have made such an impact on the speed that the boat could travel.
The practice session over, and back into the coaches for the long journey back to the hotel, we were all exhausted and mentally scared by what we had seen, our confidence was rock bottom. An early start the next morning meant leaving the hotel at 7am. Several other teams had made the long journey to Changzhou, including a team from Beijing, and a crew from Shanghai – which was thankfully made up of expats from across the globe, including Canadian, American, Japanese, Korean, and even an English rower. I say thankfully because the attention we were getting from the crowd, other contestants and the media, was becoming tiresome – so a few more pale faces in the contest, meant we were left alone for a while!
The ceremony started with the usual political speeches, followed by the painting of the eyes on the dragon’s heads at the front of the boats.


We would first take part in the sprint, which covered 250 meters of frantic rowing, our previous best was 1 minute 13 seconds, We beat this by a clear 10 seconds, however the other teams left us in there wake, every team that chose to stand in the boat came in with a time under 1 minute. I was then told that several of the teams had participated in International races – representing China! The winners (and world no.2) came in with a time of 52 seconds, over 10 seconds faster than us, which over 250 meters is incredible. Mentally shattered we went back to our fisherman’s huts to rest and watch the remainder of the morning’s events.

Next was the longer distance race of 500 meters, from the start it was obvious that we weren’t going to compete at the same level as the rest of the teams, so our goal was to improve our personal bests, and treat the day as a training event for the next races.
We were far more competitive at this longer distance, and performed respectfully, knocking a massive 20 seconds off our previous best in a race.
The ultimate winners of the competition destroyed the opposition. They had already won the mornings sprint, and breezed through the heats, putting in times of 1:53.67, 1:53.35 and 1:53.64 on their way to the final, then full of self confidence let go and won by a full boat length with a time of 1:50.23, I was amazed at their performance, no wonder they were the worlds No.2.
The event itself finished as it had started with a Banquet, this time in honor of the champions. The usual Bei ju and beer flowed freely, as did the singers, dancers and strangely a saxophonist! Then the long journey back to Nanjing, and the end of a rude awakening to the professional side of Dragon Boat Races, rowing a pleasure boat in Stratford-Upon-Avon, would never have the same appeal!


Friday, 11 May 2007

The results are in!

Well my couple of week's restlessness, and wondering if I would have to find new employment once again, are over.
Last week I was virtually cut-off from civilisation (well I couldn't get an Internet connection for 7 days) and I didn't know how the media's visit to the factory in Pukou had been reported.
The first chance I got to check my email was on Sunday 12th May, via my sons PSP in a coffee bar, which happened to have wireless installed. On the little 4-inch display, I frantically searched the Internet for news. It was ‘The Sun's’ review by Ken Gibson that I found first, and then autocar followed by autoexpress and finally the Telegraphs. My son was keen to get back to his game, and my wife was giving me evil's! So I had little time to digest what had been wrote!
When I did have time, I was more than happy with the results. I had already written a ‘get out of jail’ blog, if it had all gone wrong – about how predictable the reports were. My expectations of Union Jack waving pieces about, poor Chinese standards, and “how dare they think they can build cars as good as the British” etc. etc. were completely unfounded, and I found the reports not only fair, but complementary about what we had achieved.

Their reports may be less biased than mine! But here is a collection of quotes from the articles:

Ken Gibson – The Sun – (http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2003090001-2007200629,00.html)

“The revival of MG in Nanjing is one of the most extraordinary stories in motoring history, underlining a power change in the car industry in favor of the Far East.
The sheer scale of what the Chinese have achieved is breathtaking and illustrates their fierce determination to return MG to its glory days”

“Anyone who questions the ability of Nanjing — should have been with me when I visited the factory.”

“the quality looks good.”

“I'd checked the outside, and the fit and finish was spot-on.”

“an 80-mile round trip from Nanjing railway station to the MG factory and back proved one thing – the Chinese can build a quality MG.”

“From the passenger seat in heavy traffic, the MG 7 felt quiet, refined and just like an MG ZT. In fact it felt like a very British experience. On a dual carriageway, the 1.8 litre K series engine – now known as the N Series – cruised serenely.”

“with precise steering and composed handling, while the manual gearbox was slick.”

“The leather seats were comfortable and supportive and the cabin felt as well screwed together as any British MG I’d driven.”

“my test drive was enough to convince me that MG is back.”

Andrew English – Auto Express –
(http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/firstdrives/208467/mg_7.html)

“On the move, the MG 7 feels comfortable and refined.”

“Another highlight is the MG 7's comfortable ride.”

“we were pleased to see that the car's panel gaps are even, and the paint is both evenly applied and lustrous”

“The future for MG now looks much brighter in China.”

“The steering and brakes inspire confidence,”

“MG is most definitely a force to be reckoned with again.”

“MG is back!”

Steve Cropley – Auto Car – (http://www.myautocar.com/community/article/article.do?method=article&sarticleId=kwNz)

“The ride is flat and well damped even with five passengers and luggage. The engine feels strong, the gearbox gate is well defined and the whole car retains that sub-Bentley feeling of durable luxury that made the 75 a good car.”

“well-built, nicely painted, coloured and trimmed with restrain, and, yes, desirable.’

“The first is refinement. It’s several years since I’ve driven a four-cylinder MG ZT, but this car seems notably quieter. the car’s inherent mechanical refinement, always one of its best characteristics, still compares well with class leaders.”

