By 10 February 2011 131 Comments Read More →

Local Defence Volunteers?

Steven Ward, a serial MG and Rover buyer, ponders on whether he’ll take the plunge and buy a new MG6 when it goes on sale. Rumours abound, here he outlines his concerns.

MG6

MG6

Well, as the days roll by, a doubt over one question grows ever larger. Will I ever buy an MG6? The answer, at this moment, is a resounding ‘No’. However, that hasn’t always been my stance – as a lifelong, die-hard enthusiast of all things associated with BL, the answer, even nearly a year ago, was an emphatic ‘Yes’.

Sadly, the passage of time, wisdom and whispers have all got to me. We’re all used to badly-timed Longbridge launches. Usually too late, sometimes too early, rarely are they just right. This one looks going to be as delayed as the Maestro was. I believe there is more than one comparison to be made with our favourite, frumpy hatchback too.

This time a year ago, Autocar did a First Drive story on a pre-production model and the MG6 got a good review. Much was made of the competent chassis – it was always going to be that thanks to Andy Kitson and his colleagues. The amount of design and engineering work which was done in the UK was also said to be significant. That made me feel good – the best of MGR was back in business and actually producing new designs for us.

The MG6 looked good too, not striking or breathtaking, but smart, modern, sober, narrowly avoiding the melted bloat of the Astra and Megane. Indeed, seeing the car in the metal, the design was just as commendable. The MG6 is, though, oddly sized and seemingly straddles the Focus and Mondeo C and D-segments. You’d have though that Longbridge would have learnt from 1800/Maxi/Maestro/400/75, but no, they’re playing the unintentional heritage card.

The glass area is limited, a bit like the 75’s, meaning visibility won’t be top notch while the inside will be a bit gloomy. That’s a long way from what Spen King would have signed off, but that’s fashion and it must be followed. What really concerns me about the styling is whether the car will still look as fresh when it’s eventually launched. We’ve been seeing the car undisguised now for over a year and Ford has just knocked its latest Focus blockbuster out, which means rivals will be looking at facelifts.

Most of the feedback from the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where people got to handle the car, was positive. I must point out here that MG posted 2000 complementary tickets out to those who registered their interest – very good of them.

What struck me under the bonnet of MG6 was the lack of the 75’s secondary bulkhead. I know this car is supposed to be all-new, but the MG6 shares the 75’s front subframe and is clearly derived from the 75. Deleting this bit of engineering suggests SAIC Motor are moving the car down market. That secondary bulkhead was for refinement and for body strength, but undoubtedly it cost money and added weight.

Surprisingly, that bulkhead couldn’t hide the worst excesses of the rough K-Series engine in the 75, so I’m not expecting top-draw refinement from the MG6 and neither am I expecting the strength of 75 in the car’s new body. The rear hatch will reduce body strength along with the deletion of the aforementioned bulkhead. What, given all that, therefore surprises me is that the car weighs as much as a quality loaded 75.

There is now a rumour going around that the Chinese cannot reliably manufacture variable strength steel sections which give phenomenal strength when used with various state of the art welding techniques in manufacture and that, as a consequence, the MG6 is going for Victorian-spec steel in order to obtain the required strength. That doesn’t sound good for an emissions-based taxation country like ours.

The engine itself is said to all-new but, in reality, it’s just an overhauled K-Series up to Euro 4 specification and in a turbocharged format. The cylinder head is said to be new and it needed to be. I believe the original head was flawed in design meaning it ran too hot, hence the failures. The head gasket is the uprated item, but that of itself hardly news – it was designed during the Phoenix era and was a copy of the old T-Series fix. We’ve noticed these gaskets now are starting to fail but, hopefully, combined with the new head and bottom bearing ladder, it should last a bit longer.

I was shocked to note the inlet manifold is still the useless moulded plastic item, although it’s said to have a new, improved inlet gasket. Let’s hope this third revision of the inlet gasket works this time – previously this common failure caused a lot of head gaskets to pop. Furthermore, I don’t believe the N-Series runs a fly-by-wire throttle which was supposed to be required to get K-Series to Euro4 emissions spec. I also expect the turbo installation to have better plumbing this time around as the last effort seemed like a hasty botch job when you got stuck into it – as you often had to do…

I’m reassured by a senior Longbridge man that the N-Series in TF2 is now a very good and very reliable engine and I honestly believe him. I’m also told that the TF2 Design Team took a lot of the engineering flaws and shortcuts in original TF and properly re-engineered them for TF2.

Again, I fully believe this engineer, but will the build quality of MG6’s many components be manufactured to the designed standard time after time? Building a virtually new car is a lot more involved than reverse-engineering a low-build sports car, despite Longbridge’s best intentions.

I also find it odd that car doesn’t seem to have appeared at any Western Motor Shows – if they car was so British, so new and so good, then why is it almost obscured from civilised view? Goodwood and MPH are not really a world stage for a bold new beginning. The Dealer Network hardly inspires confidence either. Most were signed-up during the brief NAC stewardship of Longbridge and seem, well, a bit amateurish, a bit disjointed and bit uninterested in it all. That’s assuming you can find one as they’re very thin on the ground, although I understand more Dealers are on the way.

However, will those Dealers be any good when customers are buying this new car? By the way, does anyone know how much MG6 will cost? Speculation as to the pricing seems to vary wildly from sub-Korean bargain basement right up to stiff Golf/Focus price shadowing. Does MG Motor UK actually have an idea or will it be subject to the crazy initial pricing of TF2 before settling down to a more realistic level? What about technical support? Has the company got back all the Consultant Engineers to handle dealer enquiries and warranty issues?

