Category Archives: New and Future MGs

MG to Launch cheaper TF Roadster

MG has announced details of two new versions of the relaunched TF roadster, including a standard model and a special edition 85th anniversary model.

The standard specification TF135 is expected to be priced around £13,500, less than the £16,055 LE500 launched last year and making it a more affordable option for MG enthusiasts. It will be equipped with the same revised 135bhp K-Series engine found in the LE500.

At the same time, the 85th Anniversary model is due for launch later this summer, priced around £15,750. It will be available in a choice of three exclusive colours featuring special graphics and a bespoke interior trim.

The cars were unveiled to MG enthusiasts at the Royal Windsor MG Heritage Festival last month.

Reports have suggested a new MG saloon and hatchback – the MG6, shown in Shanghai last month – could join the TF as early as next summer, as the company seeks to expand its model range.

85th Anniversary MGTF

The MG6 Concept

Most of us here in the U.S. haven’t seen a new production MG stateside since the 1980 MGB LE. However, we have watched from a distance as Morris Garage has changed hands from British owned to the BMW years that produced the MGF and MGTF to present day where this long time British favorite is now owned by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) based in China. Back in April, SAIC revealed the MG division’s newest MG concept—the MG6.

MG6 Concept
MG6 Concept

The MG6 concept is based on the Roewe 550 four-door sedan, which is said to use a modified version of the Rover 75’s front wheel drive platform from some years back. Of course this means the MG6 is set to come equipped with the K-series like 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. The twist—the MG6 will be available with a 160 hp turbocharged 1.8-liter for those looking for a little more punch than 130 hp that will come with the base motor. All of this is wrapped in a Ford Mondeo-esque like body and is slated to arrive as a production car in the Chinese market for 2010.

Will the MG ever make it back to the U.S. though? Currently, there aren’t any confirmed plans for that, however, the Chinese have been looking for ways to break into the U.S. market. I look at this as a repeat of Nissan and Toyota coming to North America. Older generations will remember Toyota’s first venture into the American market in 1957 with the Toyopet Crown. It was a disaster, especially from a public relations perspective and it caused Toyota to pull out of the North American market in 1960. Of course we all know how that story has continued; some 50 years later Toyota is now the number one car manufacturer in the World.

So for all you MG fans, don’t count the marque or SAIC out of the equation. It might take another couple years, but I doubt that would change people’s love affair with the classic British Sports car. It did spawn the Mazda MX-5 Miata revolution.

MG to Launch Cheaper TF Roadster

85th Anniversary MG TF
85th Anniversary MG TF

MG has announced details of two new versions of the relaunched TF roadster, including a standard model and a special edition 85th anniversary model.
The standard specification TF135 is expected to be priced around £13,500, less than the £16,055 LE500 launched last year and making it a more affordable option for MG enthusiasts. It will be equipped with the same revised 135bhp K-Series engine found in the LE500.
At the same time, the 85th Anniversary model is due for launch later this summer, priced around £15,750. It will be available in a choice of three exclusive colours featuring special graphics and a bespoke interior trim.
The cars were unveiled to MG enthusiasts at the Royal Windsor MG Heritage Festival last month.
Reports have suggested a new MG saloon and hatchback – the MG6, shown in Shanghai last month – could join the TF as early as next summer, as the company seeks to expand its model range.

New MG Models for China and Europe

SAIC MG
SAIC MG

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC) is developing new MG models for China and Europe on the platform of its Roewe 550 compact car, say sources at the company.

SAIC will launch a new MG car in China at the end of this year, says a source with SAIC in China who is familiar with the situation.

The five-door hatchback MG6 will have a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and offer manual as well as automatic transmission versions.

It will share its platform with SAIC’s Roewe 550 compact sedan, says the source.

The car will be first sold in China, but will be made available in Europe in the future, he adds.

According to Eleanor de la Haye, spokesperson for MG Motor Co. in Britain, in addition to the new five-door MG car, SAIC is developing another model for Europe.

Says de la Haye: “We are currently developing a four-door model and a five door model based on the Roewe 550 platform that will be sold in U.K. and Ireland.”

She declines to provide more details on the two models. But she adds these cars may be sold in other European markets as well.

