By February 9, 2014 106 Comments Read More →

Blog : MG’s making an SUV? Good!

Jack Yan

Ssangyong Korando (2)

I have to admit to becoming a bit bored of those crying foul now that MG will launch an SUV, one which seems to have some parallels with the SsangYong Korando C. They say that MG should have made sports cars as part of its revival, and that the brand should not adorn a bunch of Chinese-made saloons and an upcoming SUV.

Well, let’s look at a few hard facts.

MG did make a sports car when NAC, and later SAIC Motor, took over. It was the British-designed MG TF – they sold fewer than 100 cars per year in the 2007–11 period, despite it being the cheapest roadster on the market in China. It wasn’t just Chinese buyers who ignored them: the TF was the first model revived at Longbridge, with very keen pricing, and hardly any Britons touched them, either.

Okay, so if you were running a major car manufacturer and were confronted with decent sales of your saloon cars and dismal sales of your sports car (after building a whole new factory for them), where would you place your efforts?

You give the people what they want.

What’s surprising is that this is hardly unprecedented in MG history. There have been MG saloons for a good part of the marque’s existence but, right now, there are parallels with the 1980s. Then, the MGB had died in 1980, and Austin Rover decided it would launch a range of sporting saloons based on the humble Metro, Maestro and Montego. That’s no different to today’s MG range of the 3, 5, and 6 – there’s even a 7, based on the old MG ZT.

Take a look at successful brands, such as BMW, today and you will see that they, too, came out of the postwar years doing a sports car which hardly anyone bought. I agree that the TF and 507 can’t be fairly compared, but look at the next milestone, the BMW 700. Then the 1500. Both were keenly priced sporting saloons, where you got plenty of drive for the Deutschmark. It took decades for BMW to work up to where it is today.

SAIC Motor’s bosses aren’t fools – the affordable prices of the 3 and 6 are part of a much longer-term plan. They also know that globally and, more importantly, in MG’s domestic and key export markets, SUVs are selling strongly.

Again, you give the people what they want.

I was one of the very few people who wrote that I believed the Porsche Cayenne would be a huge hit at the turn of the century and that the Porsche brand could survive such an extension. I was right.

MG’s brand can easily be extended, given that it has had a less focused history than Porsche. At two points during its British ownership, it sold estates, for goodness’ sake—once, in New Zealand, with the Montego-based MG 2·0 SL, and toward the end of the Phoenix Four era, with the MG ZT-T. A good deal of estate buyers now eye up SUVs, and that is simply a trend that SAIC Motor is following.

A sports car may follow in time. There will be a fastback based on the Auris-like MG 5, and not a moment too soon. A “proper” sports car could come if the rest of the range does well. SAIC Motor isn’t run by mugs and they know the heritage of the MG brand.

MG’s sister brand Roewe has been voted the best in service and customer satisfaction among car dealerships, beating even the foreign-branded competition in China, while the Roewe 350 topped its class for customer satisfaction, according to the China Quality Association. The MG 3 came second in its segment.

We’re talking about the most competitive car market on earth and the Chinese equivalent (as far as I can make out) of the JD Power Survey. Those accolades are things that BMC, BL, Austin Rover, Rover Group and MG Rover could only dream about, especially through the 1970s.

I’d rather people give SAIC Motor the acclaim it deserves for giving MG a decent go where the British and the Germans had failed – and for putting money where its mouth is.

Posted in: AROnline Blogs
Jack Yan

About the Author:

CEO, Jack Yan & Associates; publisher, Lucire; director, the Medinge Group. Founder and editor of Autocade (http://autocade.net).

106 Comments on "Blog : MG’s making an SUV? Good!"

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  1. Jonathan Carling jonathan carling says:

    Very thought-provoking. I’m finding myself wanting to disagree, but I can’t really find a logic to!

    Some of this distaste for the new MG is about re-establishing the brand, but with no continuity of heritage. And yet MG is using Longbridge and selling cars with engines derived from the k-series. As you say, it has sold the TF and the MG7, so there has been continuity.

    The way MG-R ended up in the hands of SAIC/Nanjing may also leave a bad taste, but actually the Phoenix four were desparate to sell off the company and it was their mis-negotiation that was at fault.

    There was quite a lot of enthusiasm on here when the MG6 was first launched in the UK, as I recall, but it faded quickly when it was obviously been poorly marketed.

    So, a little reluctantly, I find myself agreeing that MG deserves to have a chance. The MG3 is a nice product, more so than the bland MG6. I hope that an SUV has some character, and that MG can thrive as a lifestyle brand.

  2. David 3500 says:

    I read this article and re-read it and thought – someone knows something about the basics of business and economics. In other words, deliver what customers are likely to buy, and likely buy in healthy numbers, and who may not necessarily be existing customers or enthusiasts of the brand. Which, in turn, will be more likely to translate into profit being achieved.

    While I don’t share your enthusiasm for the Porsche Cayenne (because it is such an ugly looking vehicle), I do believe SUVs for MG and also Jaguar will deliver important sales for those respective brands, even though this type of vehicle is actually quite a departure for both brands.

    MG enthusiasts are all too keen to spout off what they think is appropriate for the brand, based on what has gone before. However, as the MG Rover Group era highlights, the ZR, ZS and ZT respectively on an individual basis, outsold the MG TF sports car. During the two years the relaunched 2008 MG TF was in production only 1,000 examples or so were built at Longbridge, which was a massive decline when compared to the MG Rover Group era. Even in the final three months of trading, MG Rover Group built over 600 examples of the TF. This does not suggest that there was a huge level of demand for what was an affordable priced, well packaged two-seater sports car wearing a ‘desirable’ British badge.

    So-called enthusiasts also expect the template and standard established for the Home Market to be applicable to all markets. This is clearly flawed and shows no understanding of the characteristics of export markets, including for China. It also does not confirm that dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts will actually deliver what is really required – putting their hand on their cheque book and actually buying a new MG sports car.

    Heritage is also an important issue to consider, although it is potentially also a rut to quickly become bogged down in. Look at the recent transformations with Jaguar Cars where there has been an emphasis on forward thinking design, marketing and brand management, without overt references to the past or forgotten victories in motorsport. The result is an increase in sales over previous years and more importantly, a business strategy whereby the company is starting to deliver something called “profit” (last seen in 1989).

    @ Jonathan Carling:

    I would disagree with your comment about the “The Phoenix Four were desperate to sell off the company and it was their mis-negotiation that was at fault.” The objective of the directors of Phoenix Venture Holdings was to secure a long-term future for the MG Rover Group business through either joint ventures or collaborative associations whereby the two partners would jointly own a new company. That was certainly the strategy with SAIC and China Brilliance Holdings. Getting shot of the company was never their intention. Selling off key assets was about trying to keep the company trading while negotiations were ongoing.

  3. Tony says:

    Logical move for MG

  4. Hilton D says:

    Yes… perhaps a logical move for MG – after all Jaguar are planning to develop an SUV too. I have to admit to having little interest in SUV’s. Most users I see probably don’t need such huge 4×4 bodied vehicles.

