Job losses expected as production line shut until March 2010
7 October 2009

MG Motor is to halt production of the Longbridge-built TF sports car for six months until March next year.

Sales of the TF, the only vehicle now built at the once-massive Longbridge factory in Birmingham, have been modest with only 265 sold during the first nine months of this year, although September has been the best month yet for the revived marque with 65 cars sold.

Newly appointed sales and marketing director Guy Jones says that the low volume TF is ‘batch built’, and that the summer selling season, which runs from March to September, is now over.

Despite introducing a 50-copy limited edition 85th anniversary edition, all of which have been sold, production will not restart until next spring. The small sports car market is down 30 per cent this year and 40 per cent since 2007, adds Jones, who thinks that ‘up to 20’ of the 100-strong vehicle assembly workforce will need to be laid off.

When production does restart it will be with a modified line-up, a series production version of the limited edition, which features a mildly revised chassis and interior, going on sale positioned above the entry level £13,511 TF 135.

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Despite the shutdown Jones, who previously held the same job at the LDV van company, is optimistic about the future for MG and Longbridge. Owners Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, China’s biggest indigenous car manufacturer, have ‘ambitious plans for the MG brand,’ he says.

These are thought to include the development of a new range of sports cars to be designed, developed and built at the company’s British factory. But it’s not clear whether earlier plans to manufacture the MG7, a Focus class hatchback also sold as the Roewe 550 in China, will see UK manufacture. But of the 300 staff currently on site some 200 are in design and engineering.

Jones claims that more details of SAICs plans for MG and Longbridge will be revealed ‘soon’, while adding that the vehicle assembly halls have recently been redecorated. In China, the development of the Roewe and MG marques is going well according to Jones. SAIC is expecting to sell some 50,000 Roewes and MGs in 2009 - ahead of its target. Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Jaguar reviews, news and video

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Comments
4

7 October 2009

Haven't seen one of these "new" TF's yet, or have I just not noticed? Anyway, drop the price to £10k and it'll sell.

7 October 2009

hands up who is surprised.......................anyone................at all???

8 October 2009

[quote Vidge 123] hands up who is surprised.......................anyone................at all???
[/quote]

My hand is up......

8 October 2009

[quote Autocar]265 sold during the first nine months of this year[/quote].....[quote Autocar]September has been the best month..... with 65 cars sold. [/quote]

204 in the first 8 months, therefore September sales figure is 61. If you do a search on Autotrader for MGs less than a year old you get 61 hits. Some of them have less than 1k miles on the clock and prices start from about £11k.

The MG would sell if the new price was £ 11k!

To put 265 in context, it's 160 more than Cadillac, 90 less than Lotus and 248,811 less than Ford.

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