Blog : Why the history books are waiting for MG…

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

AROnline  Contributor and former BMC/British Leyland manufacturing apprentice Richard Williams recently returned to Longbridge and that prompted some in-depth reflections on the fate of the famous factory.

Here’s his take on that and SAIC Motor’s stewardship of the historic and still much-loved MG marque…

AROnline’s regular readers might recall that, in my earlier article, Blog: MG – more jam tomorrow…, I mentioned serving an apprenticeship at Longbridge back in the late-1960s. Well, since that article was published last August, I have been back to Longbridge for a 50-year reunion with the other apprentices who started there with me in 1966.

I drove up to the factory on a beautiful sunny morning and took a look at the old North Gate through which we had all entered as a 16-year olds fresh from school. The modern shopping centre that now stands in its place certainly was very busy, but all vestiges of the foundry and engine factory were now firmly buried under today’s modern and very pleasant retail environment.

Town houses where industry once lay

I crossed the railway and headed towards where the South Works used to be, but that area is now occupied by very trendy town houses. Looking up towards the Car Assembly Building, I did spot part of the old Trentham building, but it looked like that was being dismantled. I then drove up to what used to be known as Q Gate in Lowhill Lane opposite Cofton Park to see the only parts of the factory which still remained. I was pleased I did as soon they too will be gone.

The real estate they stand on has got to be some of the best in that part of Birmingham – after all, the site is not only opposite Cofton Park but also overlooks the Lickey Hills on one side and has commanding views over Barnt Green and the green south Birmingham countryside on the other.

One thing is certain: when this hilltop is covered with expensive executive houses, no cars will ever be built there again. I do hope the old Design Studio will be left to denote where this fine factory, which employed so many people, once stood.

An accurate prediction

My earlier assessment that SAIC Motor’s best option would be to leave the site for St. Modwen to develop has, in the event, proved to be an accurate prediction. However, as a former BMC manufacturing apprentice turned car retailer, seeing how this once great manufacturing site has declined and realising that neither SAIC Motor nor any other car manufacturer will ever produce cars at Longbridge again makes me extremely sad.

So, where does this leave SAIC Motor and MG? Well, with the company’s planned UK manufacturing base being demolished, its only real claim to being British – apart from some design and engineering work – is now gone. MGs are now truly badge-engineered products – mind you, as mentioned in my last article, the Chinese are only taking their cue from BMC/British Leyland, which developed badge-engineering into a fine art.

However, given SAIC Motor’s apparent business model, it makes commercial sense to build the cars totally in China, ship them to Bristol, adjust them for the UK market and sell them through a select group of very loyal retailers, who – thankfully for them – do not have to rely on MG as they have their own loyal customer bases and successful used car operations.

MG Motor’s dealer situation

Interestingly, though, MG Motor UK does seem to have a noticeable amount of retailer ‘churn’ – of the 43 retailers listed in March 2010, only 12 still have the MG franchise. Admittedly, the total number of MG retailers does now stand at 74 (with two new appointments pending) but a significant number of retailers have relinquished the franchise since 2010 and more very good ones are reportedly following.

Here might just be the reason for that: with annual registration figures of 4188 units last year, a network of 76 retailers is unsustainable – in today’s viciously competitive and very fast-changing car retailing market, such numbers cannot provide a basis upon which MG retailers can grow by generating surplus funds to invest in their own businesses.

MG Motor UK has reported an eight per cent year-on-year increase in registrations for Q1/2017 but that masks a 24 per cent year-on-year decrease for January-February and, while 749 vehicles were registered in March, a significant proportion of those were probably transactions brought forward as a result of the increase in Vehicle Excise Duty on 1 April.

Resorting to distress selling?

MG Motor UK does, in any event, seem to have engaged in what amounts to distress marketing – the adoption of such a strategy is clearly shown by the number of nearly-new or pre-registered MGs now being advertised by the two large Retailer Groups with MG franchises: Arnold Clark and the now Sytner Group-owned CarShop.

A quick check shortly before publication showed that, between them, those two companies had around 140 nearly-new MGs on sale, so clearly at least some of the vehicles recorded as being registered have still to find a retail home… The smaller, owner-driven retailers will probably be very unhappy with that situation as the strategy must put discounting pressure on their own loyal market place.

Moreover, having examined the two current MGs (MG GS, above, and MG3) and compared them to what else is on the market, there is no way I would want to drive one. The plastic interior, with its peculiar smell, would put me off alone. I say this because, as a lad, the smell of a new car with its leather and wood was a wonderful selling point and, indeed, an essential element in the psychology of selling.

A stink of fresh, cheap plastic is quite the opposite…

Taking a lesson from the Koreans

I read Ian Parker’s correct and well-written comments in response to my original article and agree with him about the way the Korean brands entered the UK market with strong products, fair pricing and a very good consumer offer with warranties. However, I really do not think this would work for MG now because the company is simply not in a place to compete with the likes of Hyundai and Kia (below) – two brands which have established themselves by taking former MG Rover customers and looking after them well.

A further problem which SAIC Motor and, indeed, other Chinese manufacturers are facing is the rising costs of building a car in China. This was something I picked up on many years ago during successive visits to China for meetings with manufacturers.

The investment in infrastructure, both in roads and transport, building houses and factories was massive and the rise in prices was inevitable. This is why the UK has not seen an invasion of cheap Chinese cars – in fact, it is cheaper to produce cars in some European countries now than in China

How on earth can MG attract younger buyers?

Another factor at play against MG is that, at least in the volume car business, it seems that nearly all the brands are losing identity among the younger, new car buyers and a car is being more of a pure commodity and not a statement – in other words, if a particular model carries out the function that it is required for and the purchase and warranty package fit, then they will buy that product irrespective of the marque.

How many times do you hear normal day-to-day practical cars being discussed by the younger generations today? Not a lot – especially, as in many parts of our overcrowded country, driving is no longer the fun it was not so many years ago.

One Chinese manufacturer which I met up with in Hangzhou 15 years ago and not long after the company had begun to produce cars was Geely. The company seems to have a good formula. The fact Geely now owns both the London Taxi Company, the makers of the new LTC TX5, and Volvo Car Corporation speaks of well-founded worldwide plans – tellingly, as evinced by Keith Adams’ recent News story, Geely invested more than £300m in a UK manufacturing base near Coventry (above) when, in marked contrast, SAIC Motor was busy demolishing the two Car Assembly Buildings at Longbridge.

Geely is showing the way

There have been no large fanfares about these acquisitions and Geely has left much of the engineering and branding in the hands of the existing management – in fact, as Tata Motors has been done with Jaguar and Land Rover, both LTC and Volvo are very much keeping their respective brand identities.

Indeed, Geely will soon be launching a new standalone global brand called Lynk & Co (below), with innovative products and an equally innovative retail strategy – one that I think will work well.

So, what should SAIC Motor do with MG now? It is still a respected worldwide brand for bespoke sporting cars. There are still strong followings in the UK, USA and Europe. What SAIC Motor should definitely not do is to destroy any further brand credibility by badging a cheaply manufactured Chinese blob as an MG. This will lose them an enormous opportunity.

How to turn it around

Instead, in my opinion, SAIC Motor should look at the success stories of brand resurrection in the past and also take a note of Jon Moulton’s plan when he put forward his attempt to acquire MG. There are several examples of brand resurrections in the Automotive Industry which stand out – think Bentley and Rolls-Royce – but three others are of particular relevance to SAIC Motor. One is Skoda, one is Porsche and one is MINI…

The VW Group could easily have let Skoda go as a brand and just used its manufacturing capacity to produce VWs. However, with a clever marketing strategy, excellent quality-engineered products and a campaign to make its retailers feel like partners, Skoda has become the strong and profitable brand that it is today.

Another notable resurrection is Porsche. How many of us remember the days in the 1970s when Porsche’s model range and quality totally lost its way? The company’s sales plummeted along with the quality of its products, but look at them now. A clear strategic plan was devised based on a new model programme and an improvement in engineering quality. Nowadays, it seems that Porsche can do no wrong and has moved into – and been very successful in – market segments which few of us would ever have thought possible two decades ago.

Let MINI show you how it’s done

The other brand resurrection is the most interesting one and, perhaps, the example which SAIC Motor needs to follow with MG – MINI is primarily brand, rather than engineering led and a great idea. Take an old model name that was remembered with affection, build a completely new model that has a resemblance to the original and organise a funky advertising campaign focusing on the brand and not the product.