    They block visibility in car parks and street corners and are wider than many park spaces. I could buy one if I needed but a traditional Hatchback or Estate fits the bill for me.

  5. ant80 says:

    here here well said that man, i agree with you. it needed saying…

  6. ant80 says:

    i was agreeing with jack yan, by the way, not hilton d @ 4.

  7. ExPatBrit says:

    @4

    There are times when FWD isn’t going to cut it.

    We had 6 inches of snow last evening and this am there are about 100 cars abandoned on the hill to our housing development. Virtually none of them are 4X4 s.

    Most of the SUVs in the UK and Europe are pretty small compared to what we have here in the US. Short wheelbase 4x4s are pretty great in the snow. My missus AWD Lexus RX is better than my 4×4 pickup.

  8. dzt103 Darren, lancs says:

    SUV’s aren’t my cup of tea, but, I seem to be a member of the minority…
    There’s obviously a high demand for them, judging by the amount of them on the roads..
    It’s probably a good move by MG – provide a type of car that people actually want.
    Maybe when the MG brand has re-established itself here they will look at producing a 2 seater again.

  9. Dave Dawson says:

    SAIC are wanting to re-establish MG in the UK and Europe on a volume basis. Two seater roadsters are not volume. Saloons are falling in popularity. So, it makes sense for MG to go down the SUV route.

    Personally, I’m no SUV fan either. Since owning my ZR (a 75 before this) I’m hooked on small, maximum road feel.

    Once re-established then MG can do a roadster to have a halo effect on the rest of the range and capitalise on the marque’s heritage. In the meantime, however, I think efforts should be made to launch a new Zed range to run alongside current derivatives – staying volume AND offering more of what MG is traditionally about.

  10. Climbsyke says:

    To say they tried the sports car route with the TF and it didn’t work is a bit unfair. The Chinese don’t buy sports cars as a general rule, and the only other market (Britain) had no dealer network to speak of, and the car had been available here as the F and TF for over 10 years. The buying public aren’t stupid!!

    The only reason it saw the light of day at all is because NAC as it was back then had nothing else to sell in the UK, and they were paying to keep the factory turning over with nothing coming down the line.

    They could have done themselves a favour and given the TF a HUGE facelift and perhaps a coupe version and the figures would have no doubt been more respectable.
    SAIC are launching an SUV with an MG badge because the Chinese want SUVs and MG is the most bankable brand they own. Do you really think they care about muddying the brand in the rest of the world? Think again.

  11. David Knowles says:

    As someone who wants to see a new MG sports car sooner rather than later, may I also make it clear that I also see the undeniable logic and need for many more ‘MG’ models to make up a viable product portfolio. A decent, well-engineered, well-styled, good-to-drive and well-built MG SUV makes undoubted good sense and can bring in the revenue that SAIC must secure to justify continued investment in the marque.

    Where I differ from some of the conventional wisdom is with the notion that an MG sports car is ‘unimportant’ and should be pushed so far down the agenda that it risks falling into the ‘sometime, never’ category. The saga of NAC and their plan to build and sell the MG TF to an unconvinced and disinterested Chinese audience is a tragic example of misguided optimism and a crazy lack of business acumen. NAC invested a lot of money in setting up the Chinese TF production line, to little obvious end purpose beyond an excuse to build a new factory and begin embarking on the curious journey into faux-Britishness. I would argue that part of SAIC’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for an MG sports car stems from the NAC episode.

    However, it doesn’t have to be that way; if SAIC could find a willing platform-sharing partner, I am sure that their UK designers could come up with a low-volume entree to the sports car market. We’re unlikely to see another ultra low cost sports car project as clever as the MG RV8, but you can see how that car gained column inches and helped pave the way for the MGF that followed. The RV8 was born out of a recognition that a decade of sticking MG badges on Austins, no matter how much we may regard those cars nowadays, had diluted the brand. US sports car sales had been planned as a way to shore up the Sterling brand, but those plans all evaporated when Rover withdrew from North America in 1991.

    There were, of course, doubts about the RV8 – the market in the UK suffered in the early 90s recession – and it was Japan that rescued the project. However today, the situation – and the latent opportunities – are different. Many car makers have added ‘sports car’ models to their ranges and others – even Kia – are thinking about it. Now these makers are more ‘mature’ in terms of their product ranges than MG-Roewe, and they mostly already have those SUVs and other models that SAIC’s own brands lack. But what few of them have, I would suggest, is the name badge that the world still – for right or wrong – most closely associates with affordable, fun and good-looking sports cars. In the past – admittedly a long time ago now – Ford even dabbled with the idea of buying the name and building sports cars as part of a range. The ‘brand’ still has equity and I feel it would be better to keep the shine on it rather than reducing its desirability to the lowest common denominator.

    Customers for cars like Alfa Romeo and MINI are drawn to them by image and desire as much as the competence of the cars themselves. The makers can therefore charge a premium for admitting these owners to the ‘club’. Why shouldn’t MG do the same? It is hard to build up a brand image to these higher levels of aspiration, but surely every available lever should be employed if the end result is higher business and ultimately investor return? Wouldn’t it make sense if more customers were drawn to those much-needed SUVs and MG3s because of their association with the company that makes (rather than ‘once made’) MG sports cars? If those MG mainstream models (engineered to drive brilliantly, as we know Longbridge can achieve) sold at a higher price, wouldn’t that make sense too?

    If, in order to create an MG sports car, the core design team had to ‘drop’ or ‘seriously delay’ one of the commercially more vital product lines, I would agree this would make little sense. But why does that have to be the case? A low-volume start (as was the theory with the MG RV8) could be the beginning, to build the image of the whole marque in the way I suggested. This could involve platform sharing (hello, GM…?), sub-contracting elements including design, engineering and even build, and need not be as cash/ resource intensive as a higher volume model. Once the other elements of the range are in place, then eventually focus could turn to a car to go against the next generation MX-5, Alfa Romeo Spyder and others – but the risk is that waiting too long will also be too late.

  12. Dave Dawson says:

    David @ 11
    I can see your point, line of thought. Some sort of cheap to produce sports car now rather than later would keep the MG sports car image current. This will obviously attract far more buyers to view other models than a long past, they ONCE made sports cars image.

    Differing arguments, strategies but the same objective. We all want to see it (MG) succeed!!

  13. David Knowles says:

    @12 Dave. Thanks. Obviously a sports car on its own is not nearly enough, but it could certainly help build the strength of the marque and help MG be in a position to charge more for their SUVs and draw in customers from other ‘aspirational’ brands. Porsche make good money from the Cayenne (and will also, no doubt, with the new Macan) but a key reason for this is the solid reputations of the Boxster and 911.

  14. Paul says:

    SAIC have given MG a decent go where the British and Germans failed? Depends how you look at it. They have repositioned the company to face Far East markets, (where they haven’t actually done that well in terms of market share) but have completely trashed the brand in the UK and made invisible altogether on mainland Europe. Their UK production numbers for the MG6 represents a few days output compared to output during BMW or Phoenix tenure so I really fail to see how you can claim the Chinese have triumphed when others failed.

