NO NEW SPORTS MGS
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.