By 17 February 2011 35 Comments Read More →

Essays : MG6 – Now listen here guys

Words: Steven Ward Photographs: Dave Leader    

MG6 saloon is unveiled

The MG6 Saloon is unveiled

Tuesday, 16th February, 2011 was bound by freezing fog as I left the home town of Nissan (UK) at 6.00hrs and headed to Birmingham, home town of MG Motor UK for 10.30hrs. Somebody with connections had read my critical MG6 Essay on AROnline and felt I should attend the Media  Briefing at Longbridge to see if my concerns were well founded. I was to investigate and report back here.   

Indeed, such was the huge response created by the article and the general negativity of the comments generated. that I felt a sense of responsibility to investigate further.  This jaw-dropping opportunity was therefore seized upon. My day job could wait. Besides, I had one burning question twisting away in my mind.   

The Parent Company
Guy Jones, head of Sales & Marketing for MG Motor UK Limited took no time in socking it to the assembled hacks. He pointed out that MG’s parent company, SAIC Motor ‘is the largest manufacturer in the world’s largest market.’ That woke me up. China has annual vehicle sales of 18 million units and these are increasing rapidly. For perspective, the UK market is stagnant at a mere 2m.   

Guy continued: ‘SAIC Motor is the number one partner for Joint Ventures in China.’ He means co-operation with VW and GM – with GM choosing to use SAIC Motor exclusively. SAIC Motor has sales of 3.58 million (and increasing) which places them within the Top 10 of vehicle manufacturers in the world.  Look at it this way, MG appears to be part of a new world ‘BL’ with regard parent company size – only this time, contraction and retrenchment are not on the cards.   

For reference, MG’s sister brand is Roewe and their combined sales last year totalled 160,000 units, virtually all in China, virtually all Roewe.  This is expected to increase rapidly as a whole family of new MG and Roewes are designed and developed.   

Longbridge
Again, more startling figures from Guy Jones.  Longbridge has benefited from £45,000,000 of investment.  You can add to that figure the overheads of running the facility and having around 400 people on the payroll.  What this means is that Longbridge is capable of designing, testing and manufacturing a car from a clean sheet of paper.   

If you don’t believe me, then consider the UK-spec MG6 is effectively the fifth car to come from this Design Team.  The Roewe 550 came first and that is considered the benchmark car in China. This was followed by the Chinese-market MG6 Fastback and Saloon, the Roewe 350 and the Roewe 750 ‘Mild’ Hybrid (whatever that is).  This level and pace of development has taken hundreds of millions of pounds to achieve.   

UK Staff
Longbridge can essentially be split in three components.

MG Motor UK:
employs around 100 staff – their role is to manufacture and sell cars to the UK.  That was previously the TF and will shortly be MG6 Fastback and Saloon.   

SAIC European Engineering Technical Centre: employs 275 Engineers (although 300 on site) to design and test cars, powertrains and electrical systems. This is housed in the old Sales and Marketing office which was superb when I toured in 2005. Finally, and surprisingly,   

SAIC European Design Centre: employs 25 Designers and their role is one of global design for SAIC Motor’s own-brand products worldwide.  That is quite some achievement when you consider it is headed up by an enthusiastic Englishman, Tony Williams-Kenny.   

Most of these employees are ex-MG Rover – in some departments 95% of the staff are ‘old-hands’. There is new technical Training College (in the old PVS office and merchandise shop). There are also a new Electronics Testing Facility with a simulation LabCar (we were shown slides) and a £5m Engine Test Facility which is 90% complete. The Powertrain people share an office with the rest of the Engineering team but they kept away from others by a ‘Berlin Wall’ arrangement. Those mad scientists…   

MG6 Assembly
The MG6 is to be assembled on the old 75 line which, contrary to popular belief, was not ripped out. This was mothballed and periodically run until now. Money was has been spent to overhaul and adapt it to suit the MG6. The controversial bit is how much MG6 assembly is done here.  Not a lot is the honest answer – you’re looking at it being around 80% complete. Assembly here includes;   

  • The engine is joined to the (new) gearbox here (although they are manufactured in China)
  • The ‘stuff-up’ (powertrain into body essentially)
  • Front suspension & subframe (Chinese sourced)
  • Underbody fix
  • Exhaust
  • Wheels (sourced here)
  • Bumpers.
  • All the electrics system testing (MG are especially proud of the new electrics)
  • Fluids are added
  • Engine fired-up and vehicle dynamically tested

   

The MG6 arrives in Felixstowe docks from China in this ‘CKD’ (Complete Knocked Down – usually meaning in kit form) state on a specially designed frame which carries two cars. Some small fixings and electrics are UK-sourced as well as the wheels (rumoured to be from Team Dynamics) and (likely Dunlop) tyres.The current General Assembly workforce can, as of now, comfortably produce 5000 cars per annum.   