Customers must be kept happy and reassured by their unquestionable gamble of a purchase. Dealers will need to be kept in the loop too with regard to sales and service updates. Again, I’ve met such a man in Longbridge doing this job whom I believe in, but he’ll need to surround himself with a crack team. News that MG are going across to GM’s Technical Team seems to just be a sound bite at this point.

Next we get to the launch date and delivery times. When is it?

How much longer will the stalling last and exactly why are they stalling? Again, the rumour mill is alight with chatter of the MG6 failing to win the vitally important European Type Approval. While this is quite common on all new cars, usually on mere technicalities, it is said that the MG6 failed on ‘quality’. What that means, I’m not so sure, but it doesn’t sound good, does it?

That could go some way to explaining the lack of dates and prices. The interior I sat in felt fine, nothing special but certainly half-decent. However, what it’s like when crashed could be something else entirely. Finally, how British will the build be? I’ve heard, again nothing certain, that MG6 assembly will be very limited at Longbridge, that the cars come over from China along way down the assembly tracks and that it’s only the final bits and pieces of trim which will be added at Longbridge.

You’re looking at Workstation 39 out of around 63, which means it’s painted, glazed, wired, etc. Now, I’ve been at Longbridge when the journey of K-Series from Cofton to CAB2 was too far for quality to be consistent. Anyway, this lack of true assembly rumour seems well-founded as there has been no large recruitment drive of late, if at all.

Mind you, if there is no diesel or auto on offer, sales won’t be huge anyway. Last week, What Car? took along a select group of potential owners to look at MG6. Not to drive, just to look at. However, as a salesman, you’re taught to get customers behind the wheel and out for a drive. Why wasn’t this the case here? What Car? clinics usually involve at least a quick spin. Do you think those potential customers left with a brochure under their arm? I ask because even that essential piece of marketing and brand-building is strangely absent, even the online example has suffered a technical hitch.

Anyway, with all that running through my mind, I’d now be exceptionally reluctant to buy one. Suppose I did take the plunge, what would the actual quality as opposed to perceived quality and long term reliability be like? I’ve heard conflicting reports on TF2 and it seems to me that quality was improved on everyone they built, but then it needed to be! Some of the plastics, electrics and welds were said to be very poor and that multiple and repeat parts were needed for some cars to be right. I believe that, in order to win consumer confidence over this and the K-series issues, the MG6 really needs to have a five-year warranty – after all, it’s  a new car which is supposed to use proven, but admittedly updated, technology.

What if I decided MG6 was no good for me, could I get out of it? What would residuals be like? Nobody really knows as no car company has gone bust and come back before, let alone back from China. It doesn’t help that there is not a lot, if any, of geeky, hardcore technical information to chew on – Facebook doesn’t count. Finally, parts supply… Wasn’t there an announcement late last year that the parts operation for TF and MG6 had been taken back in house?

I remember when that was subcontracted to Cat Logistics and it was a nightmare – line picks from Longbridge were the order of the day if you got lucky. I was present at the fiasco when Phoenix shut the doors and left Caterpillar high and dry and I genuinely despaired for them. Rover parts supply has been a hit and miss affair for 10 years now and that is wrong on so many levels.

I sincerely hope the rumours I’ve just recounted are just that, rumours and that my doubts are totally unfounded. MG has a terrific network of enthusiast clubs on which to draw on for goodwill and to use as unpaid ambassadors. They should be used to good effect and to spread The Word, but that means wholly embracing them. Until the big day, we’ll just have to continue to wait and see what we’re offered.

Incidentally, since writing the above, I have learned that MG Motor UK was supposed to be running MG6 Training Sessions for Technicians from the Dealer Network but I’ve not, as yet, heard whether these Training Sessions even went ahead. However, the MG6 has had its first public viewing in the Dealer Network. A dealer in Suffolk threw an invite only party to preview the vehicle but it is not known if prices or delivery dates were mentioned or even if Test Drives were given.

Finally, and quite bizarrely, MG Motor UK are themselves now asking for 250 volunteers to help with the launch of the MG6. They seem to be basing everything around Facebook which, if Goodwood was anything to go by, will exclude most of the MG6’s demographic…

Posted in: Essays, MG6
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

131 Comments on "Local Defence Volunteers?"

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  1. Andrew Elphick says:

    The Facebook volunteer scenario is shameful – the key-waving PR people from rival OEMs offering unaccompanied Test Drives must be choking the tears of laughter back…

  2. Mike Humble Mike Humble says:

    That’s a superb piece, Steven.

    Your comments about the What Car? team taking people to look at the MG6 are spot on. Both of us and, I’m sure, many other past and present Car Sales Executives would, no doubt, all agree that “Bums On Seats Sell Cars!”

    The existing, patchy Dealer Network are getting somewhat tired of MG Motor UK’s messing and mincing about. Indeed, not that long ago, I was talking to the DP of a local(ish) Dealer who runs a multi-franchise site which also has an MG franchise. They had just thrown out MG and extended the showroom for one of the other marques they catered for. Why? They were tired of the stalling and false hopes they had been given about up and coming models. It was also mentioned that the quality just wasn’t there with the MG TF.

    I really hope I am wrong in saying this but I kind of feel the Chinese are playing with the brand. Sadly, from a UK point of view, this can only do even more irreversible damage to a brand which is already somewhat tainted by recent history – not all of it favourable.

