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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Z cars and the US.

OK, we all know that the R75/ZT was developed with the US in mind right from the outset.

But what of the ZR/ZS?

The KV6 is US-homologated, but do the ZR and ZS meet US safety legislation?

If so, then I can see Honda as the only spanner in the works with regard to exports of the ZS. (Soichiro's company was always keen to exploit Rover as a back door into the European market, but didn't it put the brakes on Rover developing and exporting the 600 and the 400 for markets other than the EU and Japan?)

The ZR would, of course, need a KV6 transplant seeing as the K4 is not federalized. Someone, in another thread, mentioned that MG-R is evaluating such a car.

JH Gillson

>> The ZR would, of course, need a KV6 transplant seeing as the K4 is not federalized <<

On the other hand though, if it was federalised then it might open up similar markets for the K-Series engine to those it enjoys in the UK.. i.e. being used in other cars, Caterhams, Elises etc.. Of course, it would also reduce one barrier to those firms should they wish to sell their cars in the US.

Steve Childs

All this talk about a federalised motor is quite bizarre. Simply put there is no such thing!

Ooooh, Nicodemus.

Get her.
JH Gillson

Nicodemus, I don't know if there is or not, but I do know that engines need to be approved one way or another for the US market and that's what I was referring to, whether its called "federalised" or not.

Steve Childs

Sorry I didn't mean to come across all heavy!

What I meant was, really the only difference between a US spec one and say a UK one is the engine calibration. There may be some minor componentry changed such as injectors, plugs etc and the compression ratio may be altered to deal with differernt fuels. Calibration for a country such as Mexico with it's high altitude would be far more challenging for instance.

Impact requirements are a completely different kettle of fish however. Not so much the problem of designing a car to comply, it is the testing and submission of results to the FMVSS that is time consuming and therefore expensive. It is certainly mot on for the MGF put it that way.

Nicodemus, AFAIK, there's a regulation that requires the Engine management system to comply to OBD3 (On board diagnostics 3) or something like that, the MEMS in the K Series doesn't do this yet, also AFAIK.

Steve Childs

There was an interesting article in a recent issue of MG World magazine about importing non-compliant vehicals into the US. There was a mention of someone who tried to import an MGF. He found out the hard way, that it is a practical impossibility. The biggest problem, as Steve Childs states, is the requirement that the car's electronic control systems comply with the OBD standard. I thought it was OBD-2, but perhaps there is a third version. The point is, it is not simply the amount of emissions coming out of the tailpipe. The US EPA now specifies the technology used to meet the tailpipe standard. Even if the MGF emits low enough levels of pollutants, which wouldn't surprise me at all, if can't come in, because it doesn't do it by means of OBD-2 (or OBD-3).

Now, MG-R could take the approach that Lotus has done. That is, they send Elise's here, "for offroad use only". That is, racing. However, from what I can gather, these cars are bog-standard UK spec, street-legal (in the UK anyway) cars. A few unscrupulous owners have managed to get them registered in their home state and now drive them on the street.

If they were planning to return to the US next year, and if the MGF design were not already six years old, it might be worthwhile for them to re-engineer the car to use OBD. As it is, any US return is probably at least three or four years away, and the MGF would be too old a design by then.
Paul Noble

I believe that there is a company in the States that puts Integra Type R engines into Elises - maybe MG could adopt a similar approach with the ZR...e.g. with a small Ford engine?
Will Watson (aka Dave the Explosive Newt

MG + USA = (ZT + X70/X71 + X80 + 0.75*ZT)/2003
David Knowles

>>>>>MG + USA = (ZT + X70/X71 + X80 + 0.75*ZT)/2003<<<<<<<

You mean I have to drive this damned Corolla for another 2 years?

The Wiz


When asked about a possible return to the US, the management at MG-R always says something like, "we would be foolish to ignore the largest market in the world, but sadly, this must remain a dream for the time being", or words to that effect.

Does your inclusion of 2003 in your equation indicate something? Perhaps they have confided in you that they are tentatively planning on a return in that year???? Or that this is their goal, even if it is not an announced, formal plan or commitment???