However, should demand rise, Longbridge can up this figure to 40,000 per year using just a dayshift. Painting is currently done in China but the still-modern Paint Shop at Longbridge would be re-commissioned if production rose to around the 30,ooo per annum mark. It is not lost on MG Motor UK that the MINI Assembly Hall is there, brand new and still, 10 years on, unused…   

On Valentine’s Day this year, the state of the art factory in China pushed the button to start UK-spec MG6 production. From there, it’ll take two weeks for each car to be assembled from scratch and taken to the docks. It will then spend 4 weeks on the high seas before reaching the UK. The first cars to leave Longbridge fully complete are set to do so in mid-April.   

MG6 – Styling
The styling is a success to my eyes – although it is slightly derivative in some respects.  Designed by Tony Williams-Kenny (ex-MGR), the car looks taut, edgy and confident. Deep, curvaceous sides with a crisp shoulder belt-line that lacks a rubbing stripwill mean parking away from humans in confined car parks.

I reckon that the Saloon works best and this has been reflected in customer clinics – surprising MG. To their credit, they’ve brought forward the Saloon’s launch date from September to July and re-jigged the sales split 60/40 between Fastback/Saloon. Much is made of the car’s ‘strength and character’ and ‘desirable British style.’   

The MG badge is revised too – it has been ‘simplified’ for ‘modernity’ and is now finished in a satin chrome and appears three-dimensional to give a sense of ‘crafted solidity.’ Supposedly, the new-look badge will give a ‘trustworthy’ feel – it looks good, with the new red background colour, while those on cars appear to have a black mesh background. Interestingly, the petrol flap on MG6 appears to have been inspired by the Montego – it’s almost a mirror image!  Class.   

I did manage to get TW-K to one side and ask a very pertinent question: ‘What’s the angle of the tailgate on the Fastback’ I asked?  TW-K replied: ‘I’ve no idea, why? That’s an unusual question.’ I unleashed my devastating P.K. ‘Well, as Roy Axe gave the 800 Series Fastback a tailgate angle of 18 degrees as that’s what SD1 had when analysed, I’d define a fastback from the ashes of MG Rover as requiring a tailgate of 18 degrees’.    

TW-K, visibly on the back foot, floundered in light of my technical prowess. His reply was along the lines of ‘it looks right  – it’s too complex to measure as there are three points to take a reading from.’ His next question would probably have been: ‘have you ever kissed a girl?’  Thankfully, Doug Wallace, MG Motor UK’s PR and Events Manager, took me to lunch at this point. My burning question had burnt out…

MG6 – Mechanical

Long live the 160 bhp, K-Series Turbo. Yes, it may be called the TCI Tech, it may have a new cylinder head and a new make of Turbo charger (Mitsubishi, instead of Garrett, like the old 75 diesel), but it is essentially the same old trouble maker with a sound jacket.  Hopefully, the new cylinder head, new inlet manifold and cylinder head gaskets will cure the persistent HGF weakness.    

I have heard rumours that the new digital temp display is causing trouble on the Chinese-market MG6 and causing the engine to shut down – also, if that model of turbo is electrically manipulated and similar to that used by Mercedes, its reputation is said to be poor.    

I hope this won’t be the case – nothing of the like was mentioned on the tour. Fuel economy is said to be ‘high 30s mpg’ and the CO2 figure is 184 g/km (the MG ZT was 194 g/km) meaning first year road tax of £300, dropping to £250 thereafter.  Will this engine cut the mustard?    

The gearbox is said to be a brand new, in-house design, with five well-chosen ratios. I asked about why there was no six speed and was told that five good ratios rendered a sixth useless.  An MG-R style excuse and no mistake!  However, in fairness the forthcoming diesel, will have six forward cogs and, if the market demands it, that transmission can be fitted  to the petrol. While we’ve mentioned the diesel, I may as well spill the beans now – MG expects to have a diesel-engined 6 ready to go in 18 months.    

It’s a 1.9 litre engine designed in a three-way collaboration with Longbridge, China and a German supplier. Guy Jones was keen to stress three-way Joint Ventures are common in China.  When asked if the diesel was a unit ‘borrowed’ from another manufacturer, we were told it was to be a brand new, in-house design, although they had considered using a Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT) lump.    

Does that sound familiar?  Expect the diesel to have a CO2 figure of 140 g/km and be Euro 6 fit.  This new powertrain will spearhead the MG6’s assault on Europe and the UK fleet market. This will hopefully take annual output to 5000 without effort.  When asked, I was told an estate model is a possibility if sales are strong. However, no automatic gearbox is going to be offered or planned.    

I found this to be odd, when you consider the autobox is an option in China.  When I mentioned this I was told the autobox used in China wasn’t up to Western European demands.  In many ways, SAIC Motor and MG Motor UK remind me of Honda in that they are not prepared to buy-in others’ components.  Historically, Rover has always bought in autoboxes from AP, Borg-Warner, VW, ZF, Jatco, Honda, etc. This will no longer be the case… 

Suspension is similar to the old 75, but not identical. I wonder if BMW prevented use of their Z-axle or whether costs got in the way?  Not to worry because the new rear set-up looks competent (two transverse arms per side) and means the fuel tank is no longer the saddle affair from 75.    

Andy Kitson takes the credit for the new set-up, so expectations are high.  Kitson, if you recall, was largely responsible for the TF and ZED cars. P.K. Spotters will be pleased to hear his first solo project was the 800 Vitesse Sport. It is here where the MG6 will stand or fall. Much is made of the chassis’ competence that gives ‘engaging driving dynamics.’   

I was surprised to hear that the Golf was the benchmark. Indeed, such is the faith (and cost?) of this chassis that the words BMW 3 Series were mentioned and – get this – warranty implications. I’ll come to that later.    

MG6 – Interior
The boot is generous (2 sets of golf clubs are no problem for the fictitious executive) and has a huge spare wheel well.  Indeed, MG are promising ‘Class leading interior space.’ Sadly, I never got a chance to try it, although it seemed fine when I climbed in one at Goodwood way back in July last year.    

By class, MG are referring to the C/D-segments which means Focus and Mondeo to you and me. You don’t seem to sit quite as ‘high’ as you do in many of this type of car. This gives a more sporting feel. The glass area is quite shallow if you’re used to 45 too. The styling of the interior is modern and attractive. Interestingly, the switch gear for the windows and lights appears to have been lifted straight from a VW.    

I wonder if that was by design of default (remember the VW JVs in China). Either way, it must be looked upon as a Good Thing for Europe although I, for one, feel lost without a bit of Montego to push around. I cannot comment on the rest of the switchgear as I couldn’t (politely) get near and I preferred to fish for P.K.    

The body shell is said to be a heavy weight and I noticed a stout bracing plate underneath in the middle that was reminiscent of MGF/TF.  I have no dimensional figures to hand, other than I’m told that it’s sized between Focus and Mondeo.  My stats and knowledge are lacking in this area currently -other than to say its 4.65m long. Insurance groups are said to be ‘best in class’ at between 13 and 14.    

The MG6 is said to be ‘highly specified’ throughout the range to give ‘very strong value for money.’ It is reassuring to note that the MG6 interior clinicked as ‘disappointing’ compared to the exterior, so certain interior aspects are being re-thought as we speak – by customer clinics we mean the MG6 and its competitors were are all assembled, all de-badged and judged by members of the public who are deemed to be prospective buyers.    

MG6 – Prices
No firm details as yet. The prices for the base Fastback are said to start at £17k and go up to £20k for the top-of-the-tree Audi A4/BMW 3 Series – rivalling Saloon.  Before anyone comments, it was MG that made reference to those German rivals, not me.    

MG is looking to sell a ‘unique proposition’ that has the prestige and drive of a BMW 3 Series, at a Ford Focus price.  Ambitious to say the least – just look at how many times Alfa Romeo have attempted this. Interestingly, what brand has been re-launched more, MG or Alfa?    

Another slightly controversial aspect is the warranty.  MG are stating they are just going to give the MG6 an industry average (industry mean?) 3 years 60,000 miles warranty. They are not chasing the Korean duo of 5-7 years. They say the warranties are these Korean vehicles main selling points and that the MG6 has enough other attributes to attract sales, namely those ‘engaging driving dynamics’ and a ‘desirable British style.’    

The ‘MG message is not about warranty.’ Toyota was mentioned, but then passed over.  Hmm… I can understand where MG are coming from and, to a degree, it makes sense –  if you are risk adverse, you’ll not be buying a MG6. However, what was emphasised was that MG needs to be established as a ‘credible brand’ and that the MG6 was a ‘premium product.’    

Quality was mentioned repeatedly – SAIC Motor in China has given orders that volume and margins were second fiddle to quality. A five year warranty will be made available at extra cost through the Dealer Network. Being realistic, such is the truly awful reputation of Head Gasket failure and MG, not to be seen to be absolutely confident in your product must be short-sighted. Do MG grasp the sorry state of affairs brought about by the old K-Series weakness?    

I think not when they mention keep mentioning ‘Quality’ and ‘brand-building’ without the warranty commitment. Residuals, while a thorny subject will be held high by holding used cars in the Dealer Network (something Ford pioneered with the Mondeo) and the very modest sales target of just 2000 cars in 12 months.    

