MG's UK return to kick-start whole new car range
05 September 2008
Author: Guy Bird
British-built MGs will return to the UK marketplace early this month.
The MG TF LE500 - a heavily tweaked special edition of the well-loved original sports car including a bundle of extras like leather seats, 16-inch alloys, iPod compatibility plus EU4 engine emissions compliancy - will kickstart the brand's rebirth and will be assembled at the brand's original Longbridge plant in Birmingham.
Senior management say 80% of the 500-run £16,399 limited edition is already sold out.
This model will be followed by sales of more basic MG TFs expected to reach up to 4000 across Europe in 2009 - and with starting prices below the rival Mazda MX-5 - before expanding up to a full range of cars within five years. These will include an upper medium family car based on the China-only Roewe 550 by 2010, a compact Ford Focus rival, new supermini and an all-new sportscar.
MG has signed up 45 dealers across the UK to date and has a target of 100 to 120 by 2010. In terms of business sales, the picture is less certain, though as Gary Hagen, NAC MG UK sales and marketing director, told BusinessCar: "At least initially - as our volumes are relatively low - we're not planning special business-oriented programmes. However, if someone comes to us with a proposal along those lines we'd certainly entertain it.
"Right now we're just planning to sell as many cars as we can as quickly as we can through our dealer organisation."
MG is fully owned by the Chinese firm Nanjing Auto Corporation whose parent company is SAIC Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.
TFs be built in China as well as in Birmingham, but for now the UK market will only get UK-built cars.