MG Rover Group parent Phoenix Venture Holdings and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) have announced they have entered into an exclusivity arrangement.

This co-operation will fund the development of new model programmes and will allow the MG and Rover brands to compete in the global car market, particularly the crucial and expanding Chinese market.

The signing of the agreement took place yesterday (16th June), at SAIC headquarters in Shanghai, with senior execs from both organisations in attendance – including Nick Stephenson (Vice-Chairman PVH), Mr Chen Xianglin (Chairman SAIC) and Mr Hu Maoyuan (President SAIC).

Kevin Howe, Group Chief Executive of PVH said: “Recently we have had discussions with several companies in China. We are delighted at the prospect of entering into a relationship with such a successful and respected partner, which will see a significant expansion in volumes of current and future products.”

Both companies are looking forward to announcing further details after obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals.

SAIC is the largest passenger car manufacturer in China, producing 600,000 passenger cars in 2003 with major joint venture partners General Motors and Volkswagen. SAIC supplies up to 30% of the total car market in China. In 2003, SAIC’s annual turnover was $11.7 billion from an asset base of $9.1 billion.