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MG is a British sports car brand founded in 1924.
MG is best known for two-seat open sports cars, but MG also produced saloons and coupés. More recently, the brand has also been used to designate sportier versions of other models belonging to the parent company.
The brand was in continuous use (barring the years of the Second World War) for 56 years after its inception. Production of predominantly two-seater sports cars was concentrated at a factory in Abingdon, some 10miles (16km) south of Oxford. The BMC competition department was also based at the Abingdon plant and produced many winning rally and race cars. In the autumn of 1980, however, the Abingdon factory closed and MGB production ceased.
Between 1982 and 1991, the MG marque was revived on faster versions of Austin Rover's Metro, Maestro and Montego ranges. After an interval of barely one year, the MG marque was revived again, this time on the MG RV8 — an updated MGB Roadster with a Rover V8 engine, which was produced in low volumes.
The "real" revival came in the summer of 1995, when the high volume MG F two-seater roadster was launched. This was an instant hit with buyers, and sold in volumes which had been unthinkable on affordable two-seaters since the 1970s. The MG F was subsequently replaced under BMW's ownership by the "02 Model Year" revised version, otherwise known as the X40 project.
MG was one half of the MG Rover group in May 2000, when BMW 'broke up' the Rover Group. This arrangement saw the return of MG badges on sportier Rover-based cars, but production ceased in April 2005 when MG Rover went into administration.
The assets of MG Rover were bought by Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile in July 2005 who themselves were bought by SAIC in December 2007.
In 2007 pilot production of the MG TF resumed at Longbridge. Production of the MG 7 large sports saloon also started in China, and in 2008 the range is set to expand with the arrival of the smaller MG 3 and MG 5 hatchbacks.
MG got its name from "Morris Garages", a dealer of Morris cars in Oxford which began producing its own customised versions to the designs of Cecil Kimber who had joined the company as its Sales Manager in 1921 and was promoted to General Manager in 1922. Kimber remained as General Manager until 1941 when he fell out with Lord Nuffield over procuring wartime work. Kimber died in 1945 in a freak railway accident.
There is some debate over when MG started. The company itself stated it to be 1924, although the first cars bore both Morris and MG badges and a reference to MG with the octagon badge appears in an Oxford newspaper from November 1923. Others dispute this and believe that MG only properly began trading in 1925.
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