The first new MINIs were not the best quality products and were a bolt on for the BMW retailers, but were fun and, like the original Mini, had a universal classless appeal and were ‘cool’. The marketing people got it completely right, the product quality improved, the retailers became profitable enough to build standalone brand centres and MINI has become the success story it is today.

There are other examples from outside the Automotive Industry as well – take, for instance, Burberry whose descent into being a ‘Chav image’ brand nearly destroyed it but, with good marketing and high quality, the label has bounced back.

…and then follow on from Skoda

Back to MG, though – to resurrect the historic marque, SAIC Motor needs to take a lead from Skoda, Porsche and MINI and certainly not – as now seems to be happening – follow the model adopted by the likes of Chevrolet, Daewoo, Daihatsu and Proton with bargain basement inferior quality products and lacklustre marketing.

Unfortunately for SAIC Motor, MG does not have the back office infrastructure which the VW Group provided to Skoda from its UK base in Milton Keynes. SAIC Motor also lacks a European factory which, if given the right investment, would be able to produce a very high quality product. That’s why the example which SAIC Motor should adopt for MG is MINI.

There are very many exciting opportunities for those brave enough to take them in what are very fast changing times for the Automotive Industry. Carbon fibre and modern exterior plastics, hi-tech management systems, polycarbonates and electric motors are just a few examples of that.

…before looking at McLaren

What is needed is a sporting car made from these materials which will compete against the Jaguars and Porsches with their upper-range models, slightly broaching the McLaren territory. One may scoff, but it could be done. Cecil Kimber did it in the 1930s and a forward-thinking company could do it now.

The unfortunate thing for MG is that SAIC Motor’s parent company, SAIC Group, is owned by and ultimately accountable to the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government and so effectively state-controlled. I doubt if there is one person on the management team in both China and the UK with either an entrepreneurial vision or a full understanding of MG’s historic place in the market places of the UK (and the former Commonwealth countries), Europe and the USA.

SAIC Motor is a huge conglomerate with no one really accountable and can, perhaps, be likened to General Motors which has no understanding of niche products and only looks at volume and badge-engineering – for evidence of that, just think about General Motors’ track record with Lotus, Saab, Saturn and now even Opel and Vauxhall.

Hard decisions to be made

I think SAIC Motor has some hard decisions to make about MG’s future: either the company finds that rare beast of an entrepreneur who can survive in a corporate environment – and there are one or two about – or cuts its losses, cancels any plans to enter the European market, withdraws from the UK and sticks to making nondescript cars for the Chinese market and other Asian countries including India.

Sadly, my view is that, given the current products and SAIC Motor’s track record with MG to date, there can be only one outcome when the financial boys in the back room say enough is enough. MG therefore seems destined to join the likes of other storied British marques such as Austin, Hillman, Jensen, Morris, Riley, Rover, Singer, Sunbeam, Triumph, Vanden Plas and Wolseley – a list which may soon even include Vauxhall – in the history books.

The only hope might be if the MG brand was bought by an entrepreneur with a vision and deep pockets who was not only able to bring out the right product but also to launch that in the right way – someone, in fact, like Geely’ s billionaire Chairman, Li Shufu.

That said, though, I and no doubt most of AROnline’s readers would love this assessment of MG’s prospects of success to be proved wrong – perhaps, then, someone in a senior management position at Longbridge can give an insight into SAIC Motor’s plans for the brand which might do just that…

[Editor’s Note: Richard Williams is still a Director of the company founded by his grandfather 106 years ago, Williams Automobiles Limited, and represented the smaller retailers on the National Franchised Dealers Association’s National Executive for many years. The company, which was highly commended in the Best Dealership category of the 2014 Automotive Management Awards, currently has franchises for three of the UK’s leading low-volume sports car manufacturers, Caterham, Lotus and Morgan.]

25 Comments

  1. An interesting read and I tend to agree with many of your sentiments about MG based on the sources you have cited.

    Porsche’s strategy for consistent recovery was actually started in the late 1980s when they decided to develop an all-new replacement for the 968 in the form of the Boxster, unveiled in 1996. That, together with a brave decision to build a sports SUV in the form of the Cayenne in about 2003, but which still offered an involving sporting drive, was a much braver move. Admittedly, it was not well received initially (not helped by its gawd awful styling and lack of a diesel option at launch). But patience, a belief in what they were doing, together with a useful facelift or two, has seen the Cayenne and the smaller Macan SUVs become the company’s best selling models, going by figures released by Porsche (GB) Ltd.

