News : Rover 100 to make a return as the MG1

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

‘Booming’ MG Motor UK is planning to re-launch the Rover 100, re-badged and suitably overhauled to meet the needs of the 21st century sub-B sector before the end of 2012. The car, which originally went out of production in 1997, following disastrous Euro NCAP testing, and as a result of dwindling sales, is to make a surprise return at the Beijing Motor Show at the end of April. It is primarily aimed at developing markets, but will go on sale in Europe before the end of 2012.

It’s been one of the world’s worst kept industry secrets that tooling for the Rover 100 was retained in the Midlands by Rover – then MG Rover – and this was passed onto Nanjing, before settling with the current owners of MG, Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation. Engineers at Longbridge have been busy during the past six months re-installing the famed Metro/100 tooling at the Assembly Buildings within Longbridge. MG3-based ‘mules’ have been seen pounding the country running a combination of K-Series running gear and a development of Hydragas suspension, which now uses a combination of Citroen and Ssangyong components – engineered with the full approval of Moulton Engineering.

Aside from its computer-controlled fluid suspension, the technical make-up of the MG1 is straightforward. The TCI-Tech engine has been reduced in capacity to 1.4-litres, and is now joined by a new three-cylinder version (harking back to the days of the ECV3 prototype). Thanks to the sturdiness of the original body – including hefty sill sections – surprisingly little additional strengthening has been needed in order to beef up the design and give it an expected MG-friendly four-star Euro NCAP rating, with the most work being concentrated on the A-posts and bulkhead. We know little about the interior as yet, although one engineer has hinted that MG1 will feature full iPod integration (including navigation, audio, remote start and unlocking) and a centrally mounted speedometer.

The Chinese are keen to launch an entry-level MG, which can be sold in developing and struggling markets beneath the MG3. The MG3 will then be pushed as a premium sporting hatch, to go head-to-head with the Audi A1. The Longbridge-built car will be initially sold the UK and Ireland, but Eastern Europe, then India will follow within months. Plans to call the new car the MG Metro in its home market were scuppered when it became clear that MINI would be making active use of the name in the coming months.

Expect a starting price for the three-cylinder model to be around Β£5000…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

30 Comments

  1. My understanding is that there will also be a saloon version based on Hindustan Ambassador underpinnings…..

  2. A good joke always needs an element of truth….. How long did they keep the Metro alive for again? lol πŸ˜‰

  3. Woohoo! The Hydragas system makes it’s bouncy castle return. This could be so much fun for so little money – count me in.

    P.S. Mr M.G Could you please hurry up and and come to Aussie so I can buy one πŸ™‚

  4. Does anyone remember the old BMW April Fool ads? One year they offered free cans of replacement tyre air. Curious to to see what they’d do, I filled in the form and sent it off. Sure enough, a nicely-produced empty aluminium ring-top can arrived in the post, printed up with official BMW logo and part number. Regret I left it in some office or other, it would be a collector’s item now

  5. The only part of this post that is a april fools joke is the Β£5000 price, they will be charging Β£13000 for entry models and aiming at the Audi A1.

  6. Love to see the look on everybody’s faces if MG actually does this… Maybe it’s a double-bluff.

    Certainly had me fooled.

  7. “a development of Hydragas suspension, which now uses a combination of Citroen and Ssangyong components ”

    Brilliant!

  8. Had me completely fooled. Having had a Rover 100 as a courtesy car, I recall having to step over Landcrabesque sills to enter it, catching site of the Ford Capriesque A-pillars in the process.

    I should have realised that the front of the car would fail miserably in an NCAP test even if the A-pillars were beefed up!

  9. Along similar lines – I always thought it would have been a good poke in the eye for BMW if the first thing Rover did after splitting was to do an MGR V8 style reworking of the Metro!? Using it’s modern underpinnings and a – wait for it – Morris Minor body! in conjunction with Charles Ware in Bath! πŸ™‚

  10. It would actually go down well in developing markets, up against the likes of the Tata Nano, and the rehashes of the 206.

    Loving the suspension, we need more fluid suspension. Even Citroen are abandoning it.

  11. I’ve read this article a few times since I first saw it about 6 months ago.
    Did not notice date on it! Am now very disappointed having been a very pleased owner of 3 Austin Metros. Was hoping to see MG1 soon. Perhaps photoed on Porthemmett Beach in Cornwall.

    But was article really a leg-pull? If there is MG3 and an MG6 then why not a MG1?

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