network with the unveiling of its first new MG-badged car. The car, codenamed the MG X10 and based on the Rover 75, is the first of three new sports saloons to be launched next year.
Since May 2000, when former German parent BMW sold off the ailing manufacturer, more than £100 million has been invested in product development. The spring launch of the MG variants of 25, 45 and 75 will spearhead an attack on the executive fleet market, although the firm will not be interested in deals unless they are profitable.
The new MG X10 will be what John Towers, head of the Phoenix Consortium which bought the manufacturer, calls a true 'grunt and groan' machine, with class-leading performance.
Official figures are not available, but the firm estimates that the highest specification model will be either supercharged or turbocharged and reach 150mph. Angus Gray, UK fleet sales director, denied that such a high-profile move to sporting models at the time when world leaders were talking about the drastic effects of climate change at the Hague was mistimed.
He said: 'Like many vehicle developments, it is through investment in sporting achievement that innovations on cleaner vehicles will be made.'
A diesel MG executive saloon has been ruled out, but the firm has pledged that diesel will figure strongly under the Rover brand-name.