  3. Andrew Elphick :

    The Facebook volunteer scenario is shameful – the key-waving PR people from rival OEMs offering unaccompanied Test Drives must be choking the tears of laughter back…

    I have just checked on MG Motor UK’s Facebook page and instructions for next week’s Facebook campaign will be emailed to all those who have registered their willingness to participate tomorrow.

    I understand that the Facebook campaign kicks off next Tuesday and so expect to be given much more information about both that and the MG6’s launch timetable during that day’s Press Briefing.

    I would therefore venture to suggest that, in the absence of all the relevant facts, your conclusion that MG Motor UK’s Facebook campaign is “shameful” can, at best, only be regarded as premature…

  4. I believe that the TCI Tech engine in the MG6 was developed by SAIC Motor and so differs from the NAC-developed N-Series engine fitted to the MY09 onwards MG TFs.

    However, I am definitely no Engineer and am unsure as to how the technical specifications of the two K-Series derivatives differ. Hopefully, Adam Sloman and I will find out more about that when we attend next Tuesday’s Press Briefing…

  5. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    @Andrew Elphick

    Andrew,

    I’d say that they’re trying to do the best they can at Longbridge without a pot to piss in… Facebook is a surprisingly effective PR tool – but one that’s effectiveness is beginning to wane.

    Regards,
    Keith

  6. Andrew Elphick says:

    @Keith Adams
    The demographic Facebook “me too” generation are not going to buy an MG.

    What is MG’s current (alas) public face? Old men, beards, real ale, my Dad – the about-to-retire generation with lump sums and disposable income. The Zeds had a good image, but the X-POWER generation have jumped ship. Unfortunately, the Zeds’ image is Max Power at best – it had been strong but, since 2005, the enthusiasts have switched allegiance to other marques.

    The reason MG Motor UK’s Facebook page is woefully followed is because the smart, image-conscious young things want, er, image – Alfa, Focus ST, even VXR!

    MG’s challenge is akin to a man wearing a Microsoft sandwich board standing out side an Apple store. Well meaning, but ultimately, ignored.

    I might be wrong mind and so, MG, I will take that Test Drive – just give me a call…

  7. Andrew Elphick says:

    One other thing, MG: the Pride of Longbridge 2011 event will be held right opposite your front gates in a few weeks’ time – can your piggy bank run to pushing a car across the road and a salesperson clutching a handful of brochures?

  8. Lord Sward says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head there, Mr Elphick. You’ve got this huge field chock-full of the faithful for a weekend in April each year – right opposite the factory! Never the twain shall meet – it’s an utter waste of goodwill and opportunity if ever there was one.

    I’m off to the Geneva Motor Show next month and was at Paris last year. Will MG ever attended an international Motor Show in Europe?

  9. @Andrew Elphick
    MG Motor UK’s Facebook page does, in fact, have more followers than, for instance, Fiat UK’s and Vauxhall UK’s have. Keith Harris, MG Motor UK’s Customer Relations Manager, published this post only yesterday:

    “We have just been having an idle browse through some other manufacturers’ Facebook offerings and were delighted to see that we have already left Fiat UK (1353) and Vauxhall UK (2210) trailing. Kia (3265) and Ford of Europe (3338) are next in the firing line for the Octagon-shaped Facebook juggernaught – OK, not juggernaught, sporty fastback!”

  10. Andrew Elphick says:

    That compares well with 231,000 for Alfa Romeo and is only 125,000 short of Land Rover.

    However, it is more than Breville (you know the toaster OEM) who has a ‘Likes’ score of a paltry 2780… In your face, Breville!

  11. Rob C says:

    …and nowhere near the million odd for just the Ford Mustang. I also wonder just how many of these fan pages are run by the manufacturer rather than a few dedicated fans? Not many I’d wager.

    There are only so many carrots that can be dangled before even the most diehard fan gets so disheartened they just don’t bother.

    The MG Zeds did have a following but they were still seen as part of Rover and suffered the flat cap, slippers and Werthers jibes. I can see that being another thing that is carried over into the future.

    I also agree about PoL – how many people rolled up to Q Gate for pictures on the day even though the place had as much life as the local morgue? Maybe PoL should have a Facebook fan page too…

  12. Neil says:

    That’s also 24 more than the Monkey Spanker masturbation aid. Way to go MG crispy duck and lead-based paint motor concern. Woot!

  13. Johnos1984 says:

    A Facebook campaign is a great idea if it is a small part of a bigger marketing plan. However, in this case the Facebook campaign is, it would seem, the marketing plan.

    I was in a TF LE500 last Saturday and talked to the Sales Executive but he still had no idea of when the MG6 was arriving and seemed to be getting rather tired of having showroom space taken up by two cars that he can’t shift for the best part of two years now.

  14. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    I agree with Steven – I wouldn’t buy an MG6 until it’s had a couple of years to prove itself on the market – by that time it may be very old hat and nearing replacement. The 5-year warranty is important for similar reasons and because it’s becoming common on rivals.

    Anyway, as a 47-year old member of the Facebook demographic, I’ve signed up to the marketing campaign, but will reserve judgment about actually helping them until I know more about what they want me to do.

  15. Andrew Elphick says:

    This is front page on AROnline now – so might it be fair to say any new fans have been harvested via here? If so, will MG return the love to AROnline with a drive?

  16. Rob C says:

    I wouldn’t hold your breath, Andrew!!!

  17. Doodle says:

    The MG6 will be mainly built in China and the lads who work on the track tell us that they only fit limited final assembly and fluids. The cars actually come over in crates, are then removed from the crates and then sent down the old 75 final line.

