MG is finally killing off the TF sports car, 16 years after it made its UK debut — but the firm has confirmed that a replacement for the long-serving roadster has already been given the green light.
The Chinese-owned company made the decision last week to wind up production of the TF. It blames dwindling demand and component supply problems for invalidating the business case for the car.
However, MG Motor UK Ltd also confirmed that a replacement for the long-serving roadster is already in the product plan, that it will be designed and developed in the UK, and that it should be on the road within two years.
“A brand like MG needs a true sports car in its offering,” said MG Motor UK Ltd sales and marketing boss Guy Jones, “and as soon as our primary line-up of volume models is established in the UK, we expect to introduce one.”
For the moment, MG insiders are reluctant to talk in official terms about the new sports car, for fear of diverting showroom interest away from the just-launched MG 6 saloon, and from the forthcoming MG 3, which should launch in the UK later this year.
But they admit that it’s a crucial project for a company keen to show the will and expertise to make great affordable sporting cars; nor do they deny that experimental design and development work on the car is already under way.
Autocar’s Longbridge sources suggest that MG is in the process of evaluating where the greatest market potential lies for an MG sports car. The two options it’s considering are adaptations of the platforms that underpin the front-engined MG 3 supermini, or of the forthcoming, slightly larger, Roewe 350-based MG 5 hatchback.
The former option would give MG Motor UK Ltd the most affordable route to market, but the latter would allow room for larger, more powerful engines. It could also prove easier to modify for a longitudinal engine and rear-wheel drive — even for a transverse, mid-mounted powertrain.
Meanwhile, the firm has also confirmed that a larger MG saloon could also be brought to the UK, based on the facelifted version of the Chinese market Roewe 750/MG 7 — a car that itself is a direct descendent of the Rover 75, and that we’ll see at next month’s Shanghai motor show. Also likely to feature at Shanghai is Roewe’s badge-engineered version of the Ssangyong W5 4x4.