MG expects car finance to be taken out on 50% of cars sold, so residuals need to be decent.  This, somewhat unusually, points to the anticipated core-customer being a cash-rich person of, ahem, more mature years. When was the last time a manufacturer chased the older buyer?    

Big Bang
MG6 will be launched in two stages this year.  Mid-April for the Fastback and mid-July for the Saloon. We’re told to expect a ‘Big Bang’ of publicity which will include adverts by the fellow Geordie Ridley Scott.    

Ridley Scott is, of course,  famous for producing the R6 Metro advert.  Class…  Latest generation cameras are used for the action shots which are currently being finalised in Hong Kong. There are said to be 11,000 interested people on MG Motor UK’s database for the launch propaganda.    

However, what cannot be stressed enough, is that the MG6 is just the toe in the water for a huge and potentially vast range of cars. Next on the horizon is the MG3 which, at exactly 4 metres long, will be the biggest B-segment car available. The concept of this car was present for us to look over and sit in. It is not known if this car will be built at Longbridge. New powertrains are being made for this car with a variation of FPT’s ‘MultiAir’ technology if rumours are true.    

Expect three volume cars, possibly including a crossover SUV, before we get an MG TF replacement though.  A two seater is essential to the MG brand in my eyes and this programme suggests it is a long way off. There is a whole range of new engines undergoing development as well as advanced Hybrids and plug- in electric vehicles. SAIC Motor also has a JV with American battery manufacturer A123 Systems.    

A target of 1 million units is mentioned for combined MG and Roewe sales in 10 years hence. Like I said earlier, SAIC Motor are very ambitious.    

Dealers
There will be 50 dealers up for the launch, that’s up from the current 39. A couple of dealers have been let go and some 40 interested dealers were refused a franchise, but there are still gaps in the country where dealers are being actively sought. Entry to the franchise is relatively low cost at £16k and you should be no closer than 30 minutes to another outlet. Sales and workshop staff start their training at Longbridge imminently.    

MG is said to prefer to keep the franchises in small and family dealer groups rather than playing to the national dealer groups. Part of Tuesday’s event was the unveiling of the new MG Wall which is to project the brand style in dealerships. That’s basically the red wall and satin chrome MG badge you see behind the MG6 in the accompanying photos.    

It reminds me of the just-departed Honda dealer branding. To go with the new (Chinese red) look, there is a new web site, the Facebook page (3000 members gathered in less time than it took Hyundai was the proud message!) and new merchandise for those really keen enthusiasts.    

Parts supply is to be taken in house at Longbridge where parts will be kept for dealers, repairers and, of course, assembly. The technical helpdesks are also in house within Longbridge and not subcontracted to General Motors (who in turn subcontract to HP) as was previously believed.    

Brand Awareness
MG are looking to go back into motor sport in addition to the TV adverts and the complimentary Facebook campaign. Images of Le Mans were flashed-up and there were Touring cars on display in the Round House. When questioned on the subject, Guy Jones could not be specific and implied it was just their intentions at this point with nothing definite being pursued.    

MG is also going to actively engage MG6 owners with the MGCC and MGOC by showing them ‘An ownership experience to be loved’.  I’ve experienced the available lifestyle and fun to be had from fellow enthusiasts and it’s a great community. This is a good line to take I feel and will further engage those who’ve invested (gambled?) on the MG6 and maybe give confidence to those considering it.    

MG Motor UK is presently shying away from the world stage as they are staying local. Staying away from the world stage by not exhibiting at Geneva, Paris and the like is crazy in my view when even Iran’s Khodro can send out a (poorly) re-bodied 405 for such events. Never mind, MG will be having displays at Silverstone, Goodwood, MPH and the like this year.    

I suppose MG’s reasoning is that they are small, even compared to Roewe, so they are not going to stretch themselves. I wish them luck and I’m confident their modest expectations will be easily realised. MG are keen not to promise more than they can deliver but this can be seen as a weakness when very little is forthcoming.    

The next big event will the Ride and Drive Session for the Media in mid-April for the final MG6. Then we’ll see if the car lives up to the confident hype. MG must get that right to keep the brand alive, vibrant and, crucially, believable.    

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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Posted in: Essays, MG6
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

35 Comments on "Essays : MG6 – Now listen here guys"

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  1. Ianto says:

    An excellent article, Lord Sward.

    I have to say that, based on the running costs – “Fuel economy is said to be ‘high 30s mpg’ and the CO2 figure is 184 g/km (MG ZT was 194) meaning first year road tax of £300, dropping to £250 thereafter” – and today’s economic climate, it is going to put off a lot of buyers.

