former MG Rover / British Leyland car factory West Works site in Longbridge from the air
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aerial photograph of the former MG Rover / British Leyland car factory site in Longbridge Birmingham, England UK, now redeveloped as Longbridge town centre. The Longbridge plant was opened by Herbert Austin in 1905 for the production of Austin Motor Company cars. In 1952 Austin merged with Morris Motors to form BMC which in turn merged in 1968 for form British Leyland. The plant grew and by the 1960s some 25000 workers were employed at the site. During the 1970's things went bad and despite some excellent vehicle designs, production was severely effected by strikes and poor build quality. Things looked up in 1980 when the new Mini Metro was launched which turned out to be one of BL's most popular cars. The "New West Works", a new section of the factory was built to produce it which was sited in the foreground of this photo. During the 1990s the company worked with Honda to produce various popular joint models until in 1994 the plant was sold to BMW. Unfortunately under BMW there were heavy losses and they sold it to the Phoenix Consortium who went into administration in 2005 resulting in most of the plant closing, although some small parts have been sold on and retained by Nanjing Automotive Corporation, later Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).
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