  15. Darren says:

    The MG name is associated by many as being one of a sports car, or a car of a sporting nature.

    An MG saloon or hatch should by definition be ahead of the pack on performance and handling.

    But what we are seeing is the current owners of the name using the name to market a range of cars majoring on value for money rather than technical ability.

    The current range is seen as misaligned from where an MG should be in the marketplace.

  16. David Knowles says:

    The other night I was at a neighbours’ social function – the kind where you are circling round with the champagne and oriental canapes (yeah, I know…) and where the conversation with complete strangers soon moves to ‘what do you do?’. When I mentioned that one thing was to write MG books it was interesting to see the reactions.

    Most people ‘knew’ what an MG ‘was’ – they all thought it was a sports car (no sh*t Sherlock). Most didn’t seem to know that MG still existed but one who did (an owner of a nearly new MX-5 who knew that a new one is coming, and who also waxed lyrical about Triumphs past) said he thought that the ‘Chinese owners seemed to have missed the boat’. Not an especially scientific exercise (I’d promised my wife not to bore everybody about MGs!) but it was an interesting snapshot.

  17. Bill Malcolm says:

    ” I’d rather people give SAIC Motor the acclaim it deserves for giving MG a decent go where the British and the Germans had failed – and for putting money where its mouth is.”

    What an utter load of tosh! Absurd. Giving MG a decent go? Good Lord, enough billions were spent by the “British” and then the Germans who found out too late that they were flogging the deadest of horses. Phoenix? Any sane person knew that was a get rich quick scheme at the time if they read CAR magazine.

    I’ve read just about every article on this site, and now historical revisionism is attempting to raise SAIC to the improbable heights of sainthood. For knocking out a few poor copies of a not particularly good couple of designs and calling them MGs because they bought the name. That’s the reality of giving it a “decent go”.

    From Wikipedia:

    “By March 2012, SAIC had invested a total of £450 million in MG Motor. [10] Sales in the UK totalled 782 vehicles in 2012.”

    A roaring trade, then. Gross incompetence is more like it.

    Well I suppose it’s good to hear SAIC gives good customer service in China. Number 1 no less if you happen to own a Roewe and believe the guff. Perhaps they should extend this largesse to the UK market! The China Quality Association, who’s that? An oxymoronic name.

    Because from what’s been related on this site about parts non-availability and abysmal quality in the UK and dealers giving up franchises, getting the after sales service right might be a reasonable next step, rather than introducng a new CUV to a completely underwhelmed public.

    SAIC seems intent on flinging stuff at the wall to see what sticks. And after that maybe they’ll worry about their customers’ follow-up needs. Backwards logic if you want success, surely?

    Oh well, the funny hat brigade and the terminally unaware who still think MG is British will buy a few regardless and then stand around looking shocked when something goes badly wrong and it takes ages to fix, if they’re even that lucky.

    I think this site does a stellar job on the old BL bangers that people remember with some fondness, and the bus and lorry stuff is wonderful.

    I’ve said it before though, backing this SAIC horse is hilarious! I can’t wait to read more “suspend your disbelief” paeans to this company and will read such tracts with much amusement.

    What a hoot. As the Americans say, there’s a sucker born every minute.

  18. Paul Taylor Paul Taylor says:

    A lot of people scream out that MG need to bring out a sports car/soft top or whatever if they want to get back into the market with any sort of presence.

    They tried it. They flopped. No-one wanted to buy it. They didn’t have an alternative to the TF in the pipeline, or even something off the shelf they could rebadge.

    Jack is right, you need to give the people what they want, and in a sector that sells. There is no secret as to why the MG3 is proving far more popular than the MG6. Look around you on your drive today – Qashqai’s, Jukes, Dusters, plus any number of similar offerings from Ford, Vauxhall, BMW or whoever. That is the flavour of the month just now, they need to grasp the nettle while it’s there.

    Those screaming for an MG roadster/sports car need to park that thought for a while yet.

  19. alex scott says:

    As an interesting parallel to MG, I live in New Plymouth, New Zealand – a city of around 50000 People – ok, its more like a village in global terms. The nearest MG dealers – well there are 3 in the country as far as I know (Auckland Wellington and Christchurch). My point is that I could, if I wanted to, go local in this “city” and buy from the following dealers: LDV (vans) Ford, Holden (GM), Toyota, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Citroen (an enthusiast and dealer), Hyundri, Kia, Suzuki, Subaru, Mazda and coming soon Chrysler-Jeep. We don’t have a JLR here but there is a 1/2 dealer – I bet it won’t be long before he gos pro. My question is – if I can buy an LDV van – why isn’t an MG right along side it? Alex

  20. LOL says:

    #4 Hilton D – “Most users I see probably don’t need such huge 4×4 bodied vehicles”.

    “Need” is irrelevant. “Want” is what drives new car purchases. Right now, 4x4s and crossovers are what people want.

  21. Will M says:

    It makes sense.

    The a*se has fallen out of the big saloon market. You can no longer buy a Primera, Laguna, Impreza, Legacy, and the vultures are circling around the Accord and Avensis.

    Only Mazda has taken a gamble of recent times with the Jag-like 6. This is the aim of the game for D segment cars, premium or bust.

    Not a fan of the craze for SUVs. Seen too many XC90s not checking blind spots, badly parked Qashcows, aggressive X5 and Q7 drivers, Rav4s that use the bulk to push past even when it isn’t their right of way.

    These vehicles sell for a reason though. Whether it is yet another facet of American culture creeping in, clever marketing, the severity of the last few winters, the height/ablity to ‘climb into’, the perceived safety of the bulk, ever larger mutually assured SUVs for the school run or other reasons, the UK public are hooked on them.

    As such, many car ranges are split between a couple of superminis with an SUV as the top end model.

    It is a canny move by MG, no-one is buying the big MG6, the 3 is performing slightly better, an SUV will sell.

  22. David Knowles says:

    @17 Bill – Loved your piece, saying it like it is! If they cannot ramp up volumes in the UK one wonders where it will all end. Good product, good dealerships, good service and parts back-up, good marketing, good word-of-mouth are all vital components, but as you already get these from many other makers then ‘I must have one’ desirability is the other element needed.

    @21 – Yes, I’ll agree that going forward, a SUV probably makes more commercial sense than the MG6. I just hope it is ‘more’ than a rebadged SsangYong Korando.

    The comment about ‘premium or bust’ strikes a chord. Where does ‘new MG’ sit in this equation? What is the ‘usp’ that will make the aspirational professionals want an MG above any other car?

  23. Slartybartfast says:

    Mr Yan, most people on this site will agree with you that an MG SUV makes sense, which is completely obvious as just about all manufacturers are looking at the booming SUV market. However, sticking to the same old deluded rhetoric of MG’s affordable price policy when that strategy is clearly failing, just can’t continue, that is if MG is to achieve any form of success in Europe. The 6 and 3 are disappointingly failing and there is no hiding from that fact.

    The problem MG faces is similar to Proton, lack of credibility. The MG Montego and Maestro were part of an indigenous car industry and were essentially sports versions of Austins with an MG badges, these MGs are not. They are SAIC cars with MG badges and are not perceived as sporty but budget cars. The MG Maestros and Montegos were more upmarket sporty Austins. Yes, these “new MG” are OK to drive but there are better cars with far better marketing and advertising strategies.

