Autocar has heard of a new bidder for the MG brand, keen to launch an all-new roadster
8 June 2005

A bid to buy the MG brand and launch a brand-new front-engined roadster within 18 months has been placed with the MG Rover auditors, Autocar has discovered.

The consortium claims to be made up of ‘major’ industrial players with ‘strong’ connections in the US market. Autocar has been told that the plan is to buy just the rights to the MG badge and ‘start afresh’ with the marque.

Apparently the consortium has secured the use of an established front-mid-engine, rear-drive chassis. The car could feature a V8 and even a version of the Ferrari Superamerica’s flip-top roof, and would be a similar size to the new Mazda MX-5. Ultimately, the plan would be to sell 10,000 cars in the US within 12 months of re-launch and eventually reach 30,000 sales globally. Meanwhile, an Iranian bid to buy the MGR factory is ‘currently in pole position’ with auditors PWC. Rumours suggest the UK government wants to clear the sale this month.

However, Chinese car-maker SAIC says it will fight through the courts to establish ownership of the rights for the Rover 25, 75 and the K-series engines. SAIC is working with UK consultancy Ricardo to update and establish production of the cars in China. A senior Ricardo source also said that it was looking to finish the RDX60 ‘medium car’ project, to which SAIC also believes it has the rights.

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