Classic car lovers rejoice: the MG and Austin Healey are back
June 28, 2007 Great news for lovers of classic sports cars as two iconic brands rise from the ashes. The well-loved and historic MG marque made a welcome return to the spotlight last weekend as the first car produced by its new Chinese owners was unveiled at Silverstone's 2007 MG Car Club gathering. Nanjing also announced an agreement with Healey Automobile Consultants to take over and revive the Austin Healey, another famous sportster that has been out of production for over 35 years. With MG production starting later this year, Nanjing is receiving strong interest in global dealer partnerships from a number of major brands, so it won't be long until these famous names are back on a street near you.
First new MG unveiled at Silverstone
Visitors to the 57th MG International Race meeting at the weekend were treated to the first public appearance of the new MG TF sports car.
The Longbridge built sports car took pride of place at the 57th annual MG Car Club celebration, which is world’s largest gathering of MG cars spanning over 80 years of the marque’s history.
The new TF, which is due to go into production later this year, features numerous new engineering innovations and cosmetic changes that Nanjing hope will make the car a desirable proposition when it appears in showrooms.
“The public response to the new TF has been fantastic,” says Gary Hagen, Sales & Marketing Director for NAC MG (UK) Ltd. “This car represents a fresh new addition to the UK sports car market, and judging by the reaction at Silverstone over the weekend this car looks set to enjoy a healthy sales success here in the UK.”
“This car has undergone extensive re-engineering and it is a very different proposition from the previous generation TF,” says Hagen. “From the outset our objective was to produce a highly desirable sports car that offers performance, fun, reliability and value for money in equal measure. This is a demanding market and the British public will not be disappointed.”
Silverstone International is the highlight of the MG racing season and this year attracted 550 race entries – and broke all previous records in the process. The racing covered all eras of the brand’s long history, whilst the headline MG Trophy race for MG TF and ZR models, won by Malcolm Gammons, was sponsored by Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC) for the first time since buying MG in 2005.
MG's enormous fan club were very pleased to be the first to see the new model. “We are delighted that NAC MG (UK) chose to debut the new TF at this event,” says Richard Jones from the MG Car Club. “It’s great to know that NAC understands the importance that enthusiasts will continue to play in the future success of the MG brand.”
Austin Healey brand to be revived
Earlier this month, NAC and Healey Automobile Consultants Limited, in conjunction with HFI Automotive Ltd, annoiunced their intention to collaborate with each other on the future development of the Healey and Austin Healey brands and sports cars bearing their name.
The agreement puts an end to long standing issues about ownership of the brands and trade marks and expands opportunities for joint trade between the companies.
While no date has been set for the release of the new Austin Healey, Nanjing moved very quickly with the production of its first MG, so we can surely expect to hear more within the next 12 months.
Global MG dealership interest very strong
In the run-up to the commercial launch of the new MG TF 2-seater sportscar, NAC MG (UK) has received an overwhelming response to their request for applications to become an MG franchised dealer. The high level of enthusiasm has not only come from retailers within the UK, but also from those located as far afield as Greece and South Africa.
The majority of applicants in the UK, a key market for MG cars, are former MG franchise dealers who continue to demonstrate a passion for the brand and are equally keen to apply their extensive knowledge of the product, marque and client base.
Further enquiries have also been received from other manufacturer franchises which include Citroen, Lotus, Renault, Mitsubishi, Mercedes and Vauxhall, highlighting the renewed confidence in the brand. Potential UK locations for the newly established dealers span nationwide from Northern Ireland to the Channel Islands.
Commenting on the large volume of applications which NAC MG (UK) has received to become part of the new MG retail network, Stephen Cox, Sales and Franchising Manager for NAC MG (UK) explains: “We are delighted by the global interest which we have received and are also very encouraged by the high quality of the applicants. This is a true demonstration of the continued appeal of the MG brand, and an illustration of the confidence in a very promising future.”
NAC MG (UK) is currently reviewing all applications, and will shortly announce the appointment of those who can fully satisfy the company’s demanding criteria.