    To put forward the argument of NACs regurgitation the TF completely misses the point. The TF was very long in the tooth when MG Rover collapsed and would have struggled anyway with competition from more up to date cars such as the MX5. NAC didn’t understand and neither does SAIC. A reality check is indeed needed. Producing vehicles for the Chinese market or vehicles SAIC want to make is not necessarily the right strategy for the European or global market.

    I’ll regurgitate my own point again from previous blogs. MG needs to be a British subsidiary company of SAIC as JLR is a British subsidiary company of TATA. Going back to its roots and producing a new MGB or TF1500 roadster in the UK as a loss leading marketing strategy while producing sporty Chinese made hatches, saloons and yes SUVs that people get excited about and want to buy and perhaps and at some point, in the future, some even manufactured in the UK too as Nissan’s, Toyota’s and Honda’s are today – either that or put everyone out of their misery and put Roewe or Shanghai badges on the cars.

    You may trust the China Quality Association but I don’t care to and comparing it to the JD Power Survey just isn’t a comparison I wish to trust. However, if an MG comes high in the actual JD Power Survey then I will be impressed.

  24. Hilton D says:

    @antSO number 5 comment… I think you mean “hear hear” not “here here”. Perhaps you don’t agree with me but as I get older I have to admit to feeling “I don’t give a damm”. No offence intended. SUVs are fine if you need or want one – I could easily afford to buy one but, like I say, I don’t have the interest.

  25. lockupchap says:

    Like it or not, SUVs are where the demand now is.

    Soft-tops? How many days a year can you use one in these days of two month long rainy seasons with a few days to scorch the bald patch in between?

    Ever wondered why ragtop Morris Minors are worth hardly any more than saloons nowadays, and people no longer bother converting saloons?

  26. christopher storey says:

    I agree with almost every word in 23, except the question of the MX5. The TF was a far more up to date model than the MX5 has ever been. The MX5 is old both in conception and design, ( and indeed it has never been very convincing as a sports car ) and the only reason that I can see for its continuing to sell is that there is really no competition in the field of small(ish) 2 seater sporting cars , which is a market in any event that started to diminish as long ago as 1961 when the Mini Cooper first stunned everyone , and whose fate was all but sealed in the 1970s and early 1980s by the “GTI revolution”

  27. Will M says:

    @22

    MG missed the boat with the ’6′, it could’ve been marketed as an Octavia alternative. No diesel on launch didn’t help matters. It was not seen as a premium product.

    The ’3′ is pitched as a budget alternative to the customisable superminis, Adam/500/MINI.

    The problem currently is that not many people know that MG still exists.
    Of those that do, some will think of it as a Chinese product while others will blurt out some nonsense about head gaskets.

    The SUV, even if it is a cynical rebadging of a car that is not particularly familiar to UK buyers, is at least riding the crest of a wave. It could be seen as an alternative to the likes of the Renault Capture, with ’3′ style paint jobs.

  28. Bajan Dave says:

    As has been said here already, SUVs, like it or not, are the way the market is going and once, it looks good, offers value for money, is reliable and is marketed properly (for a change), it just might help generate showroom traffic.

  29. David Knowles says:

    @26 As much as I like the TF as I liked the MGF, even my rose-tinted specs do not make me believe that the Mazda MX-5/Miata is anything less than an excellent sports car that set the benchmark in its class.

  30. David Knowles says:

    @28 I don’t disagree. But I do find it crazy if MG do not have a sports car on the agenda before the opportunity passes into history…

  31. JagBoy says:

    Sports cars in that price point have had it – Mazda is not replacing its MX-5 without the help of FIAT, or Alfa as it will be, they are useless in real terms in the UK, what they need is SUVs of varying size, Electric cars, and engine and gearbox choices, the total lack of an Auto in either of the cars here is pathetic, as is the lack of engine choice.

    If they don’t hurry up and get into this decade, they will lose out big time, anyone for a Qoros?

  32. David Knowles says:

    @31 Turn what you have said on its head – Mazda are replacing their MX-5 (now celebrating its 25th anniversary) with the help of Alfa. Other car makers are either building or thinking about sports cars. And I go back to what does ‘MG’ mean? But, I agree with you that they need more choice, including autos and maybe hybrids.

  33. Tony Evans says:

    It may sell — but not to me.

    What the world really needs is another SUV clone to go with the Hyundai Freezer, Kia Microwave, Nissan Toaster, Vauxhall Mangle, Ford Fridge, Toyota Teasmade etc.

    The Chinese may play a long game, but it’s going to need to be a VERY long game for them to sell anything in quantity in the UK, I suspect.

    As for the use of the MG name on an SUV, well, that’s really good heritage. MG was originally souped up and sporty versions of Morris cars. Later, MG developed a range of small sports cars and sports saloons. I can’t see anything remotely sporty in ANY of the current offerings, 3, 6 or SUV. What I can see is bland oriental engineering making clones of what everything else is making.

    Rant over.

    Yawn.

  34. christopher storey says:

    David Knowles : it’s not really a question of rose-tinted specs re the MX5 . The plain fact is that for the last 3 years, MX5 sales have hovered around the 3000 a year mark in the UK . In Europe the car hardly sells at all. It has been kept going when hopelessly obsolete for years by some (but gradually disappearing) US sales. Can you imagine what MG would have said about such numbers had they still been in business? Sad to me though it is, there is no longer a viable market for moderately priced (but by no means cheap) sports cars.

  35. Big H Big H says:

    @26 What a load of tosh re MX5 & MG TF

  36. christopher storey says:

    35. So pleased to read your highly intelligent contribution. Any more pearls of wisdom ??

  37. Andrew says:

    Dear Big H,

    It would be helpful if you would explain what you didn’t like about Christopher’s piece.

    M.

  38. Neil B says:

    Presently, sports car sales are moribund in the western world, likely due to the economic downturn? There has never been a market for them in the East. Perhaps that will change as youngsters (the traditional sports car buyers) in Asia grow more affluent? At that point the Chinese may start knocking them out for the home and hopefully export market.

    To keep the MG name going in the UK bring on the SUV, it is what the market wants. However, to succeed it will need a decent dealer back up and that is another story.

  39. Big H Big H says:

    The TF/F has all the build integrity of a bad kit car. Nothing remotely new about a TF two front ends of a Metro glued together… Badly!

    MX5 is a modern day Elan – an exceptionally well-balanced chassis It could do power if you want to be critical.

    Any TF/F you seem to sit on them rather than a snug sporty driving position. Sure they drive fairly tidy but to say an MX5 is old in comparison is as I said TOSH! They should have started with a clean sheet design. Even if that was a FWD design

  40. Dave Dawson says:

    Just what are SAIC’s objectives, timescales for MG UK, the UK and wider European market? Here we all are deliberating about what they should and shouldn’t do. Maybe they have no real intentions of doing much at all outside China for the foreseeable future.