    They say the plan is not to recruit any manufacturing staff to build the car and, given that there are only 22 of them, that actually tells you how much work is required in order to finish a vehicle.

    I understand from one of the MG Assemblers that they have now got gearbox problems. We have also been told thatthe starting price is £17.500 for the 1.8 Turbo and up to £28.000 for top of the range model whatever that is.

    An MG should, in my opinion, be built in Longbridge as a complete unit.

  18. Doodle says:

    The current economic climate means that it would be extremely risky for anyone to spend a large amount of money on a new vehicle like an MG6.

    Furthermore, given the current vibes from Employees and Engineers, I feel sure that, if paying £17.500 for 1.8 Turbo, the real car people will be looking for a vehicle with sound manufacturing reliabilty and a name with proven quality. MG is a high quality brand and, given the right marketing, the MG6 should be as successful as previous models.

    However, up to now SAIC has not given the general public any confidence at all and any former MG Rover employees waiting in anticipation for possible employment opportunities are going to wait a long time based on what the current employees are saying.

  19. Steven211 says:

    The MG6’s starting price is £16k and the range topper will be £20k.

    Many of the rumours are untrue – TCI-TECH is not an N-Series engine, the MG6 does not use a 75 platform, it’s an all new platform. Don’t believe any rumours as they are unproven and see the car for yourself before making an opinion.

    I think the Facebook campaign is a good idea as Facebook is the largest social networking site and it is good publicity. Land Rover is a worldwide group whereas Vauxhall, Ford EU and MG are more localised, even though MG has worldwide fans, but most are in the EU.

  20. Adam Sloman says:

    I think that, as Keith said, MG are doing the best they can with their PR budget. They are, at least, trying to engage with their potential customers and fans.

    Having driven the 6 on a couple of occasions, I’ve found it to be a competent car.

    We’ll be in a much better position to comment on the rights and wrongs of the MG6 and its launch in six months time.

    I, for one, hope the MG6 is a great success.

  21. pigeons99 Pigeons99 says:

    I hope that the MG6 does launch well! It would be a huge failing for MG Motor UK to miss Pride of Longbridge – as already mentioned, you will have likely members of the demographic and people who admire the product there.

    I think there perhaps needs to be a push to get MG in the public mind. I wonder how many people out there know MG is still developing? The brand can’t just appear – I think that when, of course, the MG6 is ready the brand has to be pushed but with enough time too.

    I also have a feeling that this car will have to be so top-notch upon release as, otherwise, the press may make it hard for MG upon launch with talk of MG Rover’s downfall and harking back to the faults of the British Leyland cars.

    I do hope it launches well, though, as I reckon as it looks and, if I could afford it at 19, I’d jump for one. The worst thing would be if it scared the Chinese off completely – re-launching MG successfully is a monumental task.

  22. Simon Hodgetts says:

    I do wish they’d get on with it – we’ve been teased with tit-bits about this car since 2009!

    The MG6 is, as others have said above, already old-hat and getting older by the month – especially given the competition from Ford and GM whose latest cars in this sector have already moved the game on again. Launch the bloody thing before buyer apathy completely kills it and whatever is left of the MG brand off.

    Incidentally, I saw the one and only MG Motor UK-built TF 135 I think I’ve ever seen the other day – such a sales success – in Birmingham!! Come on SAIC, people have nearly lost interest!!!!!

  23. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Don’t hold your breath for any PR at PoL.

    The most they did at the IMM 2009/Mini 50 was to provide a car park for Russ Swift to buzz about in…

  24. Jon says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    Yep, that sums it up 🙁 .

    I would want an NCAP result before I go near one too.

    However, having said that, I am prepared to be a fan once the diesel is with us.

    Jon.

  25. Ianto says:

    @Pigeons99
    Who is Miss Pride of Longbridge?

  26. Marinast says:

    MG Motor UK’s News webpage has not been updated since the 17th December, 2010. How much does does it cost to simply paste some news on it?

  27. pigeons99 Pigeons99 says:

    @Ianto
    Whoever she is, we need to find her! 😉

  28. Ross Armstrong says:

    This is the biggest load of twaddle I have read on AROnline, based on hearsay, rumour and, quite frankly, unreliable, unverifiable sources. Shame on you, Keith, for allowing this totally unbalanced and opinionated rubbish to be published. It’s this sort of automatically negative stuff that sets a precedent for the mindset which the majority of this site’s readers seem to peddle.

    Quite frankly, we do not have enough official information to make the downbeat judgments on MG and the MG6 and it seems that the so-called ‘source(s)’ may appear to have an axe to grind.

    Steven Ward “a serial MG and Rover buyer” – of the old world order I hasten to add – has already given it an awful verdict before anything has even happened. Purists are terrible, cannot be relied on for their ‘sources’ or their opinions – if they’d been left to decide the fate of the Mini, they’d have killed it off a long time ago because no progress would have been made at all.

    This is poor, poor ‘journalism’ and it should be made explictly clear, not just suggested, that this is purely speculation and clearly an opinion and that any information that comes from this should be treated with a pinch of salt.

    This really has made my blood boil.

