MG, fresh from the successful relaunch of its TF roadster, has revealed details of a whole series of new models to be produced at Longbridge.
Safe in the knowledge of secure investment from its Chinese parent, Shanghai Automotive (SAIC), the company is planning a new large-size family car, a mid-range/small family car, a supermini and a replacement for the TF. There is even speculation that it could produce an MG-badged SUV, which would be a first in the company’s long history.
The first of the new models will be a variant of the Roewe 550, the large car which is was launched to acclaim at the Beijing Motor Show earlier this year.
The 550 already has a strong British pedigree having been designed and engineered at the Shanghai Mechanical Technical Centre in Leamington Spa.
It is likely to go on sale in 2010 and will be pitched against rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and the Vauxhall Vectra replacement, the Insignia.
The car will look different to its Chinese counterpart but will share the same platform. This will mean it can be quickly introduced to the production line at Longbridge.
The company will also have a more established dealer network by the time the car goes on sale and there are high hopes it will be able to compete with its more established rivals.
The lessons learned from the sale of the TF roadster are likely to be invaluable as it looks to secure a foothold in what are very different markets to those sought by the sports car.
The next model is said to be a Ford Focus size vehicle, which will pitch the company into the most competitive section of the car market.
However, it is relishing the challenge.
Spokeswoman Eleanor de la Haye said: “MG’s future is secure and there is a commitment to expanding the automotive business both in China and in Europe.
“We have been on site here for three years and have been through some difficult times but that is behind us and we are looking forward to the future.”
“Although the TF is a relaunch, all the other vehicles will be brand new,” she added.
In addition to the enhanced dealer network – which is likely to comprise around 55 outlets in the UK, the company has improved its production model, set up a new logistics chain, an after-sales service and has the UK-based design centre.
The TF will initially be launched in the UK and Ireland but by next spring this will have been expanded to include Italy, Spain, France and Germany and beyond that to other English speaking markets such as South Africa.
There is no word yet on whether the sports car will be sold in the United States but it is not ruling this out.
It believes there is vast potential for the sports car and it will act as a flagship for the MG brand throughout the world, while there are hopes that the new models could also find a market outside the UK.
The 550 is already proving popular in China, where more than 8,000 have already been sold, despite it only being on sale since April.
The TF is also proving a hit with the Chinese, with more than 2,500 models already sold.
In the UK, advance orders for the special edition LE500 have been strong, with 80 per cent of the 500 limited run already being snapped up despite the car not going into showrooms until next month.
However, British buyers will not have long to get acquainted with the roadster as a replacement is already being planned and the model could be available in around three years time.