They all add up to probably the best bit of PR for MG in a very long time. It is so encouraging to finally read some good news about the brand and NAC MG.

As both Andrew and Ken Said – MG is definitely back!


(We are still waiting for Jason's article, but after the above I can again - sleep well!)

Monday, 7 May 2007

The Big Boys are in Town!

(This Blog was written a couple of weeks ago, but due to being stuck in deapest darkest China, without an internet connection, I have only just had time to release it - look out for many new updates this week)

If I thought the press conference was stressful, the next day was going to be worse. It had been arranged for some of the most powerful automotive media to visit our new factory in Nanjing. (In no particular order) we had Ken Gibson (The Sun), Jason Barlow (Top Gear Magazine), Andrew English (The Telegraph) and the daddy of them all Steve Cropley (Autocar). I have to say I wasn’t keen to host the day, I had my fill of the media on the days up to and including the 27th March, however our PR agency thought that this was essential for building up a relationship with the UK’s most important media – especially with the UK launch only around the corner.
I met the journalists and there photographer at the Grand Hyatt in Pudong, Shanghai. The hotel sits at the top of the Jin Mao tower – the worlds 4th tallest building, and the world’s highest hotel. They had been there as guests of BMW, and had attended the Shanghai Auto Show the day before. BMW had kindly allowed us to piggyback onto their schedule, which enabled us to entertain them for 1 day. Unfortunately my expense account didn’t quite match BMW’s, and I would have to rely on personality and content rather than gloss! We jumped on to the early morning express that now joins Shanghai and Nanjing (300km’s in 2 hours), and on arrival at Nanjing Station we were met by a brand new MG7, and an imported Rover 75, I quickly grabbed the keys to the MG7, and led the 2 car convey across to the factory in Pukou.







I had been given strict instructions not to let them drive the vehicles, even close up photography was forbidden – how the hell was I going to convince the cream of the British motoring press, that after traveling half way around the world that they would not be able to drive or photograph the cars they had come to see? I decided that I would take the responsibility for any bad press we received. I knew my job was on the line if the reports were bad, but I also knew that these guys’s were professional, and that they would forgive maybe less than perfect cars – seeing as these were pre-production prototypes, being used for test and development rather than public consumption. A big gamble!
The factory, and our progress stunned them. My personal objective was to convince them that NAC was ‘playing’ at this. That this was a serious attempt at resurrecting a famous British brand, and our plans extended beyond the legacy of vehicles MG-Rover had left behind. The shear size of the factory, the amount of investment, and the evidence of our expansion plans being implemented – even before we have sold a single car, all went some way to convince them that we were definitely serious about MG’s future!
It was a Saturday and the plant was quiet, we were going through our pre-production preparation, and building cars in small batch’s, only increasing production levels in line with improvements in Quality levels. I desperately wanted to silence all of those doubters who have suggested they we haven’t built any of our own vehicles yet – and that we have just been ‘dressing’ up some old imports from the UK. I feared that the quiet factory would throw fuel onto the fire. Luckily both the engine and body assembly factory were running overtime. The media, witnessed both new engines being machined and assembled, as well as various MG7 body parts being welded by the automated welding line. It wasn’t full production, but at least it independently showed everyone that we were in fact making Chinese MG7’s and MGTF’s.
I spent 13 hours with some of the hardest automotive journalists in the world, they quizzed me on every aspect of the business, and maybe naively I answered as much as I could. As a company we have nothing to hide, but we had been criticized for poor communication in the past. Which has been more to do with a difference in cultures and language, rather than any underlying secrecy. I hoped that by opening our doors (and my mouth) we could go someway to ensuring both NAC MG and NAC UK get a fair crack at the whip. Completely exhausted both mentally and physically, I made my way back to Shanghai accompanying our guests back to their palace in the sky!
They seemed genuinely impressed with the visit, however I found myself having several sleepless nights, not knowing exactly how they felt – would they be positive? Would they be negative? Was my extraordinary life in Nanjing about to come to a crashing end?
It wasn’t long before the silence broke, and the first of the journalists wrote about their journey. Mr Cropley was the first to put pen to paper (or at least push the buttons on a computer!).

“Like an MG Rover, only better-madeThe tussle over the MG Rover clones is something that could only happen in China. Nanjing Automotive, winner of the bidding war to acquire the worn-out Longbridge company and its site, showed three MGs — the MG7 (a Rover 75) in long and short-wheelbase forms, the MG5 (a Rover 45 clone) and the MGTF sports roadster. All looked as capable and well built as anything to come from a British factory. Quality director Paul Stowe — a cheery, seen-it-all veteran employed in the Longbridge cause by MG Rover, BMW, the Rover administrators, SAIC (the failed, preferred bidder) and now Nanjing Automotive — confirmed that the quality was indeed high. The Chinese knew bad quality threatened their investment, he said, and that couldn’t be allowed to happen. These were not lashed-up cars in any sense. They were recreated Rovers and MGs in the same spec and restrained colours. What raised a smirk on both stands was the keen but na├»ve attempts of the Chinese to commemorate the British culture which created these cars, and which they obviously seem to love. For a moment, these things had a charade look about them — until your eye fell back on the cars themselves: well-built, nicely painted, coloured and trimmed with restrain, and, yes, desirable.”
(Quote: http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/225315/)
This led to my first good nights sleep in a long while, not so sure on being described as a veteran, a sign that China is taking its toll maybe? But I couldn’t be happier about his article. Back to the sleepless nights again now – waiting to see what Jason, Ken and Andrew write!!!