The display of an MGF at this week’s SAE Show in Detroit, Michigan, should not be taken as a sign the famous brand is about to return to the United States, says MG Rover’s product communications manager Kevin Jones.

A silver MGF is currently displayed on the stand of engineering services company Chapman-Arup, which, Jones said, has a “long-standing relationship” with MG Rover. Market research questionnaires are available for show visitors to complete.

“We were offered the opportunity to gain some free market research,” Jones said. “It gives us the chance to explore and understand the reaction of American customers.”

Stressing that MG Rover’s five-year business plan assumes no sales in the US market, Jones said the possibility of a U.S. market comeback for MG could not be ruled out.

Any MG return to the US would be with successor to current MGF

“The exploration has to start some way out – we don’t even have a dealer network there now,” he said.

Jones said US sales of the MGF were never planned because production volume was limited to around 15,000 cars a year by the capacity of body supplier Mayflower.

“If we were in the U.S. we’d be doing twice that just for the one market,” Jones said.

He said that, if any go-ahead was given, the car to take MG back to the U.S. would most likely be the successor to the current MGF.

“We still have lots of goodwill there for MG,” he said. “I can’t think of a better brand with which to return to the U.S.

“Triumph had considerable success there too but nothing has been heard of the brand, apart from motorcycles of course, since the early 1980s.”

MG has not been marketed in the USA for over 20 years yet the market remains the largest in the world for sports roadsters.