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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Following the initial “Cheapening the MG name” post…

All of this remember me the subject I launched a month ago or so in the "MG Car Company" forum. If you remember it was entitled "MG Management is wrong, fun not fast cars".

I won't come back again on all this subject but despite all the interesting arguments I read, I’m still convinced that they are wrong with the Z cars. Well that's my opinion and I sincerely hope to be wrong.

The issue is not about MG taking other Rover cars and improving them. It has be done many times in the MG history and was often successful.

I think the real issue is the choice of making these MG looking like some Subaru WRX.
As somebody already mentioned, many peoples are disappointed when discovering these new MG. I’ve also noticed that :

For instance, last week, at the city library, I’ve made a full screen on a computer of a MGZ. The guy next to me saw the picture and seemed enthusiast, interested and he asked me if it was a new Subaru !!!
I told him it was an MG. Surprisingly he knew the brand and he first believed I may be wrong. Then he said how disappointed he was MG to produce such a car. It didn’t match the expextations he had of MG and then seemed less enthusiast about the car and didn’t even ask about its specs.

It was very interesting to see this behaviour. The first feeling you have about a Z car is disappointment as you don’t expect MG to build cars with such poor styling compared to what peoples remember about MG (ie MG A, B, F). And you know how much the firsts feelings are important for a customer. The seller will try to balance that by talking about performance (like you do in the forum). But most of peoples looking for performance cars won’t look at MG at the first place, especially in countries outside Great Britain.

One Renault top manager recently said that building an image was the most difficult and expensive thing for a car maker. MG has already an image. If they damage it with the Z cars, they may have troubles to sell the forecasted high-end cars.

I think it would have been better to modify the Rover cars into fun convertible cars, with some extra horse power but not much in order to keep the car “affordable” for young and dynamic customers. It would have been more appropriate for MG to develop this “Californian way” instead of this “Heavy Metal way”.


My wife has a picture of the ZT next to her desk at work.

The average reaction is completely different to what you are reporting Arnaud. Everyone who has seen it loves it, some, but not all, of those people are previous or current owners of MGs.

So, in an office of 35 people, 10 are previous or current MG owners, 30 love the looks of the cars, half of those would consider a ZT and test drive it when they next need a new car if they were available over here.

Not one of those people has said that MG should not produce a car like that, the ones that have owned MGs before have had MGBs, midgets, Magnettes and MG1100s.

People know the history of MGs, they don't expect nothing but sports cars, they will expect "character" but from all I have seen on these boards recently they are going to get plenty of that!

Ruining the image? I don't think so, 30 out of 35 people who saw the picture were impressed!

The Wiz
The Wiz

Arnaud, I do not often make personal pleas - but PLEASE stop whingeing about MG. If you don't like it, don't buy it. But don't try to tell me and other English people what we should and shouldn't like and build and sell in our own country. This smacks of the typical interefering attitude from mainland Europe that we object to so strongly. And don't hide behind 'English is not my mother language' because your English is excellent and perfectly good enough to say what you want, the way you want. MG cannot be the manufacturer they were 20 pr 40 years ago - they have to build cars for today and that is what they are doing. Step 1 is survival by making the best of the models they have. Step 2 will be to introduce new models that are in the niche MG will carve for themselves.

This argument has gone on for years and no doubt will continue for years - if MG still exists then!

AND MGR will only exist if it can make a profit in the not too distant future (or at least not a 'thumping great loss') and the best way for them to get to this position is by making the most of what they have NOW i.e. The 25,45,75 and MGF and that is what they are doing - time will tell as to its success but meanwhile I wish them luck.

But we must also remember that everyone is entitled to his/her opinion and has the right to express it even though we may disagree with that opinion!


PS Remember MG the Friendly Marque - now watch some pedant tell me I have the quote wrong:-)
Ted Newman

David I think you are being unreasonably hard on Arnaud.
>. But don't try to tell me and other English people what we should and shouldn't like and build and sell in our own country<

1. You seem to forget that MG is also sold elsewhere, France for instance.

2. To be pedantic, do the Scots, Welsh and Irish not buy MG's?

3. He has every right to voice his opinion on this Board - that is what it is here for.

4. Why accuse him of hiding behind poor English? He certainly did not refer to it in this posting.

5. When I look at my MGB GT side on, with it metalic BRG, chrome wire wheels and cream leather upholstery, I think maybe Arnaud could be right.

On the other hand I have to agree with your assertion that MGR must start from where it is and then progress. Pity really.

Michael Williams

Arnaud, we have had an interesting discussion about on this topic, and you raised an interesting point. And here you have done the same again- the preception of MG in continental europe.

Obviously I can't say that you are wrong.

The good point already made is that MG-R is fighting to survive- we are not talking about a company the size of Peugeot or Renault here. They need to make the optimal use of the material to hand- and frankly, I think that this has been an overwhelming success.

