24 October 2013

Cars that got a second life: MG TF

A look at some cars that went out of production and came back from the dead. The sports car that got a second chance: the MG TF.



WHEN a car goes out of production. That's the end of it. With the last model rolling off the production line to be replaced, with a new one on the assembly line. Strangely enough, some cars have resurrected from the dead after they went out of production. One of the very cars that re-emerged was the MG TF.

Throughout its lifespan, the TF was a success. A fun, affordable, small, two-seater, mid-engined, open top sports car. It was also Britain's best selling sports car. It remained in production until 2005. When MG Rover collapsed, after declaring bankruptcy and going into liquidation. Soon after, MG Rover's assets such as the Longbridge factory, engines and the technology they had, were snapped up by Nanjing Automotive (later SAIC - Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation). 

In 2007, the TF was revived into production. The K-Series engine, notorious for their fragile headgaskets, was heavily revised with newer and robust heads on the units. The unit was re-named as the N-Series engine. Other light revisions was the new grille and monochrome MG emblem.

The revived TF came with some special edition models such as the TF LE500 and one to celebrate MG's 85th anniversary. However, despite the small improvements, sales were slow due to the lack of demand and publicity.

Only enthusiasts and hardcore fans (who could afford one) bought them. Even though it was similarly priced to the Mazda MX-5, the TF was a dinosaur by then. Which many buyers believed was poor value for money due to its age. In 2011, the TF was quietly put out of production. 

Even though MG is back with the new MG6 and MG3 under Chinese ownership. It remains to be seen whether they will be making a new sports car. There is a healthy market for sports cars at the moment. With the: Toyota GT-86, Volkswagen Scirocco, Peugeot RCZ, and the evergreen Mazda MX-5 and Audi TT.

The MG6 has been a slow seller. The MG3 has recently been launched which looks more promising with potential to be a success - that remains to be seen though. I have previously mentioned this before, that MG can put themselves back on the map from making a new sports car. That's what MG is loved and best known for... sports cars.


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