    The lack of a diesel is a killer blow, but I suspect they realise that and are just keen to launch and get the car out there. I just hope they get the right diesel and launch that as soon as possible. They need to pull something out of the hat if they are not offering economy, low running costs or a generous warranty.

    My suggestion would be to take a leaf out of Saab’s book and develop a twin turbo diesel which requires no road fund licence but goes like stink.

  2. Dolomite Fan says:

    The Saab diesel in question is a Fiat unit but MG have already decided against the use of that engine. Fuel economy shows that the K-Series, sorry TCI Tech engine is behind the times. Ford’s new EcoBoost 1.6 Turbo will do 180bhp and over 45mpg.

    My guess is they’ll phase out the TCI Tech in favour of the newer 1.5 Turbos used in China. Mind you, to be fair, emissions are less of a bother to a lot of private buyers who tend to look for overall value.

  3. Will says:

    Hopefully, they will realise the error of their ways, as Chevrolet did in the UK, and partner with somebody to supply a decent diesel engine (PSA – HDi/VW – TDi?).

    The Ridley Scott connection to the advert reminds me of his old Apple Mac launch advert.

    Imagine a bleak, grey futuristic room, lines of BMW 3 Series drivers staring blankly at a screen of Clarkson or Rutherford spouting pro-German car propaganda.

    Just then, an MG Hammer thrower runs in chased by Bavarian security, throws the hammer at the TV screen destroying it. The 3 Series drivers see the light and are astounded.

    A voiceover proclaims “New MG6… Find out why 2011 won’t be like 1984!” 🙂

  4. Andrew Elphick says:

    I wouldn’t sod about with a diesel engine. I’d chase the “can’t quite stretch to a Prius” market and go hybrid or factory-fit LPG – a product that could be offered from launch (but not with that plastic inlet manifold please!).

  5. Andrew Elphick says:

    Good work Steven, by the way – we like a bit of passion in these austere times!

  6. Ianto says:

    @Andrew Elphick
    I don’t think many people want a Pious-lite and LPG is just too much hassle. Diesel offers the best compromise for most people.

  7. @Will
    A pretty neat idea but, sadly, I rather doubt that either Clarkson or Rutherford would be willing to participate!

  8. Hilton Davis says:

    The “Six” looks good in both white and red. I remember Nissan’s UK manufacturing started with CKD vehicles (Bluebird’s), but the body panels were all welded into the shell and painted at the Washington Factory ready to fit out on the line. It seems most of that work on the MG6 will have already been done in China.

  9. Russ says:

    I have to say that, I like the look of the MG6 Saloon, it’s a shame that so little of the build is done here. I suppose it’s a sign of the times for British manufacturing.

    It’s nice to see inside Longbridge again pretty much for the first time since the dark days of 2005 when I walked the dormant lines looking at the half-finished cars. It was truely creepy back then – as if the workforce would arrive at any moment. Good luck to MG Motor UK.

  10. Richard Moss says:

    I think that MG Motor UK are wrong about the warranty – three years is not enough. I reckon that, if they plan to charge those prices, they should be prepared to back it up with a decent warranty of at least four years.

    I also think that they are wrong to say that warranties are the reason that people buy Hyundais and Kias. We bought our Kia Soul because it is a decent car, attractive, practical and good value for money. The fact that it comes with a LOOOOOOOOOOONG warranty is a bonus.

    MG need to be careful to avoid making it look like they don’t have confidence in their products. The K-Series-derived engine will scare people off and many will see it as a choice between paying for an extended warranty or paying for a head gasket replacement.

    Come on MG – front up, grow a pair and give it at least a four year guarantee.

  11. Jon says:

    @Richard Moss
    Yep, the days of Kia being the manufacturer of obselete Mazdas and cheap Fords for US college students (121/Festiva/Pride) are long gone – Clarkson is even being complimentary about the Cee’d on Top Gear.

    Jon.

  12. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Richard Moss
    I’m slightly confused, Richard. There is a bit of a contradiction in your post – and I have read it a couple of times before posting.

    You say that a warranty of three years is not long enough, yet you also say that warranty length was a bonus and not the main reason for buying Kias and Hyundais. Surely, if the MG6 is a decent car like the two aforementioned makes, then the length of warranty is irrelevant?

    You could take it to the absurd opposite extreme and say that offering no warranty at all (beyond Statutory Rights) is the ultimate sign of confidence in the product as you are certain it will NEVER break!!

    Very few new car buyers keep their cars beyond three years if they can afford to renew. A lot of people harp on about warranty lengths helping with residuals, but personally I would think the track record of reliability will be more important in determining a car’s value. The amount offered when a car is traded in will be determined by factors other than how much of the manufacturer’s warranty is remaining.