    The enthusiast movement has also embraced these models wholeheartedly, while Porsche dealers tend to offer high levels of customer service. MGs, in comparison, have always divided opinion among “enthusiasts” on whether new models are worthy of the octagon badge.

    But the most important thing is that Porsche, despite being a wholly-owned subsidiary company of Volkswagen Audi Group (VAG) since 2012, has been allowed to continue to have complete autonomy in designing, engineering and building the vehicles it knows its customers want to buy. Both Porsche and VAG know how valuable the Porsche brand is whereby neither the name nor the product portfolio is allowed to be seen as diluted in terms of substance or genuine sporting intent. The hands-off approach by VAG together with Porsche’s management having complete belief in what it does has enabled Porsche to become one of the world’s most profitable car companies, despite producing less than 350,000 cars a year.

    I hope Volvo will go the same way and major further on engineering quality and substance as models such as the 240, 740 and 940 undoubtedly did. That said, I still wish Volvo would return to the days of rear-wheel drive and enticing VHPDs such as the T5R!

    Sadly, MG has not been given the same level of autonomy when it comes to product design and brand enrichment, but instead has had to follow a strict remit pioneered by SAIC which ultimately is focusing on the needs of China and Asia rather than Europe. Buyers don’t have to look too hard to see that references to British design and heritage are actually quite superficial and they lack any real conviction when compared to the efforts of younger budget brands. Television adverts for the MG6, MG3 and GS still make me squirm in a rather uncomfortable, almost embarrassed way.

    A great shame and I take no pleasure in admitting that I genuinely saw this emerging nine years ago although I hoped it would change. I currently drive a late-build MG ZR while I also have an MG Maestro 2.0i, although the MG name itself means very little to me now.

  2. MG needs an owner WHO understands the brand, that can nurture it accordingly and, most importantly, produce a roadster that can compete with the Mazda MX5s and MR2s. The TF is too old to be resurrected, even though still a good car, plus sorry to say it’s slightly tarnished by the MG Rover debacle 12 years ago.

    If MG is to survive the quality needs to improve drastically and the cars need bigger engines with a sporty edge and mass appeal – after all, that’s what MG stood for throughout its history, otherwise there is no point. Rehashed Chinese saloons with puny engines with MG badges stuck on them just don’t convince anyone, I’m afraid.

    • Roadsters are a niche product. Even Mazda had to team up with Fiat-Chrysler to share production of the MX-5/124.

      MG are probably on the right track of a volume crossover SUV and small hatchback, the former are what are currently selling like hotcakes.

      Quality does need to improve, though – look at the likes of Kia or Hyundai and how far they’ve came in the past couple of decades!

      Bigger engines are probably no longer an option these days, even diesels are looking like a bad buy now. Hybrids are the future (at least short term), if they could develop or licence the technology.

    • Well said! SAIC haven’t got a clue as to the sporting heritage that they are letting slip away. 12 years wasted! So sad that the remaining assembly buildings are going. Err, Mr Towers are you still interested by any chance?

  3. Lots of nails hit on the head here. Nanjing did not have the resources while SAIC is too bureaucratic/mainstream and, like most Chinese manufacturers, does not need all the hassle of trying to develop vehicles to sell in Western Europe. The MG brand did not suit the Roewe-based vehicles they were based on.

    I’m somewhat shocked to hear about the CAB demolition but this has all been going on too long for further Government intervention/support to find an alternative manufacturer such as JLR to take the site over.

  4. VW with Bugatti have proven it’s never too late to resurrect an iconic brand, but lots of wind needs to be blowing in the right direction to pull it off.

  5. The MG badge, as a sporting brand, is rapidly disappearing into the history books.

    Apart from anything else, the market for sports cars is tiny now – Fiat have had to borrow a Mazda, while BMW’s next Z4 will be a JV with Toyota.

    It’s sad, but Longbridge’s future is as housing. Even if JLR wanted another factory in the Midlands, why go there when they can build a brand-new, state-of-the-art plant like the Wolverhampton engine plant?

  6. As mentioned here, it’s sad but a reality that MG cars will not be built at Longbridge again (almost unbelievable since my days as a lad when I thought they would go on for ever). I have to agree that the current crop of MG products is not as appealing as those from the likes of Hyundai and Kia etc..

    I’m just starting to see a few more MG3s locally, but supplied by our local Mitsubishi dealer!

  7. I just wish SAIC would call it a day, and flog the remaining badges they inherited from BL/BMC/Rover to someone else. What are they really gaining from MG?

    I’m more interested in what a company like Geely or TATA could do with them as SAIC may be the eighth largest car company in the world, but they have no vision at all. MG could do for JLR what MINI does for BMW; yes, have the roadsters but major on the funky hatches and mini-SUVs with an MG badge – and the right quality. I can imagine trendy, standalone MG dealerships within walking distance of elegant JLR ‘arch’ dealerships.

    Actually, JLR would be a great owner for most of the British marques which remain. Who knows? I believe SAIC once were linked to Chery and Chery are in bed with JLR in China. Maybe Chery could take on MG instead and get a bit of JLR influence in there.

  8. I really had high hopes when MG production restarted at Longbridge and was hoping that, by now, the factory would be employing several thousand people and producing popular sporting saloons as successors to the ZR and ZS.

    Instead, all we got was a tiny part of Longbridge being used to assemble cars out of a kit (even that has stopped now) and two models that barely sold and were irrelevant. No one, nowadays, unless the car offers something special, is interested in a thirsty 1.8-litre petrol turbo or a supermini with only a 1.5-litre engine on offer, when nearly all its rivals will have a variety of engines from 1.0 to 1.6-litres and a diesel option.

  9. MG heritage – surely, this means that only those of an older generation would be interested. Younger buyers would associate an MG sports car with that older generation and shun it.

    A brand new design catering to the younger buyer – needs to build a reputation so low sales still with the hope for it rising.

    And come on, it would not be an MG – that link has been severed – just two letters on a badge.

    • I would say that a lot of younger buyers wouldn’t really have an association with MG, other than maybe some of the last ZRs.

      They would be too young to remember MGBs, or even MG Metro/Maestros.

      Let us not forget, and let us all feel old, when we remember that a driver can legally pass their test today (2017) having been born in the year 2000.

      I’d say they had a fairly clean slate. If VW can revive Skoda, Renault can make Dacia popular, even “Arthur Daley” Jaguar is trendy again, MG is not a lost cause.

  10. I think more of those posting here should embrace the MG3. Seems to me a good little car, that looks good and goes well. I see lots of them here in the Midlands. Put your money where your mouth is, if you really care about Longbridge.

    I also noticed the ZS at the top of this page on test today, disguised but definitely the same front end. So that must be coming, too?

  11. The thing is, MG is not a well loved brand by anyone of the key age demographic they need to entice, my age bracket: 30-40.

    All the MG name conjures up is bright yellow garbage driven by morons into trees while probably drunk and, worst of all, childhood memories of being stranded on the hard shoulder because your parents’ car was built by a lazy feckless idiot in Birmingham who couldn’t be bothered to screw it together correctly because he was too busy planning to strike because of the cynical way management hadn’t left jammy dodgers out in the canteen, just bourbons.

    You see, MG can build the greatest car the world has ever seen but, in Britain, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to name it after something associated with British Leyland. The true British symbol of laziness, appalling quality, and entitlement. That’s what people of my age bracket – the ones with the disposable income – associate with that name. The name MG just suggests the gear stick will fall off mid down shift because some oik from Birmingham was too bone idle to do his job properly. We didnt have any experience of when Rover were well screwed together in the 90s, because our parents had already had their fingers burned in the 80s.

    Sometimes heritage is good. Sometimes the heritage is so horrifically rotten, it’s best to leave it in the past.

    • Do you know that Jaguar and Land Rover were part of British Leyland, too?

      And BL had factories in Oxford, Coventry and Solihull, among others, not just Birmingham. And ‘oiks’ there may have been, but many of the quality issues were down to poor production engineering.

      And you know the 30-40 age group wasn’t really that bothered by SEAT in the 1980s until VW Group invested in it, and look at it now.