  29. Rob says:

    Alright Ross, try this: I had a good poke about the cars at the NEC. I was told that they were production standard and, in 10 minutes, noticed the following:

    Window switches that pulled straight out of the doors.
    Under dash plastics with sharp edges not fitted properly (I caught my knee on it).
    Unwrapped wiring inside metal clips under the bonnet.
    A Plenum drain that FELL OFF when poked a bit – not very hard either.
    Rear seat backings made of a criminally cheap material. One bike thrown in the back and I reckon it will be torn.
    Detail problems – like the fact that the LHD nature of the car means that the ashtray door opens TOWARDS the driver on RHD models, making it pretty much useless – not that you should be smoking. Tsk tsk.
    Then there was the fault on the grey car which meant that the staff had to keep replacing the tailgate release fuse.

    These were all things that make me doubt that the cars will prove to be particularly durable. Given a few years, I reckon they could look particularly ropey. These were show cars at the end of the day and, even if they were “production” as the chap insisted, they will (or should) have been prep’d to within an inch of their life before being shown.

    You should, by the way, note that the above is a personal blog. Hardly journalism… Don’t let it get to you, life’s too short.

    Now, I’m off to view a Freeloader 2. ‘Scuse me.

  30. Andrew Elphick says:

    Sadly Ross, the manufacturer of the MG6 will not share any “factual” information with anyone.

  31. Ross Armstrong says:

    @Andrew Elphick
    I wouldn’t expect any other manufacturer to do so either as it is potentially sensitive data. All this will come in the run up to launch day.

    @Rob
    Oh, so you were poking a car that was still effectively in its prototyping* stage? Yeh, nice argument…

    *Prototype meaning pre-production and still undergoing development.

  32. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    @Ross Armstrong
    Ross, as it says on the Essay index page, the views of our correspondents aren’t necessarily those held by the website – but Steve’s views are valid as a potential buyer. MG should listen to his concerns, as he’s one of the few people in the UK who put his money where his mouth was and bought a Phoenix-era car with his own money.

    It’s slightly alarming if you perceive the views of people on this feedback forum as being negative – this is an enthusiasts’ site and, if MG’s going to get an easy ride anywhere, it’s going to be here.

    I sometimes, as you may know, write for Auto Express and you should read the anti-MG vitriol posted there from people feeding back on my stories. Basically people are running out of patience and MG’s so far cash-strapped, pre-launch PR has been pretty woeful.

    Oh, and I see that MG won’t be at the Geneva Motor Show.

    Are you listening, Longbridge?

  33. Ross A says:

    Well, personally, I’d like to reserve judgment until things get underway in a few days. I reckon that any speculation about MG and the MG6 is probably not a good idea until we’ve seen what is actually happening, not what we think might (or might not) happen.

    What made me explode were a few inaccuracies in the text based on what information we have already received from MG about the engineering make up of this car. I do apologise for ranting.

  34. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    @Rob
    Oh, so you were poking a car that was still effectively in its prototyping* stage? Yeh, nice argument…

    *Prototype meaning pre-production and still undergoing development.

    What, then, are SAIC Motor/MG selling in China, that’s already in the hands of customers?

  35. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Richard Kilpatrick
    Probably Chinese market models – at a wild guess.

  36. Eamonn says:

    There are clearly many questions to be answered and I will put my judgment on hold until I see the facts.

    However, I am pleased that the MG6 is not following the market trend towards bigger cars as Ford and Vauxhall have with the new Mondeo and Insignia. For me, the MG6 seems an ideal size – it can take four passengers and has a decent size boot.

    However, as to any delay in its launch, I would be pleased for the car to be delayed in order to ensure that MG’s image is not tainted with poor reliability and build quality. Getting it right this time is much more important than hitting a deadline.

    I am clearly at odds with many people here – I feel optimistic having spent some time looking at the car at the MPH 2010 Show. One of the MG employees politely showed me over the car and I was impressed, clearly accepting that the cars on show were not production models.

    I like the idea of using Facebook to assist in the launch of the MG6. All current media channels should be used and, in my opinion, MG need to connect with as many potential customers as possible and in this day and age “electronic channels” are the quickest and, in most cases, cost-effective.

    I regard myself as a potential purchaser of an MG6 if it all comes good and I sincerely hope it will!

  37. Campbell Milne says:

    I have stumbled across this website whilst researching MG and can only describe myself as a typical potential customer who needs to be instilled with confidence in the brand before considering parting with my hard-earned cash.

    I’m 48 years old and my interest in the new MG is somewhat diminishing. Some of the reasons for this are concerns for my safety in event of an accident, that my MG will be looked after properly with dealer back up servicing/spare parts and what it means to to drive a new MG – will it have original MG DNA or will it be just be a Chinese clone? It would appear to me that there are problems behind the scenes which cannot be sorted out.

    I would tend be influenced by Steven Ward – if he parts with his cash and buys one, I would be persuaded to go out and buy one myself.

    I’m interested in what others think but, perhaps, I should just buy an MG ZT as I originally thought.

  38. Patrick says:

    It’s taking too much time for MG to come back to Europe. I’m an MG Rover dealer in Holland and we’ve still got a lot of customers who ask for new MGs.

    I visited SAIC in China five years ago and I had a good feeling about it. We can read on the Internet that MG-Roewe is doing great in China. I really hope the MG6 is coming soon – if it doesn’t, I think it’s bleeding dead.

  39. Dr Bobby Love says:

    Buy an Octavia… be happy.

  40. Cliff says:

    Why is everyone getting so excited about this car? Whether you are for or against it entering the UK market, it’s not an MG or a Rover and it never will be, regardless of the badge stuck on the grille.

    The only reason to buy an MG6 (or any car for that matter) is if it’s a good product at a good price and it ticks a sufficient number of other boxes for the buyer.

