The Chinese owner of MG Rover is planning a whole series of new models for production at Longbridge, it has emerged.

The announcement by Nanjing Automotive (NAC) will go some way towards reassuring workers at the plant that the factory has a long-term future.

The short-term future has been assured with final confirmation that production of the MG TF sports car will resume at the beginning of August, with the first cars being delivered to showrooms a month later.

Quite what the new models will be remains to be seen but there is speculation that they will include a new luxury saloon, possibly based on an updated Rover 75, plus a replacement for the aging TF, which first emerged onto UK roads in 1995.

There has also been recent speculation that a mid-range model, possibly a European version of the Roewe 550 - which was recently displayed at the Beijing International Motor Show, could be introduced to take advantage of spare capacity at the Longbridge plant.

In a statement, NAC said: "Whilst production efforts at Longbridge are focussed on the LE500, designers at the SMTC facility in Leamington are already planning exciting new MG models that will capture the essential qualities of the MG brand and extend the range into additional sectors."

For the moment, NAC, now part of the larger Shanghai Automotive group, will be concentrating its attention on the TF.

Chairman of NAC MG UK, He Xiao Qing, who visited Longbridge last month to inspect facilities and talk to workers, said: "I am delighted to be in a position to talk about a launch date for the TF LE500 following a process of planning, re-organisation, active quality improvements and parts optimisation that we recognise resulted in frustration for our stakeholders.

"We are now fully focussed on bringing our hard work to fruition."

The new car, which made its faltering debut last summer, has been beset with problems.

There have been concerns over the quality of some of the Chinese-made components, which initially delayed production, while the merger of NAC into SAIC also held up the manufacture of the cars.

Then last month, UK supplier Stadco withdrew from its contract to make body shells for the car, citing "commercial reasons" for its decision.

It is thought the new cars will have body shells manufactured in China.

NAC is hopeful that when the model finally arrives in showrooms it will still have a market.

In its publicity, the firm said it expected the TF to: "appeal to a wide range of car buyers looking for the authentic sports car driving experience, as well as existing small sports car owners looking to upgrade, current owners and the large band of MG enthusiasts".

The company also fired a broadside against detractors who had been speculating that the MG marque was finished.

"The commitment planned by MG and the level of investment underwritten by SAIC will persuade doubters that the MG brand is being re-launched with the support to make it successful again," it said in the statement.

"The fact is that in 2008, desirable and competitive British made sports cars will once again be rolling off a production line in Longbridge. A sight that many thought they might never see again."

Director of sales and marketing Gary Hagen added: "The open top sports car is an iconic image of British motoring and forms the basis of the MG marque’s long pedigree.

"The launch of the TF LE500 signals our determination to keep this class of car at the heart of the brand as we take it forward."