One thing I would add- the full sporting pretentions of the brand have yet to be made- when the Rally and BTCC racing programmes start in earnst next year, we shall see the slotting into place of an important aspect of what MG is about. Sports cars. Be they two seater rag tops like the MGF, or tin-top four seaters, they will ALL be percieved as sports cars.

It did BMW no harm. And I suspect that it'll do MG-R no end of good if they start winning races.

And we'd all like to see an MG do well at Le Mans wouldn't we? But that car is completely unlike any MG we've seen before is it not?

It is an unfolding story- let us see how it develops...
Rob Bell

Well said, Michael.
IMO, there are 2 kinds of future MG potential customers : those who are already MG fans (and who would even buy Montegos and Maestros because there's the MG badge on them, and no other reason), and people who know (or don't know yet) MG by its image.
It seems hard to admit by some people that the strong MG image has been created by the great range of "60's little roadsters" (esp. MGB but also TC, TD, TF, MGA,... that aren't from the 60's) AND NOT buy the legendary MG Maestro's, Metro's and Montego's.
Today, in 2001, tell me for what reason one would buy one of these MMM's (except cheap price) ??
because they're appealing, they're classics ? well to a few MG fans (who often have also an MGB, ...)
They seam much less appealing to them when the same cars are Austin or Rovers ...

I know the story of how Morris Garage debuted ... "tarted up" little cars. But that's not the reason why MG has the image it has now worldwide.

What's wrong IMO with MGR's reasonning is that they want to benefit from the "sporty" MG image (LOW VOLUME) to sell more standard cars of a VOLUME manufacturer.
I have nothing against saloons. The MG image would benefit from a V8 ZT ultimate (exclusive, M3 competitor, ...) but not from a diesel ZR.

Selling cars isn't only engineering. It's also marketing.
Just make an opinion poll and ask 2000 people what they think about when you say "MG", just in a few words...

Would Fiat call "Ferrari" the most powerful cars from the Fiat & Lancia range ? never
10 years ago, they put a Ferrari engine in the 8.32 Thema, but nobody considers it like a true Ferrari !

I really can undestand "extremists" for who the F isn't a proper MG because in their mind, a proper MG has to be at least 25-30 years old. (the word "extremist" isn't used in a bad sense here).
But the F is quite close to the MG image in the general opinion (see motoring press, etc).
So would certainly be the X80. (athough it's only a QVALE-Mustang)

long, long, non ending debate ...

I hope I haven't upset anyone because I'm not judging MMM fans, and I hope too that there will be for a long time people putting T16 engine in Maestros, just to overtake incredulous BMW drivers :))


I hope too that there will be for a long time people putting T16 engine in Maestros, just to overtake incredulous BMW drivers :))

M16 maestros have the same effect :) purrrr
cheshire cat

Don't forget the T16 Montegos......
even bigger purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr :-)

>> It seems hard to admit by some people that the strong MG image has been created by the great range of "60's little roadsters" (esp. MGB but also TC, TD, TF, MGA,... that aren't from the 60's) AND NOT buy the legendary MG Maestro's, Metro's and Montego's.<<

That isn't an uncommon perception Fabrice I agree, but do bear in mind though at the same time the T-types and the MGA were sold, MG saloons were also manufactured and sold along side them, and sold in reasonable volumes.

We remember the roadsters and forget the saloons. So it seems that so long as MG manufactures and sells a two-seater sportscar, the saloons are acceptable. Where the saloons were built without the support of a roadster, they were shunned. That seems to be the teaching of history.
Rob Bell

I hope you're right, Rob.
But I'm sure the 375 bhp ZT ultimate won't be forgotten in 30 years !
it will be a classic like the Lotus Omega.

LOL! Anything with 375 bhp is not something to forget in a hurry!!! :o)
Rob Bell

Yeah, as I'm sure the M5 owners whom it blows away won't forget it either. Better performance & £20,000 cheaper :D

Steve Childs

...And ANOTHER thing Arnaud - How can you DARE to go on about a British Marque being cheapened when Renault are running an ad with a Clio zooming around the place with a pink flashing light on top looking for Va Va Voooom ??!!! That's beyond cheap - plain tacky !!!(Meant as a light-hearted dig in the best Posssible taste.He he)....

Kieren Gibson

>David, “PLEASE stop whingeing about MG” : it is only my second thread about that. My first one mainly dealt with the Fun vs. Fast styling and was posted when the Z were not released. This one is more about what potential customers feel about these new MGs (now they can see real pictures of the cars) and the impact on the MG image.
I like MG as much as you do but as we say (you probably say the same) : “your best friend is not the one who always say you are right”.
“Step 1 is survival by making the best of the models they have. Step 2 will be to introduce new models that are in the niche MG will carve for themselves.” : If you carefully read my post, you will see I’m 100% agree with that. But there are different ways to make the best model from what you have and they probably chose a way that is not appropriate to the image average peoples have of MG.
“This smacks of the typical interfering attitude from mainland Europe “ : ok, now I understand why the F is not successful outside Great Britain.
For the other things, well, I like to believe you were just in bad mood…

The Wiz, « in an office of 35 people, 10 are previous or current MG owners” : that’s the problem, it is not representative of the average potential customer.
“30 out of 35 people who saw the picture were impressed” : MG Z are impressive, I agree, because they are different from standard cars. But if we compare to its competitors( Subaru, Honda, BMW, …) they do not make any significant difference. If you studied business, you know that for a newcomer to succeed, he has at the beginning to propose something different from the already established products.

