LONDON — MG Motor has begun work on an all-new front-engine, rear-drive open-top sports cars to replace its aging midengine TF roadster, now 15 years old. MG insiders tell Inside Line that the company might consider selling the sports cars in the U.S., given the marque's history in North America, but currently have no solid plans for a return.
MG and SAIC have to provide the Mazda Miata with a little competition which could mean trouble for Mazda. Right now, it seems that Mazda is doing some damage with the Miata and its faithful followers, but one look at this rendering and people might decide to jump ship and cruise with the MG.
Development is at a very early stage and has significantly lower priority than the company's plans to introduce both the new MG6 hatchback, already on sale in China, and a new supermini to its U.K. factory. MG's Chinese owner Shanghai Auto hopes to re-establish mainstream car production in Britain and relaunch the MG brand across Europe.
But the company believes that a new sports cars is essential to the long-term credibility of MG as a sporting brand. Though far from concrete, the aim is to introduce the model during 2014. It would be built at MG's Birmingham, England plant.
That means the sports car manufacturer will not actually be manufacturing any sports cars for at least three years, rather preferring to focus its attention on the new MG6 and a small city car to be built in the UK. MG plans to build the new sports cars in Birmingham, England, as the brand’s Chinese owner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), attempts to reintroduce MG throughout Europe. One source close to the project says that MG wants to create a direct rival to the Mazda Miata, which is why a front-engine, rear-drive layout is preferred.
The first rumored model to be offered will be the 2014 MG TF Roadster with a front engine or rear drive layout and a soft-top design. A retactable hadrtop will not be offered due to cost and complexity. Under the hood there will be a GM sourced turbodiesel, a gasoline V6 engine, and a hybrid powertrain based on the system in SIAC Rowe 750. Although production is 3 years off, sources close to the project tell us that the early designs for the 2014 MG TF resemble these renderings. Note that the TF will again employ a soft top design.
Sources tell us a midengine layout, as used on today's TF, has been rejected because of the styling and packaging limitations it forces on the car, while front-wheel drive has been eliminated for not being sporty enough. MG does not expect the TF to live much beyond the end of 2010, leaving the brand without a sports cars for at least three years while a new model is developed. The company has not ruled out trying to find a partner with which to share a platform.