I know, I know. Even if you have any definite knowledge, you can't share it with us. I must say that, while it is absolutely great having someone participate on this BBS who actually has the ear of the powers-that-be at MG-R, it is also sometimes frustrating. We know that you know more than you can tell. We understand that, if you did divulge any private information, you would very quickly become unwelcome at Longbridge. No one here wants that to happen. We just want to hear someone say that we will soon be able to buy brand, spanking new MG's again.

Perhaps you can address this, though. We have all heard of the MGF that was at the SAE show in Detroit, and the three MG's that were at MG 2001 in Minnesota. One of those was a gathering of industry insiders; the other was a gathering of the faithful. Has the management at MG-R done any more formal market research to determine MG's sales potential in the U.S., apart from the enthusiasts who read this BBS and go to car shows? We all know that MG can not survive long, selling cars to those of us who drive 30-year old MGB's, MGA's and midgets.
Paul Noble

"MG + USA = (ZT + X70/X71 + X80 + 0.75*ZT)/2003"

> =0.75*ZT< A shortend R75 platform eh, RWD I hope, and a KV8 at about say 3.6 liter, convertable and quick, right then, about 18 months to wait.

Dear MG Rover, Please reserve one 0.75 ZT MG car for me, deliver to Brea California in BRG.



Check enclosed.


What about the ZT-T?

So wouldn't the equation be:

MG + USA = (ZT + ZT-T + X70/X71 + X80 + 0.75*ZT)/2003 ?

I'm liking the way this is adding up....

Robert Rushing

David lays out a rather ambitious future for MG-R. The line up implies not only doing the X80 (while "only" a reskin, what we're talking about is an all new exterior and interior - a significant engineering task), but two brand new cars - the X70/71 (roadster and GT?) sports car and the "0.75ZT", shortened 75. And all this within two year's time. Wow!

That would be breathtaking for a much larger company - let alone a small one yet to turn a profit (although circumstances are different for MG-R). Still . . .

Reading the tea leaves - it would seem that a ZR replacement is a ways off, unless there's a partner lurking around to provide a shell (no time or money for a platform-based re-skin, I'm afraid) for the MG-R magicians to weave their magic on.

Prospects for David's proposed line up would good in the US. I would predict:
20,000 X70/71 sales (Miata-type volumes)
30,000 ZT sales (actually, 40K if successful - that's 1/2 3-series volume, or 20K if it's flat - like a Saab 9-3
30,000 0.75ZT sales (could be more - VW sells 140K Jettas, could be a little less Audi sells 24K A4's)

Add in a thousand or two (on the outside) X80 sales, and the US market should provide quite a market for MG-R. A lot depends on pricing, of course, and the product quality will be under a microscope here as well. No Lucas jokes allowed this time 'round!

Where do I sign up?

- And BTW, if MG-R can really do this, it would bode well for its prospects as a partner, as this kind of development speed with the resources available would be the envy of the industry.
John Z

MG-R must be eating into their BMW dowry very rapidly- but there is a couple of things in their favour:

1. The ability to design cars with resource budgets costing no more than a single serving of cod and chips.
2. An extremely novel approach to car design involving extensive cost and engineering sharing with outside consultancies and contractors.

The latter, in conjunction with an extensively streamlined management structure is what is required to get things done quickly- and with out side partners shoulding the cost of development (and subsequently getting a cut of the profits- ala MGF/ Mayflower project) then the budget required to invest in new products is substantially easier to swallow.

The only down side as far as I can see is the predicted global economic down turn- so I guess we'll have to see how the US public recieve their generous tax rebate...

Rob Bell

I think the the ZT should sell in the states by the yard! But the product just has to deliver!!

I suggest that they get the Ford powered ZT75's up and running quickly ( I want one) with mass production sorted. I understand that only a modicum of work is needed for the rear drive V8 to be fitted as the 75 was originally set up for 4wd option. Yanks love their V8s so this should be a winner also the product could be sold in a few "boutiques"

The fwd KV6 engined cars could sell relatively well but it's the bigger faster ones that will drive image and reputation.



What's the equation again?


Is that right?

Glad I started this thread now.

However, in another thread Mr Knowles quotes an article by motoring journalist Richard Bremner (the man who chose the voice of actress Nicolette McKenzie (who?) for the Maestro's voice synthesizer, I believe, and one of the few UK auto journalists to write for adults) that suggests that there should be more than one equation:


MG+USA=(0.75*ZT)/2004; and


All this sets me thinking about what we, as humble MG enthusiasts, can do for MG-R. Speaking for myself, I'm willing to volunteer my services as an unpaid test driver...
JH Gillson

And another thing...


Was it beyond their wit to derive an R45 replacement from the R75?

With a £150 million UK government subsidy, the R75, the new Mini, a mid-range 75-derived car replacing Rover's only real problem child (the 400/45), and MG versions of all of the above plus of course the F and Land Rovers (not to mention sales to the US) Rover could surely have been set for success.

Kind of makes me feel that the Germans' hiving off of the UK volume motor industry to different bidders was
a deliberate act of industrial sabotage.
JH Gillson

'Was it beyond their wit to derive an R45 replacement from the R75? '

The BMW people are very protective about 'platforms' - they believe each one should be unique, so they couldn't be accused of badge engineering across ranges. It probably didn't occur to them to do a 0.75*Rover75.
David Knowles

But David, isn't the 75 a 0.75*5-series?
Maybe that's how they came up with the name 75.
Its a 3 + .75?

John Dalton

"The BMW people are very protective about platforms etc."

I thought BMW looked at the possiblity of a "common components concept" in the Eightes, i.e. the same platform in three different sizes .

And I thought that was BMW's vision for Rover.
JH Gillson


When you choose to bring in a car that is not for sale in the American market, the Government makes you modify it to meet the Emissions and Safety standards in place for that year of vehicle.

Post-1995 vehicles all have to have OBD-II systems and post-1998 vehicles have to have OBD-III. These things are virtually impossible to add at a reasonable cost, but the Government can be pursuaded that the car meets them if the RI tells them that it does.

What's an RI? A Registered Importer.

When you bring in a Vehicle, you can't just take it to your local garage and have them do the modifications. You must take it to one of the US Government's small list of federally approved RI's. These RI's are then free to charge you whatever they'd like for the modifications. The more complex the car, the more it's going to cost.

Currently, Sun International brings in and sells the Lotus Elise with the Integra Type R engine, for roughly $58,000 (£40,000). Other companies bring in the Nissan Skyline GT-R and Mitsu Lancer Evo, but both of these cars sell at prices in excess of $80,000 for a new car, less for an older model (about $30,000 for an R32 Skyline, $50K for a pre-1996 R33).

What's really frustrating is trying to import a car like a Seat Leon 20VT Cupra. This car uses mechanicals that are already approved for the USA market, like it's Audi-TT sourced engine and transmission and it's VW-Golf platform. But the federal Government is the only entity that actually believes there is a substantive difference between the Leon and the TT in crashworthiness and emissions output. The Leon must therefore be made to go through the expensive modification process even though it already complies.

Furthermore, the US Government has enacted legislation that slaps the less-than-wealthy enthusiast in the face.

The so-called "Show and Display" clause allows non-conforming vehicles to come in for limited use, but only an approved list of vehicles can come in, stuff like the XJ220 and Peugeot 205 Turbo 16.

Why is this insulting?

Because I want a Peugeot 205 GTi.

The 205 GTi 1.9 uses the same Peugeot XU9 engine as the USA-sped Peugeot 405 S and DL models, but because it's in the 205, the 205 must go through the incredibly expensive certification process. Meanwhile, a wealthy person can purchase a 205 Turbo 16 rally car and use it on the street without having to go through the certification process because the Government has deemed this so.

There are ways to get around it though. One can purchase a non-conforming car, bring the title to a State DMV, register it, and then send the license plates overseas to the non-conforming car. When the car is brought in with a state registration, Customs doesn't give it a second look and a Non-conforming car is in - but if you get caught there are substantial penalties. Diplomats can also bring in cars of their own volition which don't comply, and these cars can be re-sold within the US without compliance. I once drove a CitroŽn CX Turbo that was a former diplomatic car.

I have a very low opinion of the US government, but this is an issue that angers me greatly.

/end rant.

P.S. - the easiest place to import a car to the USA from is Mexico. Geography places it very close and non-conforming Mexican market cars cross the border every day into the southwest. I was quoted a price of $23,000 to import and fully certify a Peugeot 206 XSi from Mexico by a Texas importer a few months ago. Far beyond my budget though, and don't forget that there's no such thing as financing for a grey-market car.

This thread was discussed between 28/07/2001 and 09/08/2001

MG ZR ZS ZT Technical index

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