MG fans are unlikely to see the return of a sports car in the near future, with the firm concentrating on expanding its model line with an SUV.
MG Motor UK’s recently appointed head of marketing Matthew Cheyne believes a sports car is still some way off, if at all, though he did not rule it out.
“Let’s be honest, never say never,” said Mr Cheyne. “But if you look at where the market is growing in the UK it is very clear that what it is growing in is SUVs.
“We would love to have one but we have to be realistic about where we are going to sell cars.
“The market for a small sports car is very small. The market for SUVs is big and growing - and we have an SUV.”
Mr Cheyne was speaking about the MG GTS, due to go on sale in China next month and come to the UK next year.
The vehicle will be based on MG’s CS concept, which proved a sensation when it was revealed at the Shanghai motor show in 2013.
It was widely hailed as the most exciting vehicle yet unveiled by the revived British marque, now enjoying a renaissance under Chinese owners Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).
It was designed under the guise of MG’s global design director Anthony Williams-Kenny, in a collaboration between the company’s Shanghai and Longbridge design teams.
The company’s UK technical centre (SMTC) at Longbridge employs 300 engineers and designers.
The new SUV is set to compete in the compact SUV sector, one of the fastest-growing areas in the global automotive world, against cars like the Nissan Qashqai and Vauxhall Mokka.
The new GTS will be available in China with a 217bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine developed by SMTC UK at Longbridge.
Both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive versions will be available, with a 168bhp 1.5-litre petrol also likely to be offered at some point.
UK versions will almost certainly come with a version of the 148bhp 1.9-litre diesel engine currently used in the MG6.
There has also been speculation MG is set to launch a second smaller SUV to compete against cars like the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, but Mr Cheyne said it was a case of ‘one step at a time’.
He said: “There’s always a danger people look ahead and get excited about what’s coming tomorrow and forget about today.
“SAIC is a massive company and people sometimes tend to look at what is happening in China.
“What happens in the UK will be steered pretty much by the success of today and next year.
“If we make the new MG6 as successful as we think we can we will get more new products.”
Mr Cheyne was speaking ahead of the launch of a new MG6, a ‘heavily facelifted’ version of the first car MG Motor UK launched in the UK.
As well as a revised exterior and new interior the car has also benefitted from a raft of engineering enhancements which mean it is more powerful, more frugal and emits less CO2 than its predecessor.
It is now only available with a diesel engine and crucially has also seen a price reduction.
Now repositioned in the C segment to compete against cars like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra the three model range starts at £13,995 - around £3,000 less than the previous comparable model.
The launch of the latest MG6 comes on the back of a successful year for MG in 2014, which saw it lay claim to being the fastest-growing automotive brand in Britain.
Its UK sales increased by 361 per cent from just 513 cars in 2013 to 2,326 in 2014. The firm has also seen a 57 per cent increase in first quarter sales for 2015.
The car-maker hopes the new MG6 will build on the success of the well received MG3 supermini, which has largely been responsible for the dramatic increase in sales.
As far as the company’s Birmingham operation is concerned, Mr Cheyne believes it has a bright future.
He said: “I joined a company, which if you think about it really is a sleeping giant.
“It is moving forward at an incredible pace - both in the UK and globally.
“Also we have the ability to influence what we do and sometimes with a large organisation you don’t have that.
“We’re a brand new company but we can change as well and a lot of companies can’t do that.
“We have a parent company that still believes in Britain and is investing more in Britain.
“It is a very exciting place to be.”