Two aggressive new British bidders for MG, both claiming powerful backing and extensive industry connections, have dramatically escalated what now seems certain to be a full-scale bidding war over the name and assets of one of the world’s most famous sports car marques. Both envisage continuing MG as a sports car company, maintaining TF production, and launching more models in the future. The bidders are Chapman Automotive Ltd, a successful Essex-based automotive consultancy fronted by ex-Lotus design director Colin Spooner, and UK Sports Cars Ltd, a newly formed company with former Powertrain boss Fraser Welford-Winton and a retinue of ex-MG Rover managers on its board.
The moves are welcome news for MG enthusiasts concerned that Jon Moulton’s Alchemy partnership, which bid unsuccessfully for MG Rover five years ago, has withdrawn as a bidder. Keep MG British lobbyists are concerned at gathering signs that SAIC, the Chinese group with which MG Rover had intended to merge, will soon bid for the collapsed company’s remaining assets, including the MG interests. SAIC has just signed a ‘significant contract’ with the UK engineering consultancy Ricardo.Bid one
Chapman Automotive, named after the famed Lotus founder Colin Chapman, is bidding for the MG brand, the MG TF and the plant to manufacture it. It claims funding from ‘a consortium including an overseas vehicle manufacturer, a US-based investment fund and a wealthy investor.’ The Chapman plan involves reviving TF production and moving it to another West Midlands facility, but not producing any more MG saloons. Production would begin ‘later this year’ and cars would be sold through a revived dealer network in right-hand-drive countries. A return to the US would also be on the cards. Chapman was involved in the production of the seductive but unsuccessful Tommy Kaira, and MD Colin Spooner was a leading light in the production of the Mk2 Lotus Elan.