    We assume they want to play on the heritage bit and recreate the MG of old. We want them to at least focus on cars with a sporting feel, a premium edge. Maybe SAIC have no desire to establish a more quality image. Maybe they just want to be a Kia alternative.

    Is a large part of today’s car buying public not particularly brand conscious? Many are certainly not enthusiastic. Does SAIC really want to continue MG’s past, build an image on its history if their aim is simply to sell more budget vehicles to the less interested buyer?

  41. David Knowles says:

    @35 & @39 if there is no market for sports cars, then why are there such vehicles on sale or being planned/considered as the MINI Roadster, MX-5, new Alfa Spyder, BMW Z4, BMW Z2/ Toyota sports car, Toyota/ Subaru, Nissan sports car being planned, Kia Stinger concept, Daihatsu Copen (planned), new Honda Beat, Lotus Elise, Alfa Romeo 4C, Porsche Boxster (higher price admittedly, but a four-cylinder mooted)? I also agree that the suggestion that the Mazda MX-5 is an inferior sports car is an odd one, shared by hardly anyone I have ever come across; that negative view certainly doesn’t match that of magazines like Autocar whose views I respect.

  42. David Knowles says:

    @40 Good questions!

  43. Neil B says:

    David, I am not saying there is no market for sports cars, rather the market is not what it was in the West say 7 years ago. In the UK, BMW struggle to shift the Z4 and the MX5 is a slow seller. Both of them are great cars. Sports cars/roadsters/2 seaters are always going to be discretionary purchases for most people. The market may recover if we rise from recession who knows?

    No manufacturer can survive on sports cars alone, not even Porsche. Lotus is virtually bust. Sports cars are only really viable to profitable and successful companies. To the others they are a vanity project just like the MG X Power SV, well documented by you with Crowood Press.

    I write this as a previous owner of MGs Z3/4s and a Cayman, who now drives a large German SUV.

  44. francis brett francis brett says:

    “The MG6 is not seen as a premium product” Doh, it’s not sold on a premium ticket.

    Hardly anyone is offering anything new, only reheated negativity – it’s a wonder why you bother posting.

    Then the barely-disguised xenophobia against anything Chinese, hidden just enough so as not to be accused of loquacious comments and jingoism.

    I think the clue in MGUK means exactly that, a British subsidiary of SAIC.

  45. maestrowoff says:

    If the MG range was badged something more honest (eg. SAIC or Shanghai) then we’d see it for what it is, a range of ordinary vehicles, selling on value for money, basically Chinese cars, but with some (not all) UK design input.

    An SUV for such a range makes perfect sense, that’s where the sales are.

    Forget the MG badge, that was the badge they managed to get hold of, genuinely sporty cars are a long way down the list of priorities.

  46. David Knowles says:

    @43 Neil, granted the current recession has been a major factor in reduced sales, but the UK car market is recovering well. Clearly SUVs sell well enough and a good MG offering in that sector makes sense. UK sales alone would not be enough to justify a new MG sports car, and the European market has some way to catch up. But if other car makers are planning sports cars, what do they know that the rest of us do not? Personally, I don’t drive a large German SUV as I don’t need/ want one but I appreciate that a significant number of other people may do.

  47. Dave Dawson says:

    With the right marketing effort public opinion, demand could change, shift away from the surplus to requirement SUV. MG could lead the way with a smaller, sporty car – appealing to the heart through being simply ‘cool’ and the head due to its lower purchase price and running costs. Far more in tune with today’s economic and environmental times!

  48. drae says:

    @31

    Lack of engine choice, lack of transmission choices. Sounds just like MG/Rover/BL/Leyland of old.

  49. David Knowles says:

    @45 your views would be welcome.

  50. Craig England says:

    Despite road test after road test exclaiming that the MG3 and MG6 are fit to wear the badge – drive and handle as they should, people still refuse to believe it?!

    Evo magazine said that the MG6 had hints of Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Evo.

    Autocar said that the MG3 has no right to handle as well as it does at its low price point.

    Why can’t we see these as bargain-priced sporty cars instead of ‘budget far eastern’?!

  51. Paul the Van says:

    Smart move of SAIC. That car will probably be the best selling MG-model for years. Something like the Dacia Duster.
    And like BMW does with the MINI, SAIC can do whatever they like to do with the MG-brand. They own it.
    We had our chance keeping all the brands in British hands, but we simply didn’t buy their products…

    Oh, did you hear about FIAT? Or better; FCA.
    The head office is now in Holland end the financial center is in the UK?

  52. David Knowles says:

    @50 I think sadly that for most of the Great British Public it is not so much refuse to believe as simply do not know or have a reason to care. These are certainly good cars and far better than some would credit, but to date sales have been dismal in comparison to just about anybody else, premium or otherwise. A much expanded dealer network will help, as will European sales. Without those, we’d be lucky to get anything, be that an MG SUV, sports car or spaceship.

  53. Will M says:

    @51

    Manufacturing facilities in Poland and Detroit.

    Italian manufacturing to be kept for the ‘premium’ models ie. Alfa, Maserati, Ferrari.

    Western Europe can’t really compete at the budget end, hence MINI is priced at a premium, while the likes of the UK-built Qashqais aren’t premium, they aren’t exactly cheap either.

  54. Slartybartfast says:

    @51

    You comment “SAIC can do exactly what they want with the MG brand. They own it.”

    Yes that’s correct. Completely waste an opportunity and that’s exactly what they are doing.

    This site is just a few guys chewing the fat who have watched the market for years. Only because some marketing guy with a bit of blag says MG should do this and that and stick their heads in the sand doesn’t make it right. If SAIC wish to procure a plan of failure, which is exactly the plan they have as statistics show, then we can’t stop them… So what?

    Your other comment “Smart move of SAIC. That car will probably be the best selling MG-model for years.” Well, that won’t be hard to achieve.
    An SUV is their best but most obvious idea yet. Fingers crossed it works for the sake of the designers, engineers and 40 fitters in the UK. If they do it, then I hope the men from Shanghai don’t cock it up as much as they have with everything to date.

    @44 Francis
    Trying to play the racist card just doesn’t wash, no one is being racist, only an idiot would be. No one shoves that argument out with TATA, Nissan, Honda and Toyota and no one is with SAIC and the Chinese too. Just a cheap shot…

  55. Craig England says:

    I think hotter versions of the cars that we already have would go a long way to creating that ‘desiribility’ factor.

    I also think that the ’3 and ’6 are good cars that are worthy of the MG badge – but that they could benefit from further development, marketing and tuning.

    Im quite a young MG enthusiast and the only models that have really made any impact on me are the M’s and the zeds – MG need to capture the younger buyers and look to the future. Ive lost count of the amount of times Abingdon has been mentioned over the years but they havent made a car there since I was born.

  56. David Knowles says:

    @55 Craig, I think you are quite right; they certainly do need to build on the MG3 and MG6 models. I do understand your point about Abingdon being almost ‘mythological ancient history’ for you, as it was a long time ago (although believe me, the place and the people genuinely were magical, and it was a sad day when the place was closed).

