Is bidding for the MG brand, the MG TF and the plant to manufacture it. It claims funding from a consortium including an overseas vehicle manufacture, a US based investment fund with a wealthy investor.
The Chapman plan involves reviving TF production and moving it to another West Midlands facility, but not producing any more MG saloons.
Production would begin “later this year” and cars would be sold through a revived dealer network in RH drive countries. A return to the US would also be on the cards. Chapman was involved in the production of the seductive but unsuccessful Tommy Kaira and MD Colin Spooner was a leading light in the production of the Mk2 Elan.
Six ex-Powertrain bosses have banded together, led by MD Fraser Welford-Winton, to form a company called UK Sports Cars Ltd, aiming not only to resurrect MG but the Austin-Healey marquee as well with a V8 powered rear wheel drive roadster.
The consortium’s first move will be to restart MG TF production at Longbridge and soon afterwards launch a coupe version of the car, first revealed last November. The company is also believed to be planning an entry-level MG Midget. If its bid were successful, UK Sports Cars would aim to have the Austin Healey 4000 in production by 2010. The plan would be to give the car an extruded box-section chassis, of the type used by Lotus Elise & Aston Martin range, and to use super formed aluminium body panels.
Bid now withdrawn
MGR’s proposed Chinese partner in 2004, which has already acquired rights to several MGR models and to some K-series engines, is believed to be a bidder for much that remains at Longbridge. Other bidders fear that it maybe interested in some of the MG properties – perhaps not all, but enough to make revival of the sports car company an impossibility.
The seriousness of its intentions in the UK wee underscored last week by a cryptic announcement from Ricardo engineering consultancy late last week, which stated it had signed a “significant contract” with SAIC. The Chinese have yet to approach BMW to negotiate the rights to use Rover’s name. The fortunes of those negotiations will affect how SAIC views bidding for MG.
Peter Stevens is behind both British Bids!