    I reckon that, only if it meets those criteria, the final choice could then come down to the badge – if you are an MG fan and it’s as good as, say, the equivalent Alfa or Ford, then buy it but, if not, then buy the Alfa or Ford.

    I’d say I’m an MG fan but not dyed in the wool. I’ve had a new MG Metro, new MG Maestro 2.0 and new MG ZS180 in between umpteen other cars. All were chosen because they were in a selection of cars that fitted the bill at the time and only the final decision was swayed by the fact I liked the brand.

    MG’s comeback to the UK is a bit like you losing your dog and someone giving you a replacement dog of the same breed – it might look the same, you could even give it the same name, but it’s not the same dog. Even if it is called Rover!

  41. Landyboy says:

    The Euro 4 emissions standard finished at the end of last year for new cars. The MG6 will have to meet Euro 5.

  42. Andrew Elphick says:

    I think our comments might be the least of SAIC Motor’s worries… Take a look at this Reuters story about the suspension of trading in SAIC Motor’s shares for five days next week.

  43. Rob says:

    @Richard Kilpatrick
    Well, not if the bloke on the MG stand was to be believed – he told me that it was “the finished product, what will be delivered.”

  44. Rob says:

    Cliff :
    Why is everyone getting so excited about this car? Whether you are for or against it entering the UK market, it’s not an MG or a Rover and it never will be, regardless of the badge stuck on the grille.

    QUITE.

  45. Simon says:

    What I find disturbing about the launch of MG6 is the fact that the parent company, SAIC Motor ,sold over 2 million cars last year and therefore should have the resources to do the job properly. They are obviously not doing so and I can only conclude that they are not really interested in developing an export market for their brands at the moment. Maybe China is too profitable or maybe they underestimate the marketing required to relaunch a tarnished brand.

    Anyway, as I have said before, I am underwhelmed by the styling of the MG6 and especially the bland and generic interior. It needs some MG charisma and at least the excellent interiors that ARG and MG Rover were famous for. I have just bought a ZT in Trophy Blue with a Monogram interior – far more MG than the 6 in my opinion.

  46. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    Mark Pitchford :
    @Richard Kilpatrick
    Probably Chinese market models – at a wild guess.

    You know, that hadn’t crossed my mind. Actually, it didn’t cross my mind around the same time as the awareness that, oddly enough, the Chinese buyer has access to a lot of imported metal just like we do and, unless the assumption is that they’re all too poorly educated or experienced to know better, will be buying on pretty similar parameters also failed to materialise.

    Indeed, with both of those thoughts failing to cross my mind, it’s good that I didn’t read the bit about the MG6 essentially being a “final fit” at best in Longbridge so any concerns about the structure and essence of the car being wildly variable from the Chinese market ones can remain firmly in place.

    I’m sure the car will be absolutely fantastic, will save the British motor industry, bring honour and respect to the great name of MG and will, in time, be remembered as the progenitor of a long and dominant period of success for the marque.

  47. Cookie1600 says:

    @Ross Armstrong
    ‘The run up to launch’ ???

    I think you’d actually need to start from China to get that sort of run up!!!!

    Perhaps they are spending the ‘run up’ getting it right – or am I confusing that with the development phase?

  48. Jon says:

    Cliff :
    MG’s comeback to the UK is a bit like you losing your dog and someone giving you a replacement dog of the same breed – it might look the same, you could even give it the same name, but it’s not the same dog. Even if it is called Rover!

    BOOM BOOM 😉

  49. Jonny D says:

    I don’t think people should get too worried about the slowness of it all – there is nothing that can be done but the car should have been launched at the same time as it was in China.

    Most people don’t even know MG is about to re-launch and so, hopefully. when they do the MG6 will be seen as a new car and people will buy it.

    I think that, because a lot of people following MG are a bit obsessed with cars, they follow the stories so closely whereas the general public don’t even know MG exists again.

    I’m looking forward to what’s going on with Facebook next week, being 22, and someone who isn’t just interested in MG but most other marques. It’ll be interesting to see how they pull it off and the number of people they have following them on Facebook isn’t bad at all – it’s not an easy job to try to get people to ‘like’ a brand that their friends think they really shouldn’t.

    Regarding the dealers, I think the ones that matter will stay with the brand until they have more cars to sell. I contacted my local one at Newcastle last week and they have responded saying they are proud to say they will be selling the MG6, but they also said it will be APRIL until they had them in the showroom – APRIL!!

    I do agree MG needs to attend Geneva but, at the same time, they do need to be selling cars again before drumming up interest in the brand as its no good if people can’t go and buy the cars!

    I’m not at all worried about quality or safety. I think it will be spot on as it’s difficult to make a car these days that is really un-reliable – even my one year old Bravo feels like an Audi from seven years ago – if Fiat can do it, SAIC certainly can.

    It’s not us MG needs to impress, it’s the people buying Mazdas and Skodas in droves.

  50. Simon Hodgetts says:

    Doodle :
    The current economic climate means that it would be extremely risky for anyone to spend a large amount of money on a new vehicle like an MG6.

    Furthermore, given the current vibes from Employees and Engineers, I feel sure that, if paying £17.500 for 1.8 Turbo, the real car people will be looking for a vehicle with sound manufacturing reliabilty and a name with proven quality. MG is a high quality brand and, given the right marketing, the MG6 should be as successful as previous models.

    However, up to now SAIC has not given the general public any confidence at all and any former MG Rover employees waiting in anticipation for possible employment opportunities are going to wait a long time based on what the current employees are saying.

