MG roadster poised to return

Discussion in 'European Cars' started by ajzahn, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. By John Reed
    Published: February 4 2008 23:04

    China’s Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) hopes to begin producing the MG TF roadster in Nanjing in May and at its plant in Longbridge, UK, within three months of that date, a senior executive said yesterday.

    But SAIC admitted the car’s long-awaited relaunch could be delayed again as it grapples with quality issues and rebuilds tooling bought in 2005 from bankrupt MG Rover and shipped to China by Nanjing Automobile (NAC), with which SAIC merged in December.

    “We want to begin production of cars at Longbridge as soon as possible, but the first priority for us is the quality of the product,” Chen Hong, SAIC’s president, told the Financial Times yesterday.

    “If we launch the product on the UK market and don’t have sufficient quality to meet customers’ expectations, we damage the brand.”

    The relaunch of MG’s two-seater, which has a passionate UK and US following, will mark the highest-profile European debut yet for a Chinese-made car. SAIC has selected 50 dealers to sell the car, and distributed a teaser brochure of the roadster with the slogan “A New Journey”.

    MG is also studying at least three new models, including a replacement for the TF, which it hopes to produce from 2010, Mr Chen said. However, the carmaker is still building a supply base in China and Europe that would allow it to meet European quality standards. About 70 per cent of the cars’ content, including their engines, will be made in China, and 30 per cent in Europe.

    “From the point of view of SAIC, more time is needed for quality,” Mr Chen said.

    Other Chinese carmakers, including Chery Automobile, have recently postponed export plans over quality concerns. Some early Chinese cars exported to Germany have performed poorly in crash tests and been derided in the motoring press.

    “They realise the eyes of the world are upon them,” a person close to SAIC’s management said yesterday.

    SAIC is one of China’s biggest and most ambitious carmakers, with joint ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen. It acquired some of MG Rover’s model rights and makes a version of the Rover 750 saloon in China, rebranded “Roewe”.

    NAC had planned to relaunch the MG TF last year, before being sidelined by the merger.

    The May launch schedule for the MG TF was “very tight,” Mr Chen acknowledged. The UK production launch would come “one, two or three months later”. (FT)
  2. I don't really understand why they are bothering. It was old and tired when it went out of production. who is going to buy it now.
  3. Rolls Royce
  4. Its not really a comparison with RR as when BMW brought them back they released a completly new car.

    The MG TF Chassis dates back to the Metro. We are talking 30 year old.
  5. MG roadsters are still *everywhere* around England and for the life of me I have no idea why.
  6. wait, they're re-realeasing the old model again?
  7. The only thing new about the car they are releasing is that most of the components will be made in China and then shipped to Longbridge near Birmingham to be nailed together.
  8. This will be a commercial flop. The market has moved on.

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