MG TF sports car production starts

Two-seater MG TF sports cars are to begin full-scale production at the former Rover plant at Longbridge in Birmingham.

A number of pre-production cars have already come off the West Midlands assembly line, which was halted three years ago when MG Rover went bust.

It was bought by Chinese company Shanghai Automotive (SAIC), which says that nearly half of the 700, £16,400 TFs it hopes to produce by the end of the year have already been sold.

Longbridge was opened in 1905 by Herbert Austin, one of the great names of British motoring. As well as making cars, it turned out munitions in the First World War and aircraft in the Second World War.

Production of the iconic Mini began in 1959, by which time Austin had been amalgamated with Morris to become the British Motor Corporation.

The company names then changed thick and fast, and included British Leyland, BL, Austin Rover, Rover and MG Rover.

Longbridge was home to the successful Metro and Rover 200 cars before Rover was bought by Germany's BMW in 1994. It then passed into the hands of the Phoenix consortium, under which the MG Rover group went into administration.

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