Rob : “what MG is about: Sports cars” . You know in France there is a difference between “une voiture de sport” ( a sports car) and “une voiture sportive” ( a car with sporting ability). The “voiture de sport” is entirely devoted to sport (Elise). The sport aspect of the ‘voiture sportive” is only one aspect of the car. The F, and I would say most of the MG average peoples remember, were “voiture sportive”. So the average customer planning to buy an MG will expect more than just the sport aspect and will unfortunately be disappointed. MGR could have easily decided not to only focus on the sport aspect but they didn’t.

Kieren, Renault is a general car maker. Customers like or do not like some Renault cars. But customers like or not MG the same way you like or not the style of an artist. See the difference ? When a known artist change his style, he loses a lot of his supporters and never get enough new ones to balance the losses because of his past reputation.

I’m sorry for being a bit pessimistic (not my nature usually) but I think most of you are a little bit too much enthusiast (should I let you in your dreams ?). Peoples outside Great Britain are certainly expecting more about MG than the Brits themselves.


>>>>>But I'm sure the 375 bhp ZT ultimate won't be forgotten in 30 years ! it will be a classic like the Lotus Omega>>>>

...or a Metro 6R4 to drag up an undisputed 1980's classic.

There are so many variances of what MG stands for and where it was, is and should be. However it's all rather irrelevant. There is one point that hasn't been made properly and this concerns the penetration of MG into public perception.

It is clear that as a marque MG is probably once of the best known anywhere in the world and as such will encompass many millions of people. Many will share views already expressed and in addition have their own views that vary again.

The stated MGR policy for the Z range is for a 50,000 production figure per annum with model changes starting to appear from about 2003. Clearly whilst the company hype for the new ranges pushes them to the hilt it would not be the chosen start point had there been any other control of circumstance. That this is the start point has to be accepted and to move as quickly as possible to a more comfortable poition takes time and investment.

The timetable shows that the expected sales levels is really quite small and so with the massive public awareness of the marque it follows that very few people from this group actually have to make a purchase to see those sales figures achieved.

The other thing clear is that sales of these cars provides a bridge to models developed by the new company and not inherrited product. Without this bridge the probably alternative is an empty discussion about historical models. Even when the bridge has been crossed the company will still be a small fish in a very big pond and so again number of sales will be a very small splash in this pond.

Wherever you sit there is one clear and undiputable fact and that is that MG, owned by such a small car company, makes one of the biggest splashes in this automotive pond, way beyond it's comparitive size in sales terms.

Roger Parker

Roger, "It is clear that as a marque MG is probably once of the best known anywhere in the world "

I afraid you are wrong on that point. From my everyday experience with my F i can tell you that only a few peoples know the brand in France, and most of them are at least around 50 years old. They remember the MG A & B.
Last year, only around 450 F were sold in France (less than Porsche !). It is not because the french don't like the car but because they don't know it exists or don't trust a brand they never heard about.
And i'm sure this does not apply to France only.


There is considerably more to the world than France.

In the USA - a potentially huge market - MG is very well known, and not just as a sports car manufacturer, many, many people here remeber their Magnettes and MG 1100/1300s with great pleasure and would like a modern MG saloon.

The Wiz

The Wiz

The Wiz has a point, although I'd like to articulate it somewhat differently-

A few small markets only ever saw the MGA and B, IE the more 'sporty' of the MG range. Larger/more UK-friendly markets, like the USA, the UK, and the antipodes, recieved the whole range of MG products- including the Magnette, 1100/1300, MMM-cars.

Therefore my view of what a 'real' MG is is somewhat different to what, say, Arnaud's view of a 'real' MG.

As far as I'm concerned, the typical MG shares a body with some other mass-produced car, the differences being in detail, suspension, and engine output. The only MG's which arent rebadged/reengineered cars are the MGA, MGB, MGF and derivatives. (Midgets are rebadged Sprites, dont forget ;-))

And, bearing that in mind, it seems MG-R are being 100% true to their traditons- the bulk of sales will be taken by the ZR,ZS,ZT, whereas the uniquely-bodied MG's will be the MGF and X80.

Nothing has changed.

just my 2c


>only a few peoples know the brand in France,<

Without being unkind I, think you have to accept that France is not representative of world attitude and opinion. In many ways it is considerably more insular than the UK. In fact, it has always amazed me that the French actually voted to go into that ill judged farce, the euro. It seems to be completely out of character. Of course, none of my French friends will ever admit to voting for it.

