Nanjing has confirmed that the price of the revamped sports car will start at £16,399 ($32,610). Only one model will be available, powered by a 1.8L 136hp (101kW) four-cylinder engine. Nanjing, together with its parent company Shanghai Auto, has already selected 50 dealers to sell the car in the UK and officials are planning to follow with a U.S. launch within the next one to two years.
The TF won’t be the only car built at Longbridge for long, however, as engineers at Nanjing’s SMTC design facility in Leamington, Warwickshire, are developing three new MG models including the next-generation TF due in 2010. The new TF will be available in both coupe and convertible bodystyles and will be based on the same platform as that used by the Chinese-market Roewe 550 hatch.
Original: After briefly rekindling production of the MG TF roadster at the carmaker’s Longbridge plant in May of last year, new owner Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) quickly stalled operations because of quality issues with some of the components it had bought from the bankrupt MG Rover. SAIC is now hoping to start building the TF at one of its plants in Nanjing, China, by May of this year but it still hasn’t fully overcome the initial quality problems.
Once production is finally up and running at Nanjing officials hope to kick start operations at Longbridge just three months later, SAIC president Chen Hong revealed to the Financial Times. "We want to begin production of cars at Longbridge as soon as possible, but the first priority for us is the quality of the product," Hong explained. SAIC is wary of China’s reputation of poor quality and doesn’t want to tarnish its image by launching the TF without the quality customers expect.
SAIC has already selected 50 dealers to sell the car in the UK and officials are planning to follow with a U.S. launch within the next one to two years. The carmaker definitely has ambitious plans. Officials are considering launching at least three new models, including a replacement for the TF, which it hopes to produce as early as 2010.