Nanjing Automotive, the state-funded firm behind the reincarnation of Britain's MG Rover, have released development photos of the W2 at its UK Technical Centre following the snaps our spy photographers shot of the car earlier this year.

Nanjing Automotive, the state-funded firm behind the reincarnation of Britain's MG Rover, have released development photos of the W2 - albeit with 'digital camouflage' (that's not poor image quality) - at its UK Technical Centre, following the snaps our spy photographers shot of the car earlier this year. As the precursor to the W261 production model Roewe - pronounced 'Row Way' - 550 and only the second model after the 750 under Chinese management, the model designation will later change to the Roewe 5 series, with the rest of the range following suit.

The development model appears to have had few exterior modifications since the W2 concept car, premiered at the Shanghai Motor Show. Rear lights remain similar to the show cars' while front headlamps adopt the more-familiar MG Rover style seen on the Roewe 750. The grille and front lower airtake remains true to that of the W2's, while the gaping front-side vents appear to be staying for production.

According to insiders speaking with ChinaCarTimes.com, a normally-aspirated 1.6 and 1.8-litre as well as a 1.8-litre turbo have been confirmed for production, with SAIC boldly claiming the new car will meet Euro NCAP five-star crash safety requirements.

Priced at 200,000rmb ($26,485) on home soil, the Roewe 550 faces competition in the Chinese market from the likes of the Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla. Sales are expected to start at the end of this year or early 2008 in China, with eleven of the first of many nationwide dealerships recently announced in the UK to sell the new Rover-branded models from next year.

Interestingly, the pictures also include sketches and photos on the walls of the Technical Centre of what we assume to be the finished 550, while a dubiously-covered hatchback, previously unannounced and not spied undergoing testing, sits in the corner of the studio in this photo. Stay tuned for more info on the Roewe 550 and its possible new sibling.

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