MG Motor is now a subsidiary of SAIC.

Currently only three MG cars — the MG7 four-door sedan, the MGTF roadster and the MG3SW hatchback, are built and sold in China.

In Britain, MG Motor Co. only sells the MG TF. In China, SAIC only sold 129 MG TF cars in 2008.

It also sold 4,715 units of the MG3 SW small car and 4,357 units of the MG7 sedan last year, according to JATO Dynamics.

MG Remains a No Show in North America

from the San Diego Tribune

MG’s plan to return to North America with a revamped version of the TF roadster is dead – or at least on hold.

“The USA isn’t on the short-term radar as an anticipated market for us, but with the right product, it would be good to return there,” Gary Hagen, marketing director of NAC MG, told the British Web site Austin Rover Online (austin-rover.co.uk). Hagen also confirmed that plans to build MGs in Oklahoma from kits shipped from China have been killed.

Not long after China’s Nanjing Automobile Group Corp. bought most of the remains of MG Rover in September 2005, Nanjing told of plans to set up an R&D center and factory in Ardmore, Okla. Then Nanjing was taken over by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.

“The deal fell through,” Hagen said of the Oklahoma plan. In August, production of MG TFs started in MG Rover’s old plant in Longbridge, England. The cars will be sold in Great Britain.

MGs were last sold in the United States in 1980. Numerous plans have been hatched over the years to return MG to the United States, but none has worked.

MG TF

MG TF LE500: The Return of MG

MG is back in business with the TF LE500, a revised version of what used to be Britain’s most popular sports car. But can it and the now Chinese-owned brand succeed in the modern world? Peter Hall reports

Do you recall the story of Rip Van Winkle? Lovable but lazy bloke falls into dubious company, gets drunk and sleeps for several years. Returns to find the world much changed, his friends long gone. Resumes a life of idleness and eventually dies of old age.

We can only hope that the fate of Britain’s most popular sports car is more inspirational. Thirteen years have passed since the car you see here made its debut as the MGF, the first genuinely new model from the venerable MG marque since the demise of the MGB GT in 1980, although it was another seven years before the MGF was transformed into a sports car worthy of the brand’s sporting heritage. Sadly the revised TF lived only three years before the collapse of MG Rover, the rump of a once-great industry abused by British governments, trade unions and management, picked up and discarded by BMW and preyed upon by vulture capitalists before the bones were thrown to the Nanjing Automobile Company (NAC) and the Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation (SAIC).

Now, after a hiatus of three years, the MGTF is back in production. But the world has changed a great deal in that time. What hope can there be for what is basically a 13-year old car (albeit revised) from an 84-year old marque that once epitomised a British tradition and is now owned by the Chinese?

As a nation we might now be more cynical than complacent, but let’s not rush to judgement before we’ve covered a few miles on what the revitalised MG concern describes hopefully as “a new journey”.

First, the corporate status of the marque needs some explanation. MG and MG Rover’s Longbridge factory were originally acquired by NAC, which among its other activities can claim to be China’s oldest car maker. In a recent deal brokered by the Chinese government (signed off on April 8), NAC’s automotive sector (including Longbridge) was acquired by SAIC, China’s biggest vehicle manufacturer and the owner of Rover (or Roewe as it is called there); in addition SAIC owns a 51 per cent stake in SsangYong and is involved in joint ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen. It has worked with Shoreham-based Ricardo to develop new cars, and established the Shanghai Motor Technical Centre (SMTC UK) at Leamington Spa (plus a design studio at Coventry) to provide engineering and design skills for both MG and Roewe; the “new” MGTF was re-engineered here and chief designer Tony Williams (who previously worked under Peter Stevens) and his colleagues are now working on a range of forthcoming MG and Roewe models, pending their move later this year to a new facility at Longbridge, which will also be the headquarters for R&D, marketing, sales, distribution and training. A UK network of enthusiastic independent dealerships is being established, with almost 50 already signed up and more to come.

No fewer than four new SMTC UK-designed MGs are expected within the next five years. An upper-medium- (Mondeo) sized car based on the existing Roewe 550 platform will roll off the old Rover 75 line at Longbridge in 2010, followed by a mid- (Focus) sized model, a supermini and an all-new replacement for the TF.