    However, for ‘nostalgia’ also read ‘heritage’ and ‘credibility’. The BMW people behind MINI are making great noises about the anniversary of the Mini Cooper S, which was built not by them but variously at Brum and Cowley and tuned at BMC Comps (at Abingdon!). The appeal of MG ought to stem from its sporting roots and a sports car really ought to be at the heart of that. A Porsche Cayenne buyer wants a big German SUV but he buys it in the knowledge that it will be well built and engineered by the same company that builds the 911.

  57. Paul the Van says:

    Waste of an opportunity?
    What opportunity?
    Sportscars?
    Niche market.
    Like already said, look at Porsche. They are collecting some serious money. Not with their sportcars, but with their imho fugly Cayenne and Panamera.
    But people buy ‘em.
    That’s enough reason.

  58. Slartybartfast says:

    @57
    As I said an SUV is their best idea..and as I said previously know one disagree with that… what’s your point?

    I cant see how you can compare Porsche to MG. Porsche is a highly established premium car company with an exceptional reputation with a continued and consistent marketing message over decades. MG, over the past few years, if not decades, has been mixed messages and stop start.

    If you think the current plan with the bargain basement 3 and 6 with exceptionally poor marketing and budgets has created opportunity then just look at the figures.
    MG was and still could be a great mark. SAIC like most Chinese companies play a slow game,nothing wrong with that, but pointless if its in the wrong direction to start with and SAIC keep blindly saying they are right when the markets’ are saying they are wrong. (well certainly outside China anyway).

  59. David Knowles says:

    You can read all about the Porsche Macan here… http://europe.autonews.com/article/20140211/ANE/140219979/porsche-ceo-sees-sales-exceeding-200000-in-2015-on-macan-demand?cciid=email-ane-daily&r=2661J6022245D3V

    It is clear that Porsche see the SUV market as crucial to them too, with projected Porsche SUV sales likely to dominate their whole output. But they do still underpin this with some genuine, class-leading sports cars at the heart of their range. Even Alfa Romeo will doubtless expand into SUVs (along with Maserati) but have in the meantime launched the gorgeous Alfa Romeo 4C.

  60. Craig England says:

    @57

    You say that MG have been stop/start and sending mixed messages for decades. So when was the last proper MG released? When were you most happy as an MG enthusiast?

    To me it seems that they have been making mildly sporting saloons for the past 30 years?!

  61. Will M says:

    MG are sports saloons and hatchbacks.
    Previously tuned versions of Morris/Austin/Rovers, technically this continues with the badge applied to Roewes.

    However there is a roadster / sports coupe heritage in there too.
    Mind you until this year Alfa Romeo didn’t have a sports coupe since the Brera / GT were killed off, and still don’t have a roadster until the badge engineered MX-5 comes along.

    So maybe co-operating with another manufacturer would provide an MG coupe/roadster as a halo vehicle?
    The axed Renault Wind perhaps?

    For volume sales, the SUV is a must-have. A bread and butter vehicle that will sell well.

  62. David Knowles says:

    @61 I’d suggest that Alfa Romeo could be a role model. MG Rover tried to do a ‘super MG’ in the form of the MG XPower SV, which was a slightly crazy project in many ways but really not as wasteful as some would believe. In real budget terms it was comparatively cheaper than the new MG and Rover mainstream models that never made it to production. The Alfa Romeo 4C that Richard Hammond drove for Top Gear on Sunday will generate lots of brand equity, all of the production run is sold out already, and it paves the way for another low volume 4C roadster as well as the Mazda/Alfa sports car.

    In terms of a partner, once I’d have suggested that SAIC cosied up to Mazda too, but as China/Japan relationships cooled that might seem less likely. SAIC is a very wealthy company trading in a massive domestic car market but is reliant still on GM and VW joint ventures. Most of the GM J/V forward development focus is on hybrids and electric vehicles, but I would argue they could still look to GM for a sports car J/V. A GM insider tells me that the Pontiac Solstice platform is out of date and was ‘not very good’ but an all-new sports car platform would cost about the same as reinvigorating the old one.

    However, isn’t it interesting that for their SUV, SAIC are not turning to VW or GM? I guess it comes down to jealously guarded IPR by those companies, as much as corporate pride. But then again, GM and SAIC are working together on new small engines. I feel that a halo vehicle is badly needed as without it, what does MG mean to the person in the street? Don’t say MG ZR/ZS/ZT (and I own one of the latter!) because to most of the population, it really doesn’t. I gave a lift to the teenage son of one of my daughters and he saw the MG badge on the steering wheel. ‘What is an MG?’ he asked (meaning in effect ‘I’ve never heard of it’). You just know he wouldn’t have asked ‘what is a BMW?’ or ‘what is a Jaguar?’ in quite the same way. We undoubtedly need some new product like the SUV to generate the sales revenue; the question is, what will draw in the customers in the first place?

  63. David Knowles says:

    @62 WTF was I saying? Actually meant to say the teenage friend of one of my daughters, not her son. Neither she nor I am that old. D’Oh!

  64. Slartybartfast says:

    @60 Craig England

    MG has been stop start for years, re-badged Maestros and Montego sports saloons, Stop then a hiatus of years before Start RV8 Roadster stop, Start MG F and Z cars stop, start TF again, stop, start MG 6 budget car. If that’s not stop/start and mixed messages then I don’t know what is Craig.

    For me, my friend, MGs should be a small car Jaguar with sporty saloons/hatches and sports cars/roadsters and as Jag are putting forward an SUV then why not. MG is or was essentially a sporting car company from Cecil Kimber to the Phoenix 4, be that saloons or roadsters on and off but the SAIC cars are not and they couldn’t give a damn what anyone in the UK or anywhere else thinks, which is why their sales are so poor. They like talking about “Morris Garages” but don’t understand the brand or indeed want too. Their own market is the only thing that really matters to them and they love informing everyone there about its “English heritage”.

    As much as I would like to see a good plan going forward and be positive as I am with just about every other “UK” company its not going to happen any time soon…. Que Sera, Sera

  65. David Knowles says:

    @64 Slarty, I have to say that on the evidence to date, I agree with much of what you say. If most people contributing here have anything in common, it is a desire to see MG do well. Where folk differ is in how likely that is to transpire, and on some of the actions to climb that particular mountain. A good SUV should help, but so would a sports car!

  66. David 3500 says:

    @ David Knowles – Comment 63:

    I am a great admirer of your authoritative published work and obvious knowledge of the MG marque. Therefore please use a less severe word such a “goodness” rather than resort to using that awful 21st Century acronym “WTF”. Sadly most of us know what it stands for in its full, beastly sense.

  67. David Knowles says:

    What the flip?

  68. David 3500 says:

    @ David Knowles:

    That definitely sounds better than the obvious use of the abbreviation. Interpretation accepted!

  69. Dave Dawson says:

    My previous post is rather idealistic. It is, however, not impossible to capture the public’s imagination with the right promotional campaign and achieve big sales from a low start. Yet MG are attempting no such thing. Not even promoting to achieve modest UK sales.

    Craig @ 50 and 55. Agreed. The 3 and 6 are already mildly sporty. Why not tune them to give 3Z and 6Z. NOW! This could hugely enhance MG image, desirability. You say similar – if your low twenties your MG memory is only Zed car and, boy, they were popular!

  70. David Knowles says:

    I remember my first drive of a ZR; it was at the press launch in Cardiff in 2001. We drove a yellow ZR, a blue ZS and a yellow ZT. The ZS and ZT had the lovely KV6 but the most surprising was the little ZR. I have a memory of driving it down a Welsh country road past a pub, through the window of which I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a local with a pint in his hand. He caught a glimpse of the bright yellow ZR and I remember his head swivelled (along with his beer) as an expression of disbelief started to form – by when I was gone.

    One of the clever things with the ZR was that, whilst a young man (or woman) would drive or aspire to one, their grandad or granny might be equally enthusiastic about their Rover 25. That takes some doing – for essentially the same basic car spanning generations so well. But it worked because the wheels, suspension, engine spec, ride height, body and trim and so on all added up to a sexy little number. And in the background (for me at least) was the MGF (soon the TF) as part of the family, with the ZR160 sharing its engine with the mid-engined sports car.

    Not long afterwards, I bucked what seems to be the trend nowadays and sold my Land Rover Freelander (SUV) to buy an MG ZT-T190 which I still own. I could have bought a BMW (I’d had a 3-series previously) or an Audi but I chose an MG instead. That was where MG (the ZT at least) sat in the market place. I truly hope that the MG6 and MG3 mark the start of a successful new chapter, but the jury is still out until those sales start to mushroom and we see more models and variants…

  71. Pedro the parrot says:

    One thing that I don’t think has been mentioned at all here is a change in the buyers of cars. Women, I suggest have a much bigger stake in the nature of car design than in years gone by. This may be part of the reason for the success of SUVs. Sports cars, a very masculine terrain are indeed in the doldrums (with the exception of the MX5, which I believe is marketed towards women). Women (yes I may be shot down in flames by one or two here) are likely to be more interested in fashionability, interior styling, comfort, space, trim levels, safety (percieved or otherwise) than men are. To me this MG fits this trend. Women I believe are the growth area for modern car makers and will continue to have more buying power and influence.

  72. David Knowles says:

    @71 Two points. Sports cars are not ‘in the doldrums’ if you read the latest media reports; quite the reverse (it isn’t just me wittering on about it!). Secondly, I’m not sure that all sports cars are ‘a very masculine terrain’ because quite a few appeal to female user/choosers. I’d agree that the typical real world customer demographic may not be the same for all models (e.g. contrast say a Lotus Elise with a Mazda MX-5 with electric folding hardtop) but I’d suggest that a new MG sports car could well appeal equally to both sexes.

  73. David 3500 says:

    I genuinely do believe that under the right conditions there could be an opportunity for MG Motor UK Ltd to work with Lotus to deliver a new MG sports car for sale in the UK, Central Europe and other market territories. After all such an arrangement had previously worked well with GM’s European operations with the VXR 220.

    For MG Motor UK Ltd, such an arrangement would provide them with an existing chassis to work with (whatever one from Lotus’s line-up that might be), which will be a relatively fast and cost effective route to the showroom. There may even be the flexibility to look beyond the obvious SAIC supplied engines and look at GM units, given there is already a working relationship between the two companies. For Lotus, it would be an effective way to sell more metal in the form of platforms and at the same time deliver another important source of revenue. Lotus could also be involved in some of the partial assembly of the vehicle (e.g. to body in white standard), with the majority of the remaining tasks carried out at Longbridge.

    Further R&D, particularly to engine development (e.g. forced induction) could even be undertaken by specialist companies such as Ricardo or Tickford for a relatively low cost and without the usual ‘red tape’ constraints or internal politics to impede progress. Such engines could then potentially be extended to other low volume built specialist derivatives in the MG3 and MG6 ranges. Consider the work that Tickford Engineering undertook for Rover Cars in the late 1980′s with the turbocharged 2-litre M16i engine which was introduced in the limited edition ‘XX’ generation 820 Turbo 16v, announced in March 1991.

    Just my thoughts…

  74. David Knowles says:

    @73 … and jolly good thoughts they are, too.

  75. David Knowles says:

    @72… As one example, the cover of this month’s ‘EVO’ magazine proclaims: ‘evo Magazine: March 2014
    Could this be the sportscar’s greatest year?’
    http://www.evo.co.uk/news/evonews/291685/evo_magazine_march_2014.html

  76. Rob H says:

    @73.. Those conditions would be the same as if the moon were to turn into cheese!

  77. David Knowles says:

    @76 Que?

  78. marinast says:

    An MG SUV does make good commercial sense.

    However basing it on a Ssangyong will result in a pile of turd like the MG5 and let’s face it the spy pictures of the new MG SUV show it to be an over bodied, bland vehicle. Another just for the Chinese market me thinks.

  79. Dave Dawson says:

    @ 73 David 3500

    Yes indeed! That’s some great thinking!!

  80. David Knowles says:

    Meanwhile, the Mazda MX-5 celebrates 25 years… ‘it’s not trendy’ says designer Tom Matano, but it has clearly seen solid sales and hasn’t exactly harmed Mazda’s main stream model sales…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1qgtCt1jG0

    In amongst the still photos you will spot the Triumph Spitfire that they used for much of their inspiration.

  81. francis brett francis brett says:

    @54, Who mentioned racism? If you want to make a point don’t put words in my mouth.
    Comment 78 sort of illustrates my point.

  82. Neil B says:

    The new MX5 is a lovely looking roadster, almost a mini-F-Type to my eyes. You can expect it to sell like hot cakes worldwide for a year or two. Then when everybody has bought one and it is considered a bit passé, out will come the endless limited additions. Add in 0% finance deals and it will settle down to steady sales. Problem is it is too girlie for most blokes to consider it seriously?

    From what I have gleaned from the motoring mags a Coupe and a wider range of engines maybe offered. Doing that and adding a bit of aggression will widen it’s appeal.

    Thinking about it what is there to stop (apart from the lack of cash) Mazda from becoming a modern day Triumph. Producing the equivalent of a Spitfire, GT6, TR6 and even a Stag? Better get producing a bigger range of SUVs to fund it.

  83. David Knowles says:

    The Mazda MX-5 has sold well enough for 25 years. The MGB sold for 18 years, with its best year in 1977. The Mustang has been selling for 50 years. Mazda are bringing back the RX-7, another name from the past. My point? These models/ sub-brands can generate modest but long-lasting revenue but, more importantly, boost the main brand equity. They get people talking about the brand, intetested in it, maybe joining clubs or posting on social media, and into the showrooms.

  84. Will M says:

    @David Knowles

    Agree with you that MG should be leveraging its connections with GM a bit more. GM needs SAIC to sell in China, one of the world’s biggest markets – this alone should give SAIC influence to sharing/using GM engines / platforms / models / dealers (lot of ex-Chevy dealers soon…)

    The Vauxhall Cascada seems to be a slow seller. With an MG badge and priced right it could scoop up a lot of ex-Saab 93 cabrio owners…

  85. David Knowles says:

    @83 … and that could BE what one might define as ‘being in it for the long term’… ;)

  86. Slartybartfast says:

    @81 Francis

    xenophobia : deep-rooted, irrational hatred towards foreigners : showing an intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries…. in other words racist attitude.

    I haven’t seen any of that on this site dear boy, thinly disguised or not. @78 is just voicing his opinion of a car and the market he believes its aimed at, thats not Xenophobia but I do understand were your opinion is and what you mean. Most critics of SAIC are just frustrated with the direction thats all.

  87. Paul Taylor Paul Taylor says:

    @86

    Have a trawl through some other related blogs on this siteI think you will find Francis has a very valid point….

  88. francis brett francis brett says:

    @86, Please don’t be an apologist for anyone on this site, again, you are using the word racist.

    I know your capacity wont let you excavate too deeply the context in which my post was stated but I will clear it up anyway.

    To me a spade is a spade, if I thought for a moment anyone was being racist first off I would say so and PM the site admin.

    No doubt you would have hopped, skipped and jumped on Wiki and selectively picked upon any hint of racism and drooled at placing that in your reply, yet thought nothing of excluding or quoting Webster- unreasonable fear or hatred of something unfamiliar.

    Just a cursory glance through threads and posts reveal comments of a similar vein, some as notable as Yorkie- the Scamp!

    Chinese crap, Chinese shit and death-trap’s are some of the gems that are emblazoned with unbridled glee.

    MGUK/SAIC knocking has been done to death now and silly titillating sniping is getting somewhat tiresome, but at least we have some Forbes top ten captains of industry amongst this community, fully in the know- brought to us on comment 78, telling us what nobody knew that the forthcoming CS is a pile of crap-only fit for the Chinese market- Jingoism in its purest form.

  89. David Knowles says:

    It is a great shame when a debate degenerates into baser instincts. There is, surely, as I suggested earlier, a shared passion among most of the contributors here about things ‘MG’ even if clearly not everyone shares the same opinion. On the one hand, there are those who will never be satisfied with anything that SAIC ever do and, at the other extreme, there those who simply want SAIC to get on with their plans untroubled by any of us.

    SAIC have the ownership of MG and clearly can (and certainly will) do what they please. It would be naive to imagine they are actively developing the brand without being interested in their customers’ views, even if we are a very small part of that. But they cannot unilaterally stop the debate and neither can any others. I suppose some of us are like concerned aunts and uncles (and some others are more unruly members of the family). I agree however that descending into racist stereotypes serves no constructive purpose whatsoever.

  90. David Knowles says:

    Back in 2010, Autocar’s Richard Bremner went to Shanghai and wrote a piece that was also picked up on this website by our Clive: http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/news/press-report-making-mg-great-again/. The headline on AROnline was ‘Press Report : Making MG great again’. The Bremner original is at http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/making-mg-great-again.

    I hope we can all at least agree that we’d like MG to be great again too…

  91. insideimsmiling says:

    It seems to be generally agreed having read through the thread that the need for an SUV to bring sales and increase brand awareness is most pressing, with a sports car developed with a partner is required to give an air of authenticity to the new MG company. Lets just hope that MGUK are reading.

    On a different vein I bought an MX5 following 3 MGFs expecting to be blown away. The fact is dynamically the gap did not seem to be as large as the media would have you believe and the same is true for the interior. The MGF seems to me more of an MGB replacement with the MX5 more Midget when it comes to interior room. Also the idea that the MX5 is so much better than the aged MG & Triumph sportscars of my youth has now been dispelled as they reach a similar age as those comparisons were when the MX5 was new, and rust combined with poor care by the numerous owners over the years takes its tole.

  92. Colm says:

    Rebranding Korean dullboxes with a once great badge for Europe didn’t work out for Chevrolet. People aren’t that stupid to just blindly buy anything with an MG badge on it.

  93. David Knowles says:

    A small point. Isn’t SsangYong owned by Mahindra of India these days? (since 2011 I believe). If so, why would SAIC want to use a SsangYong Korando as the base for their new SUV? Just a thought…

  94. David Knowles says:

    Trivia Dept.; allegedly, “Korando” stands for ‘Korea can so….’

  95. David Knowles says:

    Korea can do….

  96. francis brett francis brett says:

    Its very easy to knock something like the CS SUV before it has even been built let alone test driven.

  97. David Knowles says:

    @96 I agree.

  98. David Knowles says:

    I suppose that this statement from June 2011 might give cause for some moderate optimism about a sports car:

    ‘A replacement for the TF roadster is due in 2016 in the UK. ‘If you don’t have a sports car, the brand doesn’t look so robust,’ Liu Tao, the carmaker’s Product Planning Director said.’

    (source: http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/news/mg-news/press-report-saic-motor-targets-europe-with-new-mg-models/)

  99. g scoth says:

    when you look at the news where china is taking over large parts of open sea as theirs .bulling there niebours, I would not buy one of thee cars ,

  100. David Knowles says:

    @99 Thank you for that thoughtful interlude.

  101. francis brett francis brett says:

    @99,

    But it is alright for he USA to do the same?
    Think for yourself, I started doing that when the west and the media pumped out WMD in Iraq.

    It was because of China and Russia we are not closer to WW3 with the USA Not bombing Syria on the false flag chemical weapons assault, did the news tell you about Saudi supplying those chems to the rebels? Or that Turkish border forces interdicted so called “activists” with those same weapons?

    Research the USA’s foreign policy and you will wonder why China is flexing its muscles, then you wont have to blather away lazy quotes from the media.

    Given what the world knows about our great pal the US and NSA I certainly would not trust them.

    Now, back to the car…

  102. g scoth says:

    I would have a sunderland made car rather than one from china ,

  103. David Knowles says:

    @102 I can see that is an obvious point, for the Nissan Qashquai, arguably the most successful SUV in its class, is a Sunderland-built as well as European-engineered and styled product. My local Nissan dealer (I do have a Nissan agent nearby, but sadly not an MG one) has often displayed a Micra emblazoned with an ‘Austin Powers Shaguar’ style Union Flag paint job on it.

  104. francis brett francis brett says:

    @102, But folk just love those Chinese made iphones.

  105. David Knowles says:

    Here is Autocar’s road test of the new ‘Mark II’ Nissan Qashquai, which earns lots of praise and 4.5 stars (out of 5): http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/nissan/qashqai

    This will be the SUV to beat… I know that Tony Williams-Kenny was an admirer of the first-generation Qashquai, and Martin Uhlarick, who heads up the UK studio, came to SAIC from Nissan Europe…as you will see on the ‘Car Design News’ website where it says: ‘During his career he has worked on the interiors of all first-generation Skoda products to the 2003 Nissan Evalia concept, as well as the 2007 Nissan NV200 concept and 2010 upgrade of the Nissan Qashqai’

  106. David Knowles says:

    Funny to dig this old thread out of the abyss and think that since then, we’ve had the MINI Superleggera concept for a new sports car and a story by Richard Bremner that SAIC has era woken thoughts of a new MG sports car. Meanwhile we await sight of the production MG CS SUV. Inteesting times.

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