NAC MG (UK) has said it is still seeing a high level of demand by retailers wishing to join its new network. This is despite a recently reported postponement of the start of UK production of the TF LE 500 roadster due to parts supply problems.

NAC said over 100 dealers throughout the UK have expressed interest to become a franchise dealer, with more than 40 having signed letters of intent. The proposed network will provide customers with nationwide coverage and many of the dealers already have extensive knowledge of the brand, gained over many years as part of the former MG Rover network, while applications have also been received from dealers currently retailing other brands.

"We are hugely encouraged by the response," said Stephen Cox, NAC MG's franchising manager. "There is still a huge interest in the MG brand, and the fact that dealers believe our products will sit well alongside other premium brands speaks volumes."

It is planned that the network will be 50-strong for the commercial launch of the TF LE 500 model next year.

"We have experienced a constant request for applications to join our network," added Cox. "There is clear confidence in MG's future, and dealers seem to want to be a part of a new success story and maintain an association with one of the UK's most historic car brands."

Automotive News Europe reported recently that Nanjing Automobile was switching to European suppliers from Chinese firms for some components of the UK-built TF, and had delayed the production start of the two-seater at its Longbridge, England, plant until next spring from this autumn, partly because of delivery problems with parts from China.

Nanjing UK spokeswoman Eleanor de la Haye told ANE: "A number of issues have combined to cause this delay."

The paper said problems included the logistics of shipping parts to Longbridge in central England from Chinese suppliers based 6,000 miles away.

Parts such as windshields had arrived broken, de la Haye told the newspaper. "It's not so much the quality of the parts. The quality of the packaging is not good enough," she was quoted as saying.

Martin Flynn, Nanjing Automobile Corporation UK's head of Europe purchasing, told Automotive News Europe that Nanjing has started sourcing some parts from Europe instead of China for several reasons including logistics and lead times. Complying with European legislation and product patents were other reasons.

Originally, sourcing low-cost parts from China was a key part of Nanjing's plan to price the TF competitively, ANE noted.

NAC delays TF's UK start

"September or October"