MG is SAIC’s flagship brand for Europe and all the above will be assembled in the West Midlands in order to satisfy European quality expectations, although they will also be manufactured in China (where the bodyshells are made) and go on sale first in that fast-expanding, right-hand-drive market; for the next five years at least there are no plans to import finished cars from China to the West. After the UK and Eire, MG has its sights set on Germany, France, Italy and Spain; it has US ambitions only for the first of the brand-new models.

Will all this come to pass? Notwithstanding NAC’s £50 million investment at Longbridge, the development of a mass-market car usually costs something like £5 billion, against which SAIC’s UK investment of tens of millions on a project-by-project basis seems minuscule. SAIC’s investment in China is much greater, of course, and the British operation can probably survive and prosper for as long as its design and engineering skills are still seen as crucial by the Anglophiliac Chinese. Even when amalgamated at Longbridge, the MG workforce will number a few hundreds rather than thousands – small comfort to the 6,000 MG Rover workers who lost their jobs three years ago and remain understandably bitter about their fate, but surely better than nothing.

Much depends on satisfying the customer. MG retains an enviable heritage and reputation among its devotees worldwide, but it’s important that the new cars live up to expectations. With the revitalised TF, the omens are generally good. The first 500 are being sold in LE500 limited-edition form, equipped as standard with what were previously optional extras – leather upholstery, piano-black trim, sports seats, detachable hardtop, MP3 audio, air-conditioning, parking sensors and so on, plus a numbered plaque and certificate – but all TFs feature a number of significant revisions.

Revival of TF roadster shows the Spirit of MG is still alive and well!

MG TF
MG TF

It’s the roadster revival of the decade! Auto Express can exclusively take the wraps off the car that’s sure to get British fans hot under the collar: the new MG TF.

Emerging from the ashes of the famous company, the roadster is the first sign that the spirit of MG is alive and well, even though the brand is in the hands of Chinese owners.

This stunning model is set to replace the existing TF – production of which is back on track at MG Rover’s old home of Longbridge in the West Midlands – and will go on sale around 2010. And there’s not only a convertible planned, but a coupe, too!

The new TF is based around the Roewe 550 compact hatch, which made its debut at the Beijing Motor Show. It will feature a rear-wheel-drive version of that model’s platform – and this should ensure it has plenty of appeal for enthusiasts.

Although it will be slightly bigger than the Mazda MX-5, the MG will be targeting the Japanese convertible, as it’s likely to carry a similar price tag. However, also in its sights are the likes of the Alfa Romeo Spider, Audi TT Roadster and Volkswagen Eos.

If it looks a little familiar, that’s because the new TF takes some of its styling inspiration from the MG SV supercar and X80 concept. Those models were both based on the Mangusta – a sports car from Italian maker Qvale, which MG Rover bought in 2001.

As you can see from our pictures, produced using insider information, the new TF updates that shape with a striking front end incorporating a deep-set four-piece radiator grille and quad headlamps. At the rear, the curvy tail completes the look.

Under the skin, the TF features a chassis based on a design that was created by MG Rover – one which would have underpinned a replacement for the 45/ZS, had the company not gone into receivership.

When Shanghai Automobile Corporation (SAIC) bought the rights to the 25 and 75, it also acquired projects such as the unfinished 45. It has since produced the Roewe 550 and the 75-based Roewe 750.

There has always been the desire within SAIC to build a replacement for the TF, but with rival Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC) owning the rights to the MG badge, there was never any chance of it wearing the famous octagon emblem – until the two Chinese giants joined forces.

Featuring a rear-wheel-drive platform developed in conjunction with British engineering expert Ricardo, plus MG Rover-based engines – including a 1.8-litre turbo and 2.5-litre V6 – the TF will deliver a great driving experience. And as SAIC-NAC are looking to form a UK Roewe dealer network in 2010, the stage is set for the TF’s comeback.

Since its launch in 1995, the MG TF – or MGF as it was then – has won a loyal following thanks to its neat looks, mid-engined layout and driver-pleasing handling. When MG was bought by NAC in 2005, the TF was one of the first cars the Chinese firm wanted to get back into production at Longbridge – and as soon as possible.