    Just remember that, if the previous models had been so successful, BL/ARG/MG Rover would still be a British car company, based in Birmingham, not Shanghai!

  51. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Rob
    A bloomin’ long pre-production period – could it be the longest gestation for any car since the, erm, Maestro/Montego?? After this long in pre-production it’d better be a class leader!

  52. Richard Moss says:

    @Ross Armstrong
    Well, if MG would actually tell us something about their products, then we may not be speculating right now. The trouble is that, when you keep the facts from the interested parties, the rumour mill goes into overdrive to fill the information vacuum. Rumours are almost always less positive than the facts and as such generally do a lot of damage. MG – talk to us please.

    @Cliff
    That’s spot on. I’ve said before on here that these are NOT British cars and, whilst some of the design work was done here, they will produce very few British jobs and have little or no connection with the models we know and love/loathe of old – bar the warmed over K-Series which was the weakest part of recent Rover offerings!

    Steven Ward sums it up nicely for me – it all looks rather half-baked, very amateurish and certainly not confidence inspiring.

    Too many rose-tinted specs are being worn by people desperate for the “old days” to return.

  53. Jon says:

    JonnyD :
    It’s not us MG needs to impress, it’s the people buying Mazdas and Skodas in droves.

    I do buy Skodas and am now on my fourth. I buy Skoda because of the heritaqe, decent quality and value. I just hope MG can get close although clearly Skoda have a much longer and more interesting history :-).

    Admittedly, of the MG Rover brands, it has always been Rover which has interested me, but I’m having now to regard MG as the next best thing.

    Jon.

  54. James Riley James says:

    I don’t recall NAC or SAIC promising to buy MG, rewind, then fast forward, erase all the shoddy wrongs of its former British owners and then turn it into a prestige brand in only one model cycle.

    I believe that, if MG Rover had survived, it’s highly likely they would still have been peddling the Rover 75 with a few aftermarket adhesive pieces of trim as a kind of mock facelift.

    When will die-hard fans realise that MG isn’t just going to jump miraculously into pole position against the world’s best? The brand needs to completely re-establish itself and that could, no, will take years. This bad feeling constantly being stirred up will stop any chance of that ever happening. Give it a rest.

  55. Andrew Elphick says:

    Here’s the latest from Facebook:

    Hi guys. As posted below, an unexpected broadband meltdown at my weekend ‘retreat’ (Mum & Dad’s) has caught me out and delayed my letter to the kind volunteers. It won’t have any detrimental effect on the plan as it is all about Tuesday. Can’t really attempt 200 e-mails on a hand held!

    Will the last one to leave Longbridge please switch the lights off on the way out…

  56. Andrew Elphick says:

    That’s a real quote from the world’s biggest social networking site folks…

  57. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Andrew Elphick
    I got that too – not the mark of a highly resourced Marketing Department is it?

  58. Cliff says:

    Come on guys, get real. SAIC Motor just want to enter the European market and they want to do it: a) successfully, b) at minimum marketing cost and c) as smoothly as possible.

    They have a choice as to how to do this:
    a) provide budget cars at budget prices, then build from there, but that will take a while,
    b) opt for a big bang launch of the SAIC brand with lots of razzamataz and (hopefully) rapid buy-in from their target audience but at the risk of rapid decline if products don’t match the hype, or
    c) ride on the back of a known brand and adopt that brand’s values.

    Well, let me see now… MG = sporty, quality and an informed choice. It’s also quite well known in Europe and carries a lot of good will. You can hear the SAIC Motor board saying “Hey chaps, let’s go for Option C. What have we got to lose?”

  59. Marinast says:

    I reckon that, if SAIC Motor come clean and actually explain why the MG6 has taken so long to reach European production, many out there will understand and perhaps give it a try.

    However, as it is, people have gradually lost interest and SAIC Motor’s silence on the matter only makes the firm look more shambolic than MG Rover did before it went bust in 2005.

    Come on SAIC Motor, tell us what is going on!

  60. Ianto says:

    Tokenism!

  61. Richard Moss says:

    Cliff :
    Come on guys, get real. SAIC Motor just want to enter the European market and they want to do it: a) successfully, b) at minimum marketing cost and c) as smoothly as possible.

    You can’t launch/re-launch a car brand at “minimum marketing cost.” You can’t even sustain an existing one on that basis. Remember that even Daewoo made a big splash when they launched – people still recall the “That’ll be the Daewoo” slogan.

    MG is seen by most of the public as either:- a) old boys in flat caps driving an MGB, b) small hot hatches with fragile engines or c) who are MG? MG Motor UK really must do something about changing these perceptions otherwise they are doomed to fail.

  62. Paul says:

    I’d wager the MG6 will never go on sale outside China. This pre-launch nonsense has been going on for nearly two years – hang on any longer and it will be like starting to launch a Ford Escort Mk4 as a new car in today’s market.

  63. Patrick says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    Simon, the problems were not the cars – they work more efficiently in Japan (and Germany).

  64. Hilton Davis says:

    A very comprehensive article and my, hasn’t it attracted lots of attention? I agree that MG’s delayed launch of the 6 seems never ending. I still look forward to seeing them on the roads but feel I am losing interest now.

    It seems, from most comments, that this will be seen as a Korean-type product just displaying the MG badge for nostalgia/heritage reasons. I don’t doubt the level of British design and engineering in it though and wish them well. God knows, our country needs more auto-based manufacturing!

