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Steane Klose | Apr 16, 2008

It all sounded too good to be true for fans of the MG TF roadster and too foolish to be anything but a pipedream to everyone else. Already well beyond its use by date when MG Rover folded, the TF was an unlikely candidate for resurrection but that didn’t stop the new Chinese owners from trying. Now it appears that project MG TF is dead in the water.

Nanjing Automotive purchased the remains of MG Rover after the manufacturer’s collapse in 2005 and immediately set-about gearing up to produce the MG TF again. As Nanjing’s MG dream faltered, Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) stepped in, purchased Nanjing and picked up the MG Rover bat and ball.

mg-tf-nanjing-tmr.jpg

Nanjing and SAIC between them re-established MG’s Longbridge manufacturing plant in the UK and produced a prototype or two of their new TF – in itself, no mean feat. Unfortunately, the cars coming off the line where not up to standard in SAIC’s eyes and production was delayed as the issues with the old MG Rover components were looked into.

On top of these quality issues, now comes the news that Stadco Ltd, the company who has been building the TF body shells has pulled out of the venture. There has not yet been an official reason given for the move, but Automotive News sources suggest that it was proving far too expensive to bring the old MG TF back in a form acceptable to a market that has since moved well along.

With around 50 dealers already chosen in the UK for the resurrected TF and plans to ship to North America in a couple of years time plans were well established for the little roadsters return. Perhaps one ray of hope for the dedicated MG enthusiast is the possibility that planned Chinese production of the TF may still go ahead. No formal announcement has yet been made to suggest it won’t and production was due to begin in Nanjing, next month.

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