    Three years is pretty much the industry mean – I would be more interested in how much the warranty costs were for each manufacturer and around what components claims were made – that information is more likely to give a potential buyer an idea of how long they are possibly going to be without their car during their ownership due to failures!

    I honestly think people are getting too hung up about this and that smacks of nit-picking.

  13. Ianto says:

    @Paul T
    I think the point being made here is that MG need a good incentive to sell a three year old Chinese car in the UK. I agree that they cannot rely on sentimentality alone to sell the car and they need a ‘wow’ factor to make the general public sit up and take notice.

    I appreciate that there is a proud heritage, of which I have no doubt that SAIC Motor are part, but it must be remembered that there are parts of the MG marque’s history which are quite ropey. I am thinking particularly of the 1970s and 1980s when MG was tarred with the same brush as every other BL/ARG product.

    The warranty should be at least five years (seven would be better) as they will need to work hard to eradicate the Watchdog spectre that haunts the K-Series following the HGF debacle in which Ford payed out but Rover did not.

  14. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Ianto
    I understand what you’re saying and I would agree this should, perhaps, help to capture some buyers who would otherwise be cautious.

    My only gripe is that some people seem to be focusing on this warranty issue now that some of the other gripes about the MG6 launch have been addressed and this is all they have left..!

    I hold my hands up to having been a sceptic and serious critic up to now, but am happy to concede that some of my criticisms have been confounded and that I am now seriously considering buying a 6.

    Good luck to them.

  15. Ianto says:

    @Paul T
    I too have been impressed by what I’ve read recently on AROnline, but we are a relatively small band.

    I still think that, for MG to really make an impact, the brand needs a have a wider appeal than this website and that, in order to translate that appeal into purchases, it needs to provide reassurances that the build quality exceeds that of its British forebearers.

    After all, it isn’t going to be cheap to run with an MPG in the mid thirties and comparatively high road fund licence for its class (My 9-5 is at least a size larger, has an MPG in the mid forties and a lower road fund licence).

    I think most people are finding it hard to run their cars at the moment or are, at least, certainly noticing the cost of running a car more than ever so anything which helps restore the balance, such as an extended warranty, would help.

    I am concerned that the launch is proceeding without any real prospect of a diesel. They can’t even confirm which engine they will use at this stage and, if we factor in all of the stages necessary to re-engineer, test and launch, I can’t see it being available within, at least, the next two years. I appreciate that the diesel market is different in China, but this isn’t China and diesel is very popular here.

  16. Ianto says:

    I think the five speed gearbox is a very sensible choice. My last car had six speed and it was a waste of time.

  17. Simon says:

    I am glad to see that, following poor clinic feedback, MG are reworking the interior of the Six. Ideally, it needs to be trimmed in the UK using quality materials to the same standards as my MG ZT or Rover 800’s before that.

    The seats need to reflect the quality of ARG and MG-R past with the use of hard and soft foams and quality leathers/ cloth. A Monogram range should also be developed and, dare I say it, a Vitesse version as a range topper with a V6 engine or how about the 3 litre diesel from the Jaguar XF? Why not also use some classic colours? I suggest Nightfire Red Pearl, BRG pearl, Le Mans Green aNd Trophy Blue, not to mention Moonraker Blue pearl. The interiors need some link with the past as BMW have done and the Roy Axe era onwards needs developing.

    Finally, as to the quality, private buyers keep a car three years, so a five year warrenty needs to be a must together with a TLC servicing package – five years for £500 – that would really get the private buyer to consider the Six – me included.

  18. Ianto says:

    @Simon
    £500 for 5 years seems pretty reasonable to me.

  19. Steven211 says:

    Great article, sounds exciting. I still can’t believe the diesel is not ready – MG Motor could have used a temporary engine like the PSA HDI FAP engine until the new engine is ready.

    Why didn’t MG make the TCI-TECH direct injection? That would have produced more power, better economy and less emissions.

    MultiAir engines sound interesting as they are great units and are ‘semi’ camless, but I thought MG was developing small engines like the ones in China but with direct injection or was that just a rumour?

  20. Richard Moss says:

    @Paul T
    You’re missing my point – if a manufacturer has confidence in a car they should give it a long warranty because they will be standing the cost of any repairs for a number of years. Giving it a lower level of cover (or even the legal minimum warranty) is an indicator of LACK of confidence in the car – placing the risk with the purchaser not the manufacturer. I would have thought that was self-evident.

    The reason we bought the Kia is that it was a decent, attractive, well built, value for money car.The LOOOOOOONG warranty is a nice bonus but only a bonus because we already knew that Kias were reliable cars because they have built a decent reputation over recent years and have proven that they:- a) back their cars at their expense and b) are justified in so doing.

