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Tuesday, 2 May, 2000, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
MG: Reviving the brand
The MG became a cult classic
The MG became a cult classic
As Rover Cars is about to be broken up, attention has focused on the firm's MG cars brand and speculation that it may be used to turn around the company.

The MG sports car was for many years the symbol of what was wrong and what was right in the British motor industry.

MG was considered the poor man's Jaguar, a sporty model that was in the reach of the ordinary man.
The MGA became the best selling sports car in the world
The MGA went on to became the best selling sports car in the world
Its manufacturing history began in 1924. Later, MGs were redesigned Morris Oxfords, modified by an engineer called Cecil Kimber who tinkered with the mass-market design.

Cecil Kimber redefined the sports car into a smaller and racier package - a prominent nose and large round headlights, leather straps, wire wheels, a nifty gear change and perfect weight distribution. With the MGA, in 1955, MG had a genuine hit on its hands. By the time the MGB came into being, in 1962 it was the best selling sports car in the world.

Troubles and revival

Eventually the fate of MG came to rest in the hands of British Leyland, the holding company set up by the government to consolidate the whole British car industry under one management.

British Leyland failed to invest in the brand and, in 1980, closed down the MG production line at Abingdon, Oxford.

Earlier, Austin Rover had tried to use the brand to give more class to its other models, putting the MG badge on the Maestro, the Montego and the Metro.

The new MGF continues with the sporty image
The new MGF continues with the sporty image
Fifteen years later, with the car a cult classic, the new owners of Rover, British Aerospace, attempted to revive the brand.

The MGF, launched in 1995, was another sporty success.

It has sold more than 50,000 models worldwide and is the UK market leader among sports cars.

The new MGF had a new lightweight body and rear wheel drive, but retained the two-seat design and the convertible roof.

BMW was pledged to develop a new version of the MGF, but some observers wondered whether it really wanted another competitor to its own new sports car, the BMW Z3.

Now the new owners - some of whom are MG enthusiasts - have a chance to show that there is more life left in one of Britain's most distinguished motor marques.

See also:

16 Mar 00 | Business
16 Mar 00 | Business
16 Mar 00 | Business
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