      And, and, and…

      • Yes I do know that. However, they sold in far fewer numbers, and they didn’t suffer the shame in the early 2000s for becoming the neon-coloured mode of transport for the freshly out of jail gentleman to take 14 year olds to McDonalds like MG did. Also, those badges had, and still have prestige. MG is a cheap brand, nor has it ever been aspirational.

        And please don’t defend British Leyland. Everybody involved was thoroughly incompetent, from management to the ground floor. It is one of the most embarrassing and shameful chapters in British history, if not the most. Everybody involved should be thoroughly ashamed of the part they played in destroying our car industry.

        • Read much of the site, have you?

          To say, ‘Everybody involved was thoroughly incompetent, from management to the ground floor,’ about BL is a sweeping statement, and frankly insulting to a lot of people you know nothing of.

          Also, ‘It is one of the most embarrassing and shameful chapters in British history, if not the most.’ Take a breath and think about that.

          Colonial misrule, the slave trade, perhaps our bombing of Dresden would be far closer to qualifying for that accolade. Seriously, we try and maintain a realistic approach to the history of the British motor industry (we’ve won awards for it, in fact) – and, with that in mind, it’s always good to really know your subject before making generalisations like that.

          • I’ve read pretty much every article on this site, it’s a fantastic website. Pretty much all of the articles tell a story of outstanding incompetence, barring the designers who had their great ideas ruined by bean counters and shoddy assembly.

            And as for my comments about its place in history, as shameful and horrific as things like colonial rule and slavery were, it’s unfortunate to say, but we were outstandingly good at those things. British Leyland is in some ways more embarrassing than those things because we were so outstandingly bad at everything we did. It is easily the most incompetent period of British history. We have never done anything as badly as we did than build cars during British Leyland time. It is a shameful time that made the rest of the world laugh at us.

  12. That BL was ultimately a failure is not in doubt, but although BL has become shorthand for laziness and incompetence, that is just lazy and incompetent stereotyping.

    The reason for the failure is open to debate – personally, I put the final failure down to a Blair Government that followed the Thatcherite agenda that industry was disposable and all that really mattered was the city. I strongly suspect that the Japanese start up companies received more “financial incentives,” (that’s aid to you and me) than BL during the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s.

    In spite of everything, the company managed to make cars that people care about, and that’s a kind of success even in failure.

    Like most people on here, I really wanted SAIC to succeed with MG and, in a sense, they have; they just haven’t succeeded with MG in the UK, Europe or the US. It is what it is, an adornment for Chinese cars in China.

  13. Can we please, please, please stop this obsession that some have on this site with MG building a small, cheap roadster as a solution to the issue that is new MG? The market for such cars now is so small that many car-makers ignore it and those that do, basically enter into joint ventures – think FIAT and Mazda and the upcoming BMW/Toyota for the next Z4 replacement.

    Yes, there is a market for more premium roadsters – such as the F-Type or the Boxster. But the unfortunate fact is that the market for small, affordable roadsters is on life-support, if not already dead. It would cost many millions to design, engineer and build such a car and the potential sales returns would never meet those costs. Such a car would never be the solution to MG’s ills in the UK market. At best, it’s a niche market. Yes, it may sell a few hundred here in the UK, but that’s not going to fix the problem.

    Sad though it is, I feel MG may have had its day now and it may be time to retire the badge to join Talbot, Rover, Austin, SAAB and Morris in that big car park in the sky. The basic problem is that SAIC never understood the UK market. The market is now moving to premium brands and MG is very much the ‘wrong badge’. It entered the market with the wrong car, not enough dealers and it never recovered from this. It’s advertising was also shocking – when you see what Audi, VW and BMW put out, that MG GS ad just makes you cringe. I really thought it had a chance with the MG3. Here was a decent car, stylish and with a range of personalisation options. It even had an ok-advertising campaign – but the lack of dealers killed it stone dead.

    The new MG ZS looks an okay car – but maybe what it needs is a new badge. Think what Citroën did with DS. Push it upmarket – the UK market is now an aspirational market. Get the quality sorted. Fix the dealers. But, sadly, I think it’s time to let MG die in the UK.

    • I agree, the market for British small roadsters died with the end of MG roadsters and the Triumph Spitfire. Such cars were expensive to produce, were elderly and not particularly fast, and sales were falling. No manufacturer, unless they are producing supercars with 180 mph performance, would take the risk of introducing an MGB-sized roadster as sales would be too low.

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