Classics Monthly - - Contents -

There are to be no new MG sports cars in the near fu­ture, the firm’s head of sales and mar­ket­ing has stated, con­firm­ing what most of us al­ready ex­pected. In a re­cent in­ter­view with Au­to­car, Matthew Cheyne said: “There are no spe­cific plans to pro­duce a road­ster at this point, although the new ar­chi­tec­ture we’re mov­ing to­wards would be eas­ier to de­velop a road­ster from.” MG’s last open-top car, a de­vel­op­ment of the MG Rover’s MGTF, went out of pro­duc­tion in 2011; built in batches both in Pukou, China, and at the model’s orig­i­nal home in Long­bridge, the car was re-re­leased un­der then owner Nan­jing Au­to­mo­bile Cor­po­ra­tion (NAC) in 2007 and then as new mod­els – the LE500, TF 135 and 85th An­niver­sary – when cur­rent par­ent SAIC Mo­tor took over in 2008. De­spite de­tail changes, a high 2008 price tag of £16,399 (when a Mazda MX-5 1.8 was £15,750) and patchy build qual­ity meant there were few tak­ers. Sales peaked at 374 cars in 2009, fall­ing to 282 a year later. Cheyne added: “The two-seat con­vert­ible mar­ket is in de­cline, so there’s no case to build one. We build our cars to have good han­dling, though, so we con­tinue the MG her­itage this way.” His­to­ri­ans might ar­gue that MG’s name ap­peared on saloons (the Y-Type and ZA/ ZB Mag­nette) in the past, so the link, how­ever ten­u­ous, is there.

Although the move is cer­tain to dis­ap­point clas­sic MG en­thu­si­asts, pitch­ing oc­tagonbadged crossovers into a grow­ing mar­ket makes sense from the Chi­nese per­spec­tive of MG’s owner, SAIC. The GS was launched re­cently and the new smaller SUV is ex­pected to fol­low the style of the Icon con­cept from 2012.

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