It is now six years since 6500 people lost their jobs at the Rover MG plant in Longbridge, dealing a devastating blow to the heart of our community.
To celebrate the cars and the people of the factory, the annual Pride of Longbridge Rally, organised by The Rover Community Action Trust and The Association of Austin will be held this Saturday in Cofton Park. The event is a chance to celebrate the achievements made at the factory over the years, by ex-workers and their ancestors. With over a thousand vehicles produced at Longbridge (and many others with a Longbridge connection) on display, the rally is free to attend and open to all – ex-workers, relatives, the local community, and fans alike.
Today MG, now owned by Chinese company SAIC and operating with a workforce of around 400, will see the first brand new model roll off the production line at Longbridge for 16 years.
The MG6 is part-produced in China and finished at Longbridge (engine, electrics etc) and the first one off the line will be driven, amid dry ice, by Lisa Ponter, the plant’s only female worker.
This is a further boost to the recession hit UK car industry which had been rallying on the back of the Labour government’s car-scrappage scheme.
New car sales of late have failed to match the scrappage-boosted period of 2009/10 but the motor industry believes purchases will pick up in the last half of 2011.
Labour MP Richard Burden, whose Birmingham Northfield constituency includes Longbridge, said: “Longbridge has been through dark days. Nothing will bring back the days when thousands were employed on Longbridge production lines. But the greatest tribute we can pay to the heritage that made the name Longbridge synonymous with motor manufacturing throughout the 20th century is to build a future in the 21st century.”
5th Pride Of Longbridge 2011 is at Cofton Park, Longbridge, Birmingham B31 2BQ
Saturday 16th April 2011 9.30 AM – 4.00 PM
Entry is free for spectators & anyone with a car they want to display. (Please park in Lowhill Lane if you are not showing your car)