An MG6 rolls off a production line in China.

The first new MG sports car in 16 years will roll off the production line at Birmingham's Longbridge factory on Wednesday, six years to the week since the iconic plant closed with the loss of 6500 jobs.

The all-new MG6 is Longbridge-owner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation's (SAIC's) move on the mid-market dominated by the likes of the Ford Focus and the VW Golf.

It will be driven off the line, in a cloud of dry ice, by Lisa Ponter, MG Motor UK's only female factory worker.

The design and development of the MG6 was all done in Birmingham. But the cars will arrive partially-built from China before the electrics, engine and testing are completed in Britain.

Longbridge is the poster child of the travails of the British motor industry. After decades of upheaval and industrial unrest, Rover Group was sold to BMW in 1994. It was spun back out as MG Rover six years later, only to collapse into administration another five years after that, dealing a severe blow to the local economy and ripping the heart out of British car production.

The Chinese bought MG Rover's assets in July 2005 and in August 2008 started small-scale assembly of limited edition MG TFs from Chinese-made kits at Longbridge. -The Independent