UK: MG rules out early US return
Hopes of MG's early return to the US appear to have been dashed.
In an interview with UK enthusiast website Austin Rover Online, NAC MG UK's sales and marketing director, Gary Hagen, said: "We're starting with the UK and Ireland and, once we're up to speed, we will be pushing to sell in Europe.
The USA isn't on the short-term radar as an anticipated market for us but, with the right product, it would be good to return there."
Hagen said the TF LE500, kit assembly of which began recently in part of the former MG Rover complex at Longbridge, near Birmingham, was "just the beginning - a way of getting MG back into the marketplace."
The initial run is a 500-unit limited edition. Hagan promised a revised TF "late next year".
Austin Rover Online said it had learned the new version would use the TF's platform with chassis updates plus nose and tail restyling and a new dashboard with revised seating position.
"We're planning a four-car range of MGs - first to arrive will be a mid-sized saloon sharing its platform with the Roewe 550. The planned introduction for this car is late 2010 and, looking at today's marketplace, I see the main opposition as being the Mazda 6," Hagen said.
"After that, there will be a C-segment compact and a B-segment supermini - and, no, that won't be the MG3 SW, which has been a major success for us in China. Clearly, we have the capacity to build these cars in Longbridge and the Chinese are keen for this to happen."
Speaking of the UK plant, he said: "Longbridge is NAC MG's gateway to the West and to be making cars for the English-speaking market certainly makes sense for us. Right now, if anything, the financial case for building cars here is better than it has ever been - with the price of fuel being what it is, the cost of shipping cars from China has become a very real factor."