The on-again off-again resurrection of the MG TF appears to be on again with news that production of the TF LE500 will commence in August this year, with first delivery to new owners to take place in September. It was only a few months ago that quality issues and the loss of a major supplier had the whole project on life-support.
The reborn TF will be built in the UK at the old MG plant in Longbridge by the new Chinese custodians of the marque, Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC) and Shanghai Automobile Corporation (SAIC).
?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. The fact is that in 2008, desirable and competitive British made sportscars will once again be rolling off a production line in Longbridge. A sight that many thought they might never see again,? said a recent company statement.
The LE500 is a limited edition TF that NAC have refreshed with a mild facelift and improved specification in an attempt to get a year or two more out of the now rather old roadster. News out overnight suggests that the current TF isn't going to have to soldier on for too much longer, with NAC MG and SAIC revealing plans for a completely new model that will be available in both coupe and convertible variants. Styling is expected to be up-to-the-minute modern and renderings floating around the blogosphere are very promising.
The all new TF will be based on a RWD version of the Roewe 550 compact hatch?s platform. Slightly larger than a Mazda MX-5, the new TF will have the likes of the MX-5, Alfa Spider, Audi TT Roadster and Volkswagen Eos firmly in its sights.
The RWD platform will be developed in conjunction with British engineering expert Ricardo and the engines will be Rover based units, including a 1.8-litre turbo four-cylinder and a 2.5-litre V6.
SAIC and NAC are planning to have the new TF on the market as soon as 2010.