The first MGs built under the ownership of Nanjing Automobile will not reach the showrooms until early next year after the corporation missed its end of the year target for the launch of its MG TF sports cars.

Nanjing originally aimed to relaunch production for April this year, to coincide with the second anniversary of the MG Rover crash. But that date slipped and the Longbridge factory was officially reopened in May this year.

The TF will now go to the showrooms in the UK from February rather than the end of the year as Nanjing Automobile planned.

Final details are being worked out on pricing for the car, although around 31 dealers have signed up so far to sell the car with more expected to follow.

Meanwhile a marketing campaign is expected to start around December to alert MG enthusiasts and other potential purchasers to the relaunch of the car.

Eleanor de la Haye, spokeswoman for NAC MG, said: "The car will be released to dealers in February and deliveries will start in March.

"People's expectation was that the car was be coming in the autumn. But autumn ends in October, and nobody is saying where is the car.

"In reality work is being carried out before the car is released. There will be a marketing campaign starting in December and run through January, people will be able to place orders in February and receive them in March."

Mrs De La Haye said a lot of activity was going on to maintain interest among prospective customers in the meantime.

"MG people are completely supportive and enthusiastic about what we are doing."

Around 20 cars are currently on tests around Europe ahead of the car's reintroduction.

Cars are currently undergoing altitude testing in Spain, as well as being exposed to temperatures of more than 40C for hot weather testing in Australia.

Cold weather testing is currently taking place in Finland.

One of the problems has been importing windscreens from China, with many of them being smashed while in transit.

The ongoing negotiations about Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAID) has also slowed down preparations for the new car.

Mrs de la Haye said: "There are logistical issues from working with a parent company 6,000 miles away from where you are."

This has meant some components having to be resourced.

The original intention was for the new MG TF to have 80 per cent of its components sourced from China, but following logistical issues, this has been reduced to 65 per cent.

The new parts have necessitated further testing.

Another issue has been getting hold of the hard tops for a limited edition version of the MG TF which will spearhead the relaunch of the vehicle next year.

Only 500 cars are being produced to the 1.8litre 16 valve car, which will feature rear parking sensors, and leather throughout.

Each individually numbered car is intended to act as a halo vehicle to create interest in the rest of the brand.

Mrs De La Haye said: "This will be fully loaded and is aimed at generating attention for the car."

The limited edition will only be sold in the UK and Ireland, although there has been interest from further afield.

"We have had so many people on the phone, asking when can they get hold of a left hand drive model.

"But we are not necessarily going to have left hand drive ones. We are only making 500, so they will have to buy one here and have it imported."

Mrs De La Haye added: "We want the cars to be out in the dealerships in February so people can see them.

"People start to think before March new registrations about what sort of car they are going to have.

"Everybody is very enthusiastic about it. It is important for everyone to understand everyone behind this project is giving it 110 per cent. It is not that we are stalling. It is one chance to get the car absolutely right. If we are not successful the MG legacy is going to come crashing behind us."