The MG brand is synonymous with sporty droptops in the US. For decades, the British brand exported two-seaters to satiate the convertible (and coupe) needs of Baby Boomers, but there hasn't been a new MG on America's roads in a long time. However, there is an outside chance that the now Chinese-owned company could make a return to the US... and with a sports car in the lineup, no less.
According to company insiders speaking to Edmunds, MG's parent, SAIC, has a new sports car on the agenda at its new Shanghai design studio. Pens likely haven't even touched paper yet to shape the new model, but concepts like the Icon (pictured above) indicated that the new designers at least have some idea of how to reinterpret the brand's classic looks for modern roads (how successful their vision is remains an open question). As an even longer-term goal, SAIC would like to relaunch MG in the US with the sports car and other more mainstream models, according to Edmunds.
Coming to the US might not have anything to do with actually being successful in the market. Industry analyst Dave Sullivan of AutoPacific tells Autoblog, "This is a validation more than a sales strategy." The Chinese market continues to grow, but being able to market vehicles as being good enough for Western consumers brings with it a valuable sort of cachet. Still, it's a long shot. "Look at the struggles of Alfa Romeo," said Sullivan. That brand has been trying to relaunch in the US for years with little or no success with the weight of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles behind it. And certainly, these sorts of "return to US" rumors crop up periodically every few years for once-offered marques like MG, Citroën and Renault, among others.
MG's return might not be completely out of the question, though. SAIC already has a US headquarters in Birmingham, Michigan and an MG model lineup in the UK. The company doesn't appear to be afraid to leave the Chinese market if a market opportunity presents itself.
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