    Do we know the same about the MG6? No, we don’t because they have never sold a single example in this country and, in fact, the only cars “sold” here by the new MG Motor UK have been a handful of TF500s.

    I may be wrong here but under 500 TFs found private buyers and I believe that residuals and quality are far from class-leading! Buying one of 2000 MG6s in 2011 is therefore a bit of a lottery – and MG’s lack of willingness to provide a decent warranty is a deterrent to buyers.

    They need to take a leaf out of the books of other start-ups and offer something extra – the USP (Unique Selling Point). The only USP I can see so far is that it will be the first (mostly) Chinese car sold here and comes with a rather discredited badge stuck on each end.

  21. Richard Moss says:

    Paul T :
    @Ianto
    My only gripe is that some people seem to be focusing on this warranty issue now that some of the other gripes about the MG6 launch have been addressed and this is all they have left…!

    Well, if that’s directed at me, then you’re wrong again. My concerns are (in no particular order):

    Dull styling
    Lack of diesel and/or auto
    The reputation of that reworked K-Series
    Discredited name
    Below par warranty
    Lack of British content (80% of assembly and almost 100% of parts from China)

    Trust me, the K-Series heritage WILL get an awful lot of mentions by the motoring press.

  22. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Richard Moss
    I’m not thick – I know what ‘USP’ stands for and I don’t need words to spelt overly long(sic),wrongly, in capital letters for me to understand what they mean.

    Any new car is a gamble. Do you recall how long the manufacturer’s warranty was on the MINI when it was released? I don’t precisely, but am fairly certain it wasn’t five or seven years. I would, in fact, pretty much put money on having been three years, as it is now.

    Please don’t try and patronise me with any nonsense about it being a BMW so had a track record. Cowley was MG Rover rebadged, so it wasn’t built by BMW. It was a brand new build so had the same potential for problems you are claiming for the MG6. Did BMW feel the need to give a four, five or seven year warranty? No.

    This warranty argument is starting to get tiresome and now seems to be the only stick the snobs are finding to hit MG with now that a lot of the other ‘issues’ have been addressed and addressed well.

    I will have no problem buying a car with a three year warranty as I would expect any build or quality issues will be ironed out quickly. Actually, a year-old model with two years left will suit me just fine.

    Finally, if you want to continue beating up MG on this site, it is your choice but you will be in a declining minority.

  23. Ianto says:

    Just a thought, no more than that, but what will happen to the three warranty if they shut up shop after a couple of years?

  24. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Ianto
    Probably the same as what happened when MG Rover went bust – the big chains will continue to honour it and the small independents will wash their hands of it as they can’t afford to meet the costs ad infinitum. That would go for a four, five or seven year warranty too…

    This is what happened to me with my ZS – I effectively had a 6 month warranty on it! However, as I had it serviced and maintained at the appropriate times, I never actually had to make a claim…

    There was talk that MG are looking to engage more independents than big chains for their new dealers (e.g. Arnold Clark in Scotland would be such a ‘chain’) so that would make me more nervous than the warranty length itself. However, if the quality is there, as with my ZS, then the issue need never arise.

  25. Andrew Elphick says:

    We all know the lack of automatic is because the manual has a heavy taxation bracket. How much higher a band would the automatic have been?

    Launch it with LPG…

  26. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Richard Moss
    My comment wasn’t directed at you exclusively – many people on here and on MG-Rover.org are harping on about the warranty as being the only thing that will determine whether the car will succeed or fail.

    Oh, and as for the split on sources of materials, there won’t be many cars built here that are much different.

  27. Ianto says:

    Paul T :
    @Richard Moss
    My comment wasn’t directed at you exclusively – many people on here and on MG-Rover.org are harping on about the warranty as being the only thing that will determine whether the car will succeed or fail.

    Oh, and as for the split on sources of materials, there won’t be many cars built here that are much different.

    I think it is not so much the warranty that is the issue, rather the need for a USP considering that this car will not be particularly cheap to run but doesn’t offer any compensation in the way of its brand.

    By that I mean most BMW and Mercedes owners accept in their stride that their cars have slightly higher running costs than a Ford or a Vauxhall. Unfortunately, the MG6 is a successor to the MG Maestro and MG Metro and, with that lineage, it cannot lay claim to the same demographic.

    I am sure that the Marketing Department are doing their job, but I cannot figure who precisely they are aiming this car at, as it doesn’t appeal to the economically minded motorist (and with the price of petrol, that is a growing tribe) or the prestige buyer – you can buy one year old BMWs and Mercs for the same price with better fuel economy and lower tax, and better residuals.

    Back in 2008, AROnline identified that price would be an issue and concluded that this level of pricing would affect sales.

