First 'new' TF roadsters shown as small-scale production restarts in UK
30 May 2007

Just two years and 51 days after the production lines ground to a halt at Longbridge, three new MG TF roadsters rolled out of the revitalised factory on 29 May.

However, MG’s Chinese owners Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC) refused to make any grandiose claims about the future of the brand.

In stark contrast to decades of Longbridge new model launches, the TF unveiling was notable for its relative, though upbeat, modesty.

The new TF is barely changed from the model that went out of production on 7 April 2005. The car has been treated to a new front bumper (making it look more like original 1995 model) and a revised instrument pack.

The three ‘production’ cars also seemed to be missing their folding roofs, judging by the floppy tonneau covers. The TF will be powered by a new Euro 4 version of the K-series engine.

Production of 15,000 cars per year is possible, though NAC bosses refused to be drawn on sales projections. ‘Plans for the future depend on the reaction of customers’ said chief executive Yu Jian Wei.

Sales are unlikely to begin before October, as the next few months are spent on final testing and gaining various type approvals. ‘Expressions of interest’ from potential retailers should also be finally nailed down into a new dealer network.

Although welding, painting and final assembly of the TF was being carried out in the UK, Yu Jian Wei said the car was currently between 50 and 60 per cent Chinese-sourced. A number of components, including engine parts, were being imported from Europe and the UK.

Just 130 people are currently employed at Longbridge and that will rise to just 250 by the end of the year.

However a thoroughly revised version of the car is already underway and work is ongoing on the promised coupe version of the TF, pending a green light from NAC bosses. An updated Euro 4 version of the old Rover L-Series diesel is also awaiting the green light.

After spending £53m buying the MG Rover assets from the receivers, Nanjing has invested a further £250m in building a new factory in its home city, reviving the core of the sprawling Longbridge site and re-creating the MG TF and MG ZT.

NAC has also promised to establish a European R&D network at Longbridge.

Our Verdict

MG TF

The MG TF is undeniably flawed, but it is an appealing driver’s car nonetheless

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK