Cars

What Happened to MG?

Mention the name MG and more than likely most people that remember the manufacturer will have visions of little, convertible, sports cars pop to their minds. Indeed, in the 1960s and through the 1970s, MGs used to dot many a driveway and compete in many a rally. So, what happened to MG?

Back in the 1920s, Cecil Kimber was a Business Manager to William Morris at Morris Garages. While his employee, Kimber took Morris Oxfords and began modifying them. By 1930, Kimber found some success in converting and selling vehicles. So, a different business unit was incorporated, M.G. Car Company Limited, for Morris Garages. 

Since the 1930s, a lot has happened to that company. The company would fall on financial troubles and be sold numerous times. By 2005, British Motor Corporation Limited, British Leyland Motor Corporation, British Leyland, and Rover Group would all have their hands on the company. 

In July 2005, the company fell on hard times again and was picked up by a Chinese company, Nanjing Automobile Group. Later to merge with Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation or SAIC. The new company would restart production in 2007, producing rebadged vehicles.

The 2010s were good for the company. In 2011, the first all-new MG in over a decade was launched, the MG 6. In 2014, MG launched a new model, MG 3, which contributed to a 361% increase in sales by the end of the year. 

United States

After World War II, many veterans started shipping MGs to the United States. Then, MG itself began shipping copies of the TC model. Two thousand copies of the TC model went to the United States in the late 1940s. The MG TD was introduced in 1949.

Front End of a 1951 MG TD
SANTA FE, NM – JULY 4, 2017: A 1951 MG TD was among the classic cars on display at a Fourth of July outdoor celebration in Santa Fe, New Mexico | Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

In the 1950s, MG faced stiffer competition from other imported vehicles such as Austin-Healey, Triumph, Jaguar, and Mercedes. By 1980, the MG story in the United States had ended as the company folded while facing even more manufacturers that cannibalized its sales. 

Since 1980

MG hasn’t sold vehicles in the United States for decades now. However, it is fondly remembered by baby boomers who continue to find, restore, and rally the vehicles. Indeed, 

The Telegraph writes, “Alan Magnuson, who handles UK liaison for the MG Car Club in the US, estimates that there could be as many as 30,000 families in America which own MG cars of all ages.”

“The company produced more than 511,000 MGs from 1962 to 1980,” he said. “Roughly 60 percent came to North America. After the Second World War, North America accounted for more than 50 percent of the MG cars produced.”

MG3 at a car show in 2011
SHANGHAI, CHINA – APRIL 19: (CHINA OUT) An MG3 car is displayed during the media day of the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition at Shanghai New International Expo Center on April 19, 2011 in Shanghai, China.| Visual China Group via Getty Images

What’s Up With MG Now?

MG has continued to produce vehicles overseas, although a sporty, small, convertible is not a product currently available in their lineup. MG has explored the idea of returning to the United States. But, a decision on launching the brand stateside has not been made yet, or may ever be. The automotive industry has been contracting in recent years. So, it’s no inconceivable that MG might be acquired or folded into another company as has happened in its long past already.