From my experience, the English speaking World, and that is a very big chunk, know of MG. But I would agree that it is the A’s and B’s they know. Show them a picture of a Magnette and they probably wouldn’t recognise it as MG. The ‘F’ is making an impact where it is sold and will be remembered. As to the saloons, I don’t know, maybe. Perhaps not this generation of sports saloons but maybe the next. However, I think it will always be the two seater rag top that will be the genuine ‘MG’ in the eyes of the world.

If the English speaking World remember the MG brand kindly there is a massive market for MGR to develop. It is the 50+ year olds who get nostalic about the fantastic Midget or 'B' they owned, but I am always surprised by the number of teenagers who come up to the 'B' and say !nice car mister" If the love of the car (brand) is jumping generations the future for the product is assured providing MGR don't bugger it.

Michael Williams

>>but I am always surprised by the number of teenagers who come up to the 'B' and say !nice car mister" <<

That is very true- and of any 60s Brit 2 seater. Usually they attract more positive comment than say a Porsche...
Rob Bell

I think I mentioned this to Rob at the w/end, it suprises me the number of comments I get about the car, or the number of heads it turns. Sure, its a nice car, but the 'F has been out for 6 years now, I wouldn't have thought it would still be turning heads and generating comments.

Not that I mind at all, I just wish I would get some comments from women from time to time ;) - lol

Steve Childs

The situation in Holland is not that much different from France. I believe that the MG marque is here not so well known either.

Also i have to make compliments to the MGR group looking at the very positive reactions from the press.
They did a very good job because one of the main problems they face is the high exchange rate of the pound which makes the costprice of the car higher. This because they have to pay for the labour in pounds. It also makes exporting cars outside the UK difficult and inside the UK they also have to compete with "cheap" cars manufactured in countrys with a "cheaper" currency. This could be a very valid reason for MGR to go from the family type Rovers to the "niche " market MG's. For niche market cars the salesprice they can ask may be a little higher and in this way they can compensate the relatively high produktion costs.
It is interesting to see what will happen in the future. Will it be possible to design a complete new serie of fast family cars or will they go for the ultimate niche market with high performance sports cars?
Time will tell and untill that, i am happy they are still around although my interest is mainly in classic MG's.



how could you write a so sensible post in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs and a so prejudiced sentence in the 1st ??

Totally agree about your opinion on the MG image.

but about Euro, do you really think that Brits (I mean Joe Public) will benefit from keeping the GBP ??
I know, there's the City. This is THE place in Europe where very big money is dealt. But apart from that, I don't think the standard of living is so high in UK.
Have a look at
Most of the Euroland countries are above UK.

I really don't think someone who is pro-euro is showing stupidity.
But I will be annoyed in January :)) I will have to change my references.
The BEF was the perfect unit : no decimals in prices, just entire numbers. And 1 BEF still means something, there aren't a batch of zeros behind like in Italy.


PS : IMO, your description of the preception of MG doesn't just apply to the English speaking world. It could also apply to Belgium, for instance.
50+ years old people that remember their youth (even if they didn't own an MG).
They remember the "little English roadster" ("les petites anglaises"). And I don't know why the MG marque is stronger than Triumph or Austin-Healey ...
And then, car enthusiasts of any age that know much more than that (they know also about Italian cars, extravagant cars of the 20's and 30's, ...)
For example, one of my friends (aged 27) bought 2 month ago a '72 B roadster. (and he also drives a BMW ;-)))

PS2 : Roger, sorry, I forgot the 6R4. Great car ! but I don't remember it as an MG... Don't know why ... because exactly speaking, it is one. It has the badge.

>they face is the high exchange rate of the pound which makes the costprice of the car higher.<

Isn't it about time Europe helped us out by sorting out their economy, so that the euro could appreciate against the pound, and stop putting a burden on our manufacturing industry?

What classic MG do you have?

Michael Williams

Boy, it's no wonder that the English hate the French so much!


If a currency is high then this doesn't automatically mean that "Joe Public" has a high standard of living because he has to pay his daily needs and services in this high currency. They will only face it when they go abroad or import/export things.
On the mainland we see people worrying about the low EURO. But actually the mainland "Joe Public" on the short term only faces this when he buys things from outside the EURO zone like petrol or goes on holiday outside the EURO zone and in case of import/export.


I have an mgb roadster but with a ROVER V8 in it.
It is the ultimate classic car for me: good looking, fast, relatively cheap and parts are easy to get.

>They will only face it when they go abroad or import/export things.<

How right you are. I am off to France again in September on a wine buying trip to Alsace. With the exchange rate, we do very nicely thank you!

Like the sound of your car. I have just spent 9k on my B GT and although I love my 'F' the 'B' has got to be one of the prettiest car built, alongside the XK150.


How long are you chaps going to continue to defend your disastrous currency? When we last discussed the euro on this Board I seem to remember you telling us that the euro was low because of the strength of the US Economy – do you have a new excuse?

As much as I would dearly love to exchange thoughts on ‘the European Disaster’ with you,I should point out that in context I was expressing my surprise to Arnoud that the insular French should choose to be part a wider European Economy. If that is "prejudice" I stand guilty as charged mi lord.

Finally, swop our pound for your euro - you have got to be kidding.


Michael Williams

Sorry i'm back ;)

Did I say France was the centre of the world ? > no. So please stop to interpret things I say because I’m French. I used the French example to illustrate that MG may be not as known as Roger may believe. I have some Spanish and Italian friends and they also never heard about MG (I don’t say they represent all the Spanish or Italian peoples but still…).
I would be surprised if MGR is planning to sell the MG cars in English speaking countries only.

Growler, “Therefore my view of what a 'real' MG is somewhat different to what, say, Arnaud's view of a 'real' MG.”. There are so many views (and that’s ok with me) but the most popular is the original roadster view like Michael said. MGR is planning to sell these MG as a mass product so therefore the most popular view counts a lot more than the ones from some MG enthusiasts (even if the most popular view, including mine, is wrong).

Michael, Rob, in France also most of the MG drivers are under 30 (Fers mainly) or over 50 (Bers mainly). It is not a surprise. What may be interesting with the Z cars is they can target the 30-50 segment. But if you have young children would your wife let you choose a fast and powerful Z car instead of a very safe car in which you don’t feel the need to accelerate hard ? I’m not sure

- not MG content -
Michael,“In many ways it (France) is considerably more insular than the UK. In fact, it has always amazed me that the French actually voted to go into that ill judged farce, the euro.”
Funny the way English peoples see France. Perhaps as wrong as the way French peoples see Great Britain.
Only half the French voted for the Euro and if you ask them now, less than half would vote for it again.
Government made peoples believe it would solve the unemployment problem.
One main idea of European Community is to balance the US power. I’m not big fan of the EC as it is today but at least we can oppose something to the US unlike Great Britain which just has to obey to Uncle Sam. A pity if you remember how well the British resisted to the Germans for finally being sold to the Americans (at least that’s the way most see Great Britain in Continental Europe).

Long live to MG!

PS: Fabrice, ah « les petites anglaises »… :)

BTW Fabrice, the Wiz isn't English. It amazes me over here that the Dutch/Germans etc. think we're all bloody english from Britain.

>>PS: Fabrice, ah « les petites anglaises »… :)<<

Remember that next time you're being invaded :o)

-no MG content-

If Euro is weak, it is mainly due to the fact that investors are not confident in the Central European Bank. Dusenberg choices about the interest rates are highly criticized.

The problem is that the European Comunity is still far from being an homogeneous economy. While some countries are facing deep recessions (or slower expansions), others are not. So it is more difficult for the investors to anticipate the CEB move (unlike the US FED bank) and it mainly explains the Euro weakness.

Ignore the Xenophobic mutterings & insults. Sadly, this country has a lot of uneducated small minded idiots.
Nick Donovan

>we can oppose something to the US<

How exactly is the EU opposing the US? The EU decided to have its own currency that would lead to the most powerful economy in the world. What happens? The currency looses 25% of its value and when the US economy sneezes Europe is in bed with the flue.

>. So it is more difficult for the investors to anticipate the CEB move (unlike the US FED bank) and it mainly explains the Euro weakness<

Until euro Europeans begin to understand economics nothing will actually change. The euro is weak because the money markets have problems with your, protectionism, taxation, labour costs, lack of free movement of labour, lack of free world trade and the inherent weakness of a currency that has its model in politics and not economics. In saying all that, I am ignoring the lack of real economic convergence and the insane notion that one interest rate will meet the needs of widely divergent economies.

Yes, it will again take >« les petites anglaises< and the Danes and Swedes to show Europe the error it its ways.

Michael Williams

Just picked up this thread.

We had the pro/anti euro debate a while ago indeed and the protagonists are the sames, their views have not change so this discussion will lead nowhere... Can we agree to disagree?

But this was said: "If the English speaking World remember the MG brand kindly there is a massive market for MGR to develop".

But can MGR ignore a market just next to their home country on account of the past of the brand and the funny little idea of some people of a "special relationship" and a defunct Empire?

It does not matter if MG is not recognised in France or Belgium or Germany. They have the opportunity to make it known NOW by having a worthwhile product range. Some might say that the ignorance of the previous MG brand (i.e. sport 2 seater) will only mean that there is no complains about MG not standing for what it used to be!

The current exchange rates show Mike is right with saying the investors don't have faith in the EURO but time will tell if the introduction of the EURO was a good move. We sure need to wait a while!!
As Ronan points out, we were sliding away from the original subject (this also clearly shows that an united Europe is still way ahead of us).

My opinion is that MGR cannot ignore the big market in mainland Europe, especially not with their current Z models. I see these as "high volume" produkts
I will keep you posted about MGR campains in Holland to sell their new Z-range. I haven't seen any promotion on TV yet from their side and i remain curious if they can solve their relatively high costpriceproblem due to the strong UKP.

Peter, I never said that a high currency = high standard of living. I just mentionned the revenue per capita in different countries... and that doesn't mean always something (see Luxemburg with its high rate of foreign workers).
V8 roadster, great taste :) later, maybe ...

Michael, all what you said is right. Protectionnism, taxation, etc.
Isn't that something to oppose to the US ? ;)))
Seriously !
it's not that Europeans don't understand economics, but their politics isn't just economics. I'm not a fan of "everybody on social security", but there are gradations between opposite radical models. I could say that I'll probably never be unemployed. I am nearly never sick. Would I say "junk the social security" ?

And, after all, I don't suffer personally from the Euro beeing low.
Of course it's pleasing beeing abroad and seeing everything's cheap, I was in the US when the Dollar was very low, I spent a fortune on "great deals" ;)
But that's not everydays life.

Yes, the euro economies are divergent. The challenge is to make them less divergent...
What about UK ? Isn't there any divergence between the S-E and the rest of the country ? As in every country, if you ask me.

And above all, I'm not an expert. I've not studied thoroughly the subject and the master degree I have isn't in economics. You seem to better know some issues ... Discussing is learning ;) thanks !


Just make an opinion poll and ask 2000 people what they think about when you say "MG", just in a few words...

That's easy - "sheer unadulterated pleasure!"
cheshire cat

there has been some changes in Belgium.
I saw 1 or 2 month ago an ad for the MGF 1.6 !! Before that, I think I had never seen MG ads for years in Belgium.
Just hope they will persevere, make revenues and build a strong and sporty image.
And with the revenues, MGR could develop a Boxster killer from the MGF ;))

Fabrice, they are - It's called the X70 ;)

Steve Childs

Ronan, I wonder if MG R has the finance to make the MG brand known in Continental Europe. It would cost a lot in marketing and won’t sell enough cars at the beginning to balance the accounts. Is it the success (I hope) of the Z cars in Great Britain (and USA???) that will finance the development of the brand elsewhere ? that would explain why it seems MGR has not clearly decided yet to export the Z in continental Europe (they didn’t yet ? did they ?)

Like Peter, I will keep you posted about MGR campaigns in France to sell their new Z-range. For the moment there is nothing (even my car dealer was not aware about the Z…I wonder if he knows he’s not part of BMW anymore… I exaggerate !).
During May and June there was an advertising campaign in France about the F (1.8i and VVC). Like Fabrice, the first one in years…
The French MG website ( BTW looks more like a personal homepage : click on the F ) has not been updated since years (except a few words and pictures about the Steptronic and the pricing). The 1.6 and the Trophy are not available yet.

Chesire Chat, I’ve just asked a friend what he thinks when I say “MG”, just in a few words. He responded “Arnaud’s funny car” ;)

- not MG content -
A recent example is EC stopping the Honeywell/GE deal. No isolated country could have done that.
Anyway, Ronan is right : This will lead nowhere. We will never agree but we are all right : The thing is that our economic equations have different variables with different weights. We are all able to solve these equations but obviously we will always get different results.
British/US equations are more influenced by the Adam Smith theory (“invisible hand”) in which if you let economy on its own, the society will go optimum.
I also agree with what Fabrice said.

Sorry, one more thing :
On the French official MG webpage( click on the F ), you can notice that on the main page, they emphasize the MG historic roadsters only.

>>>>>>MGR has not clearly decided yet to export the Z in continental Europe (they didn’t yet ? did they ?)

Don't know about that but the ZT I saw at MG2001 in the States was left hand drive with Kilometres on the speedometer.

Maybe that says something?

The Wiz
The Wiz

I'm 99% sure the Z cars will be exported on the continent. (maybe not every models ?)
Why ?
because they already have the dealer network.
They know how to service the cars ... hum, they are supposed to know ;o)
Producing LHD Z's isn't expensive, I mean there aren't IMO many difference between RHD and LHD "Z add-ons" (what transforms a quiet Rover into a Z)

Just found the answer : September 2001 for France.

It will be the ZR, ZS, ZT and F Trophy (estimated extra price : 12000 FF compared to a normal Rover).

Beginning of next year, the same cars (same bodywork) will be sold but with lower motoring (including diesel). (estimated extra price : 6000 FF compared to a normal Rover)

Later the ZT-T will be sold with the ZT V8 (260hp and 385hp).

Total> 11 new models

And I think you can expect a fairly large advertising campaign starting within the next few weeks: French people don't know the MG brand, they must fix to that to sell.

>>but I am always surprised by the number of teenagers who come up to the 'B' and say !nice car mister" <<

This comment struck a bit of a chord with me. The reason I had MG imprinted on my brain was from being driven around in my grandfather's orange chrome-bumper hardtop MGB when I was about 10ish. I don't remember the speed or the cornering - I just remember how cool the whole experience felt. I can't help feeling that this was what hardwired my brain into wanting an MG when I grew up (do boys grow up?).

One think the F and the B have in common is that they look fun and non-aggressive. They are the sorts of cars where you find people striking up conversations with you about them - I have found this very noticeable in the first few months since I've had my F. I'm sure that MGR know that all this really acts as very powerful, long-term marketing.

When I first heard about the Z-cars I was a bit worried about it all being a naff, desperate re-badging exercise. I, like most of Joe Public, at the time did not really understand the heritage of souping-up ordinary cars which many people tell me is central to MG's history.

I was all ready to hate the Z's as they challenged my pre-conceived ideas of what 'MG' means (correct or incorrect, but probably extremely prevalent). However, I have completely changed my mind - there is obviously a lot more to these cars than a new badge, and most likely MGR realised that if they did just stick a badge on, then the MG brand would be irrevocably cheapened. They look excellent and by all accounts they drive the same way too (will find out soon, myself, hopefully!) Surely marketing is all about 'feel', and the ZS and ZT especially have the right feel to me.

Cue 'Jerusalem' etc.
David Bainbridge

"Is it the success (I hope) of the Z cars in Great Britain (and USA???) that will finance the development of the brand elsewhere ? "

Come on, it's completely the other way round! Rover have never left Europe, they haven't been in North America for years.
Paul Hunt


>>>"(even if the most popular view, including mine, is wrong).

Hey I never said your view was wrong. I said it was different to mine. 'Different' and 'Wrong' are not the same thing.



Coming back to the potential customer issue…

David, “One think the F and the B have in common is that they look fun and non-aggressive. They are the sorts of cars where you find people striking up conversations with you about them “
We were discussing with other F drivers how peoples act when they see a F in France. Most of us had good comments and had very little problems (just some splits and bad words – nothing compared to what experience other convertible drivers that explains why they drive the roof up in towns). There are 3 explanations to this difference /other convertibles :
1 : the F is rare and so curiosity is the first reaction.
2 : Because they are rare, the F drivers are more considerate car passionate than “show off” peoples.
3 : the car has a smooth styling (“girly” some say), fun and non-aggressive.

This third explanation I fear will be no longer valid as MGR will make MG known as an aggressive brand. As you know, if you look aggressive this will lead to more aggressiveness and violence around you. I believe the pretty good relationships with other peoples we had will deteriorate and instead we will get the attention of some young bastards, with baseball cap on backwards, who like to scare peoples and be considered as tough bad guys. Also, most of these guys will not afford to buy these cars (except some drug dealers…) and we can expect that apart the big MG posters they will have in their rooms, we may also find some MG stolen parts, mainly MG badges.
So if we consider that only, the coming of the Z is not good news for the current F owners (I repeat : “if we consider that point only”).

Most of the F owners on our website admit the MG image played an important role when buying the car. I’m not sure if I had to buy a roadster in the coming months, with all the aggressiveness around the brand being developed, I would pick the F again, just because of the new image. I don’t want to be considerate like one of these “baseball cap on backwards” guys.

There are big controversies in France about these kind of GTI cars. Too many are stolen and used to play rodeo on the roads killing dozens of peoples since the beginning of the year. I know a guy who wanted to buy a Clio RS but he didn’t due to the number of peoples with such car being car jacked.

It makes me really wonder who will buy these cars in France. The remaining MG enthusiast won’t, it is too expensive for the youngsters, it will have such a bad reputation that the general public over 30 won’t buy it. It would be ok if MGR was targeting a small niche but if we look at the figures, it seems not.

- - -

Paul, Rover has never left continental Europe but MG did. In fact, considering the financial status of MGR, I was wondering if they would not better concentrate on a few market where they know the brand is still known and they have the possibility to sell a large amount of cars. Because if we take France for instance, to develop the MG image they have almost to build everything from scratch and they can’t expect to sell a lot of cars before long. The Z will be imported in France based on the current Rover dealer network (doesn’t cost much) but one possibility is that there won’t be a so large advertising campaign. In fact it would be just like the F : you can buy it in all Rover dealers, at least if you know it is for sales at Rover dealers.
The Z should arrive in September but it is amazing to see that almost no magazines, TV show and even the MGR official French website are not talking about it. Usually, other car makers website talk about their coming new cars at least 2 month before they are available for sales.
It gives some credits to my assumption that perhaps there won’t be large advertising campaign in some countries in order for MGR to focus more on a few markets.

- - -

BTW, I may not like the Z, they are still MG : so the “Z pages” have been created on the MG Contact website (seems we are the ones with the more news in French about these Z).
Copy/paste the link to go directly to the pages :



It just makes me wonder how a small car firm like TVR (utterly miniscule on the world stage) can develop its own engines from scratch (now that they are phasing out the Rover V8's), build their own gearboxes, and develop from a blank piece of paper sportscars that wipe the floor with anything Porsche, BMW, Mercedes etc can throw at them. If such a small firm like them can cut it then there must surely be hope for the Rover group and their MG brand. TVR have shown that despite what all the market analysts say, you do NOT have to be a successeful car manufacturer on a global scale to be profitable - sure - having all your eggs in one basket is possibly financial suicide, but they HAVE made it work. MG surviving will have more to do with changing peoples perceptions than the quality of their cars Im afraid
Stephen Murphy

TVR is targetting a niche market and has limited manufacturing capacities. MG Rover is in charge of thousand employees and so will have to be successful on global scale. We can't compare.


Your post explains a lot about your views and opinions, it certainly helped me understand why you think the way you do about the Z cars.

I still don't agree with you but then I do not live in France and don't experience what you do! :-)

As a Brit recently moved to the US I probably have a slightly different view to most people on this BBS. I will say again that, in my opinion, MG saloons will be accepted and liked over here, a surprising portion of the population has either owned, or known someone else who owned, an MG.

Yes, they all mention oil leaks and electrical problems, but all with a smile, remember, when people over here were buying MGs the only other choice they really had (before the Japanese imports) was American behemoths and by and large they were crap! The MGs were reliable compared to them! :-)

I do think that when MG Rover start importing here they are going to HAVE to start with the MG Saloons, the last few Rovers sold here (the 820s) were a complete disaster and most people would not go anywhere near a Rover. But if MG get established with both saloons and the sports cars that are coming then maybe people will accept the Rover too.

Just my opinion.


The Wiz (MikeB)
The Wiz


I lived on the Canadian/US border for fifteen years so have a bit of understanding of the North American mind set.
>they all mention oil leaks and electrical problems, but all with a smile< You are right but I don’t think you could expect the same smile if those problems occurred on a modern MG rag top or saloon. From personal experience, I know that on the rare occasions when my ‘B’ deposits oil, or wont start, I accept it with a shrug – it’s an MGB. But if the same thing happens to my ‘F’ or the Disco I am breathing fire. In fact I have just written to the Chairman of Land Rover.

The difference in those two attitudes is fairly easy to understand. The ‘B’ is old, it’s easy to work on and repairing and upgrading it is part of the fun of ownership. On the other hand the ‘F’ and the Disco are modern technology, not built for DIY, they cost a lot of money, and we have come to expect ‘that’ money to buy a car that gives no hassle.

So, if the Z cars exported to the States, are unreliable, I cannot see the Yanks smiling and the MG name will go the same route as Rover.


Michael Williams

Arnaud - "we cant compare" - why not ? You missed my point entirely. Look at the turnover of TVR compared to Rover. Rover say they have no money to design cars from scratch, so thats why they are buying into small production run foreign sports cars (which admittedly have US crash approval) - do you think TVR has money to burn ? Yet, they can manage fine designing and building their own gearboxes, engines and cars on a budget that would probably cover Rover's canteen bill. Im just saying its a bit hollow saying things cant be done cheap when there is a car firm less than 400 miles away who is proving it CAN be done. By the way - global success means diddly-squat - a "+" on the balance sheet is all that matters - not spreading the gospel of MG accross the world!
Stephen Murphy

Sorry Stephen, yes, i missed your point.
It is interesting what you say and you are right in a way.
But the cost of building a new car is not only the cost of designing it but also the cost of modifying tools and training peoples.

Modifying these can be easily done at small scale (especially with craftmen company such as TVR).
On a large scale basis, it is different. The cost of switching from a car type to another is huge.


Steven you seem to be suggesting that TVR are successful in what they do - having owned one, I am not at all convinced that they are.

Also, IMO Arnoud is correct. You are comparing the flexibility and manoeuvrability of a speed boat with an oil tanker.

Michael Williams

God I sound like a TVR freak! TVR have released 3 new cars in the last 3 years, and developed everything from scratch. They have also built the "Speed 12" that has their own internally designed 800 bhp engine in road trim, and 700 in race trim due to restrictions - and their balance sheet shows a profit (unlike Lotus). Im my book, a profit means success and losing 800 million doesnt. I agree 100% about things being on a grander scale with Rover though- my brother is a maintenance engineer and sees the tooling costs to change something as simple as a fan in the motor of a vacuum cleaner to a plastic moulding change for a casing. Ive owned an MG for 5 years, and I really wish Rover all the best, but I think they are losing sight of their objective - thats all. Make a profit and not try to spread into too many markets at once and spread themselves thin. Setting up and establishing dealerships is a lengthy time consuming expensive business - too many fingers in too many pies could be costly and dangerous.
Stephen Murphy

Stephen I have no problem with your basic assertions but The TVR profit would not begin to pay the rates on Longbridge let alone the wages for the work force. A company has to start from where they are and MGR have certain basic commitments.
Michael Williams

This thread was discussed between 08/08/2001 and 11/08/2001

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