  65. Jon says:

    There is one point I don’t understand on this whole British design thing. We’ve seen prototype Roewe 550s and MG6s running around the West Midlands for years but, as far as I know, nobody has reported seeing an MG3 prototype.

    SAIC Motor/MG would have us believe that SMTC UK was largely responsible for engineering that car too. It’s been seen in production form in China, but has there been a single sighting of a road-going prototype anywhere near its home design centre? Am I too cynical?

    Jon.

  66. Eamonn says:

    I just wonder if and when a position will be reached whereby transporting cars or car kits around the world will cease to stack up as a good business case because fuel and local labour costs are continuing to rise.

    That might, perhaps, be the point at which we may see more local production once again – especially if design is in this country.

    Eamonn.

  67. James C says:

    Hi,

    I’m a 30 year old male and all I can do is to cry octagon-shaped tears.

    This car will be no more than a Proton and, for the sake of MG’s dignity, I hope it never gets launched in the UK.

    A great website, guys…

  68. James C says:

    @Eamonn
    I think that’s a interesting theory and that there is some truth in it – especially with the cost of living in China rising and employees wanting more money etc.

  69. Ian says:

    Just one point – in the article, it says that “no car company has gone bust and come back before”. Well, that isn’t entirely true, as Daewoo did in the past and we all know what attrocious residual values they suffer with.

    I’m really hoping that MG doesn’t suffer the same fate but, looking at it in isolation, Chinese brand + unknown quantity = dreadful residual values – just like the Korean OEM’s were when they first arrived here.

  70. Andrew Elphick says:

    Price is everything – the Daewoo approach from (1993/94?) worked fairly well for them and I think a similar one could work for MG.

    However, the price has to be there as well as a hook. Daewoo offered air-con at minimal cost (a trick that offloaded loads of Peugeot 405s in the same period), Rover had it’s “Eau du leather” across the range at the bitter end. Hyundai gave a 5 year (followed by Kia’s 7 year) warranty.

    Sell the MG6 with leather, bodykit, satnav and big wheels for £14,999 then sit back and smile.

  71. Ianto says:

    Mike Humble :
    I really hope I am wrong in saying this but I kind of feel the Chinese are playing with the brand. Sadly, from a UK point of view, this can only do even more irreversible damage to a brand which is already somewhat tainted by recent history – not all of it favourable.

    Spot on, the MG6 has been dangled like a carrot for too long now – if it is not launched with a proper campaign in the next two months, I suspect that will be the end of MG in the UK for quite some time.

  72. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    SAIC Motor has, as others have said here and in other threads/forums, used the MG brand to get themselves a toe into the UK and European markets but are not making a very good fist of it.

    The Facebook campaign may have been a good idea, but the execution is coming across as unforgivingly amateurish. Remember that, before anyone jumps down my throat, this campaign has been orchestrated by one of the largest, established car builders on the planet (so we are led to believe), with a brand name almost a century old (give or take a decade).

    There is no excuse for this and, again as others have said, it is almost like they are picking up the shambles from where MGR left off in 2005.

    I smiled when I read Andrew Elphick’s comment about Daewoo in 1993/94 and MG possibly trying the same thing now. I recall my father going into a Daewoo Dealer in Edinburgh when he was thinking of changing his MG Maestro 2.0i for something new. He was offered £345 as atrade in price (with the Saleswoman trying to convince him that free Halfords servicing and a 3 year warranty made that good value!!) as opposed to the minimum £1500 offered elsewhere. He ended up getting a Rover 400 from the MGR Dealer which had originally sold him the Maestro.

    Hopefully, MG would have a better product to offer if they tried this than Daewoo did at the time but, like others, I am becoming concerned by what I am starting to hear and read.

  73. Doodle says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    The only thing Longbridge needed was investment which was used for the right purposes. The workforce had a wealth of experience second to none and it’s funny isn’t it that car companies such as BMW, Ford, Tata Motors and SAIC Motor are now benefiting from the knowledge and designs that MG Rover put together.

    Anyway, as for SAIC Motor, the launch of the MG6 in China was months ago. There has to be a lot more going on than we know about. I tend to think that the current Chinese regulations for cars are less stringent than the latest Euro/UK regulations and that the car doesn’t come up to the right standard.

  74. Doodle says:

    @Richard Kilpatrick
    The MG6 is being produced and sold in China so why the delay here?

  75. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Doodle
    I think that might possibly be because the quality of the product is not up to the appropriate standard and wouldn’t pass Type Approval. I’m sure Steven alluded to this in the article – if the standards aren’t as stringent in China, they will have been working to improve on them up to now.

    I suppose that, if the build quality, especially of the bodyshell, is not considered safe or suitable, then a huge amount of work would surely be required to remedy that.

  76. Johnos1984 says:

    I’ve just received an important announcement regarding the top secret marketing campaign that MG are launching via Facebook.

    I’d love to tell you all what it is but I fear they will shoot me if I do.

  77. Ianto says:

    Aww, come on, spill the beans.

  78. Johnos1984 says:

    It’s in the main forum. I think some 6 year old kids are behind this if that gives a hint as to how impressive it is.

  79. Andrew Elphick says:

    @Paul T
    Remember the motor trade’s fuore at Daewoo after the launch? The way they tried to circumnavigate the motor trade – it was quite common for used car dealers to add “PX – but no Daewoo thanks” in the classified ads at the time.

    Mind you, the service (and free collection and delivery) package meant consumers kept hold of their Daewoos until the finance was cleared.

  80. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Johnos1984
    Frightening…

    Would any of the readers who launched scathing attