An Oklahoma entrepreneur will try this month to complete plans to bring MG back to the United States despite the departure of his company's top executive.
Duke Hale has quit as CEO of Oklahoma Global Motors, the U.S. joint venture partner with China's Nanjing Automobile Group.
Last July, Marc Nuttle, the chief investor in Oklahoma Global Motors, announced a plan to combine MG TF coupe bodies from England with powertrains from Nanjing in Ardmore, Okla.
Nuttle says he expects to sign license agreements with Nanjing by March 31. He says bids Oklahoma Global is soliciting bids to build the kit plant in Oklahoma.
But the plan has been clouded by the departure of Hale and two top managers. They left the venture because they think its plans for the United States have been whittled down too much.
A source says: "The number of cars could be two or three rather than five because the designs are not contemporary or it may be too difficult to meet federal (emissions or safety) requirements. The cost may exceed what the benefit may be."
Hale and his team had envisioned making MG a full-range brand in the United States, selling about 100,000 cars per year by 2010 with about 350 dealerships.
But last week Nuttle said the original plan - to produce 20,000 cars in Ardmore and 20,000 more in Longbridge, England, combined over the next two to three years - is still on track.
The coupe is scheduled to go on sale in Europe in June and in the United States in summer 2008, says Nuttle.
He says he expects the United States to have "three or four models and a hybrid car and 50 dealers at launch."
Nuttle says he won't replace Hale. John English, president of Oklahoma Global Motors, is running MG in the United States. English is former president of Lotus Cars USA Inc.
Hale was previously COO of Isuzu Motors America Inc., vice president of sales for Mazda North American Operations, and head of sales and marketing for Volvo Cars North America.
You may e-mail Diana T. Kurylko at [email protected]