After our first drive of the reborn MG TF, Autocar has learned that NAC MG has grand plans for the brand in the UK, including the launch of a four-model range. According to Gary Hagen, NAC MG's director of sales and marketing, Longbridge's future is assured - but the proposed deal to assemble cars in the USA has fallen through.
Speaking at the low-key launch of the MG TF LE500, Hagen confirmed that “making cars at Longbridge for the English-speaking market certainly makes sense for us.”
Currently only a handful of staff are building the relaunched TF roadster at a trickle, but Hagen confirms that plans to volume produce cars in the UK are well advanced.
He told Autocar that a range of four MGs is planned, and will be introduced during the next five years. The first will be a follow-on from the TF roadster, introduced late next year and targeting the Mazda MX-5. Before then, buyers will have a chance to buy a TF135 for £14,999; it will enter production when the limited-edition LE500 reaches the end of its run.
More importantly from the point of view of its future viability, Longbridge will receive an influx of engineers later this year when staff from the Shanghai Motor Technical Centre (previously known as Ricardo2010) in Leamington Spa will be moved there. This is the team that was primarily responsible for engineering the Chinese-market Roewe 750 and 550; the latter is set to form the basis of Longbridge’s next model.
“We’re currently planning a four-car range of MGs – first to arrive will be a mid-size saloon sharing its platform with the Roewe 550," confirmed Hagen. "The planned introduction for this car is late 2010 and looking at today’s marketplace, I see the main opposition as being the Mazda 6."