Thursday, 13 June 2013
SAIC doubles size of UK design centre
The European Design centre (EDC) of SAIC Motor at the MG Birmingham site was officially opened today. It has more than doubled in size just three years after the original design studio opened.
The latest investment from SAIC Motor, MG's parent company, follows one of over £500 million invested in the development of new models for Europe.
Staff in the newly expanded EDC are already working on a range of future MG models, including the new MG3. The latest investment allows the studio, now the fifth largest in Britain, to carry out even more advanced design work. The original studio was part of a £5 million investment programme.
An advanced five-axis milling machine, which allows models in clay or hard materials to be produced within 36 hours, is a major part of the latest upgrade and spending on sophisticated equipment. It also includes a visualisation suite where life-size images of models can be projected onto a giant screen that has 2D and 3D capability.
A second design plate, an extremely accurate steel plate set to fine tolerances, has been installed. This allows highly-skilled clay modellers to work on future generations of MG cars.
More than 160 designers at two studios – in Shanghai and Birmingham – come under the leadership of Anthony Williams-Kenny, SAIC's head of global design; he flew in from China for the opening. Canadian-born Martin Uhlarik heads the European Design Centre in Birmingham.
The designers work closely with the 300 professional engineers at the adjoining SAIC UK Technical Centre. More than 400 people are employed at the MG Birmingham site where the new MG3 will roll off the assembly line later this year.
This model will become the second modern MG to come out of the Birmingham factory following the MG6 GT fastback and the Magnette sport saloon range of petrol and diesel models. ∎