The new generation of Chinese-designed MGs is proving a tough sell in England, birthplace of the legendary carmaker that produced a long line of stylish roadsters dating back to the 1920s.
In its heyday, MG (short for Morris Garages) built such landmark sports cars as the TF, Midget, MGA and MGB. And they were as common in the British Isles as slot machines in Nevada supermarkets.
But in April, MG's 31 dealers in the United Kingdom sold just 14 cars, bringing the total sold for the year to 236. MG Motor UK may struggle to eclipse last year's sales of 600.
But elsewhere, MG is doing pretty well. In China, about 80,000 MGs were sold in 2012. The famous marque is now available in 40 countries, and the brand's first SUV is on the way.
But as far as British buyers are concerned, the brand disappeared in 2005, when MG Rover collapsed and was bought out of bankruptcy by Nanjing Automobile Co., one of China's oldest automakers. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. eventually ended up with the brand and the company's historic Longbridge plant in 2007 after merging with Nanjing.
The current MG lineup consists of sporty looking small sedans and hatchbacks made in China and sent to the Longbridge plant in kit form for final assembly. MG makes no sports cars, although one is being considered.
Reviewers in the United Kingdom have complained about the new MGs' brakes, chassis and interior attributes. And one MG tradition continues: Owners say quality and reliability are still a problem.