MG may reboot but oddly, CEO wants to distance carmaker from ‘affordable sports cars’

MG icon

We were just commiserating with the engineering brass at Jaguar two weeks ago in Spain over the death of the English car industry, Jag and Land Rover – and MINI, sort of – being the holdouts from the once great British car empire.

We spoke of MG, saying how we wish something would come of it, perhaps a nice little sports car.

Imagine our surprise this morning when we read that the now Chinese-owned MG plans a reboot in 2017 but with a Nissan Juke rival similar to the MG Icon (pictured above) concept from last year.

Speaking with Autocar, MG UK’s head of sales and marketing, Guy Jones, said of a new MG sports car, “It would have guaranteed headlines, but it would have served to confirm MG’s reputation as a maker of small, niche, affordable sports cars and that’s not where the brand is heading.”

To us, this is absolute lunacy. If Toyota has demonstrated anything with its GT 86 and Scion FR-S, it’s that the global market is hungry for affordable sports cars. We figure the market is already awash with really good compact CUVs from world-class automakers with name recognition. Why a small British brand owned by the Chinese that officially closed its door some eight years ago thinks a smart restart would involve a CUV and not a roadster is beyond us.

This new Juke fighter will apparently pick up where the original MGB left off. Furthering his point, Jones said, “The world has moved on, and a small but fun and stylish SUV would meet the criteria set by the MGB for bringing something to market in a modern British style, that is fun to own and drive and affordable for a wide range of people.”

Clearly, Jones has never heard of the MINI Countryman – or any other MINI product for that matter.

What’s most astonishing is that not only has Jones kept his job in the last several production-less years, he’s also defying the wishes of the Chinese investors who are apparently keen to see an MG sports car debut.

While the motoring world has a surplus of great compact CUVs, it’s facing a deficit of cheap, rear-wheel drive sports cars. Should MG step in to help fill that void, it could make a great name for itself.

All the excitement we felt surrounding the return of MG has been quickly dashed. We wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves writing its final obituary by the end of the decade.

Do you think MG is making a misstep by launching a CUV instead of a sports car? Tell us in the comments.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: