Britain’s famed automotive brand, MG, most noted for its line of sexy roadsters, isn’t coming back to the US after all. True, the company is now owned by SAIC, a Chinese automotive manufacturer, but the brand’s British pedigree remains intact.
Fans of the MG last saw these cars sold in the US way back in 1980. Competition, financial problems, and the temporary ceasing of production later that year contributed to the brand’s demise, though a revived MG later appeared and operated under the umbrella of the MG Rover group itself owned for a time by German automaker BMW. Later, a Chinese automaker, Nanjing Automotive purchased MG before being bought out itself by SAIC.
Restarting Production And Considering The US Market
The quest to bring MG back to the states has been a long one, led by U.S. enthusiasts who have been hoping that SAIC would export the MG TF to America. The mid-engined, rear wheel driven roadster’s appeal is quite a natural one with SAIC starting production on MG’s newest model at its Nanjing, China factory in August 2008 along with production at its Longbridge, UK facility. With a capacity to build 200,000 units annually in China alone, the chances of bringing the car stateside once seemed quite good.
Alas, MG management has decided to forgo the US market, at least for now, concentrating on its based United Kingdom and Ireland markets, before reintroducing MG to continental Europe. Even plans to send kits of the roadster to an Oklahoma factory for US assembly have fallen through, squelching the car’s US return for now.
Past Problems, A Thing Of The Past?
Of concern to MG fans everywhere are some of the quality issues that have plagued MG, particularly during the latter years when ownership changed hands several times. Head gasket problems with the MG F were a show stopper, one that MG says have been remedied with the introduction of a modified head gasket, one that can be retrofitted to earlier cars. Other engineering improvements to enhance engine durability have now been included, changes which should help the MG succeed as it seeks to polish its image abroad.
Though the MG TF isn’t coming stateside any time soon, fans can take heart knowing that such plans are subject to change at short notice. For a brand that has managed to survive through war, bankruptcy, and several ownership changes, the 85 year old marque endures, a tribute to British stoicism, Chinese investing, and to international interest.
Matthew C. Keegan is the owner of a successful writing and marketing business based in North Carolina, USA. He manages several websites and is a contributing writer for Andy’s Auto Sport, a retailer carbon fiber hoods.