It revealed a mildly revised version in 2007 called the TF LE 500, which had a new bodykit. Since then, production has been delayed, first when bosses were concerned about quality and then when a key supplier pulled out.

However, it now seems that new (current) TFs will start rolling out of the plant within six months. Buyers looking forward to the roadster will have to wait for another couple of years, but it appears MG has a brighter future.

from Auto Express

NAC MG announces launch date for new MG TF LE500!

NAC MF TF MG has announced that production of the TF LE500 sportscar will commence at their Longbridge plant in Birmingham at the beginning of August, with the first cars delivered to showrooms in September.

Chairman for NAC MG UK Ltd, Mr He, Xiao Qing, said; “I am delighted to be in a position to talk about a launch date for the TF LE500 following a process of planning, re-organisation, active quality improvements and parts optimisation that we recognise resulted in frustration for our stakeholders. We are now fully focussed on bringing our hard work to fruition.”

The new car is expected to appeal to a wide range of car buyers looking for the authentic sportscar driving experience, as well as existing small sportscar owners looking to upgrade, current owners and the large band of MG enthusiasts.

Gary Hagen, Director of Sales & Marketing continued, “The open top sportscar is an iconic image of British motoring and forms the basis of the MG marque’s long pedigree. The launch of the TF LE500 signals our determination to keep this class of car at the heart of the brand as we take it forward.”

With the launch of the new TF LE500, the company knows that it is also re-launching one of the best known and best loved brands in the world. Whilst production efforts at Longbridge are focussed on the LE500, designers at their SMTC facility in Leamington, Warwickshire are already planning exciting newMG models that will capture the essential qualities of the MG brand and extend the range into additional sectors.

The commitment planned by MG and the level of investment underwritten by SAIC will persuade doubters that the MG brand is being re-launched with the support to make it successful again. The fact is that in 2008, desirable and competitive British made sportscars will once again be rolling off a production line in Longbridge. A sight that many thought they might never see again.

– MG

SAIC and Nanjing Merge to form Mega Chinese Auto Group

Industry analysts widely agree that one of the principal factors preventing Chinese automakers from succeeding outside of China is the local industry’s fragmentation, with over 100 automakers vying for their slice of the proverbial pie. However, a merger announced Wednesday between two major Chinese automakers, Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp (SAIC) and Nanjing Automotive Group, stands a stronger chance of succeeding in the international car market as a larger group.The merger, which has been long anticipated, involves SAIC paying $285.7 million for Nanjing. In return, Nanjing’s parent company acquires 4.9 percent of SAIC Motor Corp.

The products of SAIC’s joint ventures with GM and Volkswagen Group account for 14% of the domestic market in China, selling 1.25 million vehicles in the first ten months of 2007. Nanjing, meanwhile, sold less than 80,000 over the same period, making the acquisition a merger in the same sense as Mercedes had “merged” with Chrysler. Nanjing, however, owns MG Rover, whose plants in England SAIC hopes to use as a foothold into the European market.

MG TF Re-Launch Delayed

Nanjing MGTF According to reports by the Birmingham Post, the much-vaunted re-launch of the MG TF Roadster will be put back until sometime in 2008. It has stated that as well as there being little likelihood of the MG 7-Series saloon reaching the UK until next year, but also, ‘Nanjing Automobile missed its end of the 2007 year target for the launch of its MG TF sports cars.’

NAC-MG was aiming for an April relaunch, to coincide with the parent company’s 60th anniversary, but following the Longbridge re-opening ceremony in May where company executives were talking about an ‘Autumn launch’, it now appears that TF will now go to the showrooms in the UK in 2008.

Final details are being worked out on pricing for the car, although reports in China suggest it could be around £20,000. Around 31 dealers have signed up so far to sell the car with more expected to follow. Meanwhile a marketing campaign is expected to start in early 2008 to alert MG enthusiasts and other potential purchasers to the relaunch of the car.

Eleanor de la Haye, spokeswoman for NAC MG, said: “The car will be released to dealers in February and deliveries will start in March..” According to the Birmingham Post, 20 cars are currently on test for altitude testing in Spain, hot weather testing in Australia, and cold weather testing in Finland.