MG Motor’s Chinese design studios will be developing options for a new sports car this year, according to well placed insiders.
Exploratory sports car work has been scheduled for the vast SAIC design studios in Shanghai, which works in tandem with its studio at Longbridge in Birmingham.
However, a new sports car is not yet in the MG Motor product plan, because the brand has more vital models to pursue first. Instead, the aim is to investigate the kind of vehicle that a new sports model might be.
Proposals are likely to include a traditional Mazda MX-5-style roadster, although the company might conclude that Mazda has this market sewn up, one source suggests. The 2012 Icon SUV crossover concept will also be a starting point for the exercise.
MG is considering a halo model for the brand, too. This will not be the sports car but, again, could be partly inspired by the Icon. A halo model will need to appeal to buyers in China, where sports cars have very limited appeal. So an SUV or crossover seems more likely, especially since it will have international appeal.
Before any halo model is ready for the showroom, though, there will be a more stylish replacement for the 6.
After the new 6, there will be a production version of the CS concept crossover unveiled at last year’s Shanghai show. A Qashqai rival, it’s scheduled for a 2015 launch, although it’s not clear whether this model will be part-built at Longbridge like the 3 and the 6.
The CS shares its platform with the 5 compact family hatchback, which might go on sale in the UK at a later date, but in facelifted form with updated powertrains.