    I have to agree with Richard on most of the points he raises part from styling which is no worse than any other modern Eurobox and is, at least, related to the RDX60 project. The lack of diesel, high running costs, tarnished name (to the vast general public – if not, so why did Rover go down the tubes) and ridiculously high pricing will impact on sales.

    MG should take a leaf out of Kia’s book – they started as discount cars and have rapidly built their reputation to the extent that they can now compete with the likes of Ford and Vauxhall. Yet, MG seems to think that it can come back from the grave, after suffering a long and painful demise, and immediately mix it with the premium brands.

    I desperately want MG to succeed in so far as that will retain and, hopefully, create jobs in the West Midlands – I just hope that they reconsider how they position this car in order to ensure that they have a chance in a highly competitive UK market.

  28. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Ianto
    I don’t have a problem with anyone having opposite views to myself. However, Richard used patronising language towards me and my comments and that smacks of him having a position of superiority and suggests that his comments are more relevant than mine.

    Ultimately, time will tell and only when the launch is executed properly, cars are in the showrooms with price tags and available options are published will be able to judge how well the car is going to do.

    I agree that MG Motor UK may not have as much in their locker as the more established brands and that they are going to have to shake off the preconceptions of those who look back at MG Rover, both in terms of quality issues and the collapse.

    I am trying to be as positive about this as possible but it is disheartening to see comments from people who are determined to see it fail so they can say ‘I told you so’. Maybe, as I commented to another glass-half-empty poster, this is not the best place for them.

  29. Ianto says:

    I suspect that most of us are coming from the same position, desperately wanting MG to succeed and avoid the mistakes of the past.

  30. Richard Moss says:

    @Paul T
    Patronising? You mean that I disagree with you and don’t want to kiss SAIC’s @rse, perhaps – please accept my apologies for not toeing the party line here. I chose to explain myself when you appeared to misunderstand my point previously, that’s all.

    It’s a Chinese car: 90%+ Chinese components and 80% Chinese built. I believe that, if my memory serves me right, even the first generation of cars from Nissan Sunderland were British enough to be allowed to be called a British car – these MGs won’t be.

    The MINI has a few USPs – the name, the look, the fact that the whole world knows that it’s built by BMW and, as such. was a premium brand from the word go. MGs will have none of that and look a bit pricey to boot.

    Maybe they’ll be a huge success and create loads of real British jobs and, if they do achieve such success, then I will be delighted. However, in the meantime, they have a lot of work to do in order to convince buyers to shell out their hard-earned cash.

    I thought this was an open discussion, clearly I misunderstood. However, may I suggest that if you get upset so easily, perhaps this is not the place for YOU? Indeed, if you are too delicate to engage in robust discussion, perhaps you need to step back.

  31. Richard Moss says:

    Incidentally, does anyone know the percentage of British content of in a MINI, Toyota’s products from Burnaston and Deeside, Honda’s Swindon-built Civics and Nissan’s output from Washington?

  32. Steven211 says:

    The first Nissan cars were built like the MG6s will be, but it became cheaper to produce the parts here and elsewhere in the EU than ship everything across the world.

    I think MG will eventually have to do the same. Nissan now has a R&D centre in the UK – I believe that the Juke and Qashqai have been developed and designed here.

    Honda, Toyota etc. source a lot of parts here and elsewhere in the EU. Vauxhall are the same with the Astra – the metal for the car comes from Poland and other places.

    MG can’t really start full production yet as it is uneconomical until the cars start selling. That was the same with Nissan etc. at the beginning – just have patience.

  33. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Richard Moss
    No, your first paragraph clearly demonstrates that you cannot grasp any point I am making and do not recognise the nastiness in your posts.

    I’m quite happy here but, if you don’t see your comments as patronising or insulting, then you obviously have a problem.

    I don’t, as already mentioned, have a problem with anyone’s views – that is what makes debates interesting. I do object to be spoken to like a child and, if you can’t make comments without descending into that kind of dialogue, it’s a shame.

    Good for you if you want to drag this on, but I think I’ll leave this particular thread as it is now degenerating into no more than just the trading of insults.

    Goodbye.

  34. Ianto says:

    @Paul T
    @Richard Moss
    The fact that there is so much debate in these posts demonstrates how polarised opinion will be out there in the UK market place.

    I believe that, unless The Sun and Top Gear tell everybody to go out and buy an MG6, there is likely to be a mixed reception.

    I just hope that there are 2000 people who are willing to stump up the readies for an MG6 in order to build the foundations for the next phase which will, hopefully, include a diesel and an estate.

  35. Ianto says:

    @Ianto
    Well, having seen the reviews in Autocar, CAR and, of course, AROnline, I know now everything is going to be okay.

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