MG enthusiasts should resign themselves to bad news with the brand likely to "flicker briefly once more, then gutter and die," an automotive expert has claimed.
The Birmingham company's £53 million takeover by Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC) will not save the marque in the long term, said Michael Wynn-Williams.
Mr Wynn-Williams, a research analyst at automotive analysts Trend Tracker, compared the situation at Longbridge unfavourably with the £50 million takeover of Birmingham van maker LDV by Russian commercial vehicle maker GAZ last month.
Unlike GAZ, which appointed ex-Ford executive Martin Leach, NAC had failed to attract an overall leader of international standing and seemed to have no coherent strategy, said Mr Wynn-Williams.
He said: "All but the blindly optimistic British MG fan is now resigned to bad news. I think MG has one generation of models left - that's five years or less.
"Chances are the brand will flicker briefly once more, then gutter and die. The only real hope is that it will be revived once again in the future, but next time by a company that understands the spirit under the metal.
"LDV has got a much better deal; they are part of a coherent strategy and I can see further investment and volumes rising. They have a rosy future."
NAC had bought the assets of MG Rover to allow it to become fully independent of joint ventures which dominate the Chinese automotive industry.
But the prognosis for NAC was not good, said Mr Wynn-Williams, who referred to the company's patchy joint venture with Fiat which resulted in a just 36,000 units being sold in 2005.
He said: "NAC are truck manufacturers of uncertain car-making capability attempting to enter the big league in global automotive manufacturing.
"It would be like LDV purchasing Lancia of Italy, shipping the production machinery over to Birmingham and then attempting to design a new range of cars from scratch, all the while proclaiming to empathise with the Lancia 'passion'."
This was not impossible, but Lancia's soul resided in the brands human assets - its engineers, said Mr Wynn-Williams, which in MG's case had been snapped up by other companies.
" Lancias are Italian because they are created by teams of Italian engineers. In the same way the MG passion is no dreamy vision but a genuine asset embodied in the engineering teams," he said.
"In point of fact the recent takeover of LDV is not unlike that of MG, the role of a carnivorous foreign corporation this time played by the Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer GAZ.
"The difference is that the Russians see LDV as their window on Britain and the rest of the world. They seem to view LDV as a workshop based on human skills rather than a warehouse to be stripped bare."
Mr Wynn William said Nanjing was relying on ten-year-old models, while there had been no recondition of the role Longbridge could play as a bridgehead into Europe or foundation for a Chinese facility.
The plan to build cars in America "seems to have run off on its own legs" and was also flawed.
"The latest news from the US is that the MG R&D department there will be housed on the campus of the state university, which has no existing engineering department and partly staffed by students."
Mr Wynn-Williams added: "NAC claimed it was buying into the passion of MG. But they seem to think the passion of MG is embodied in the machinery that made the cars.
"Most of this has now been lifted out of Longbridge and shifted to China."
He added that the plans unveiled by NAC - to produce 15,000 sports cars a year by a staff of over 200 at Longbridge - were fanciful.
The company lacked a dealer network to sell cars which were older and suffered from a wounded brand image.
"Lotus employs 450 people in car production for an output of 5,000, so one wonders how Longbridge will be so efficient.
"Even then the ambitious 15,000 sales target is suspect. When MG Rover had its full complement of dealers it never sold more than 14,000 TFs at the peak of the model's life cycle, so it is unlikely that this level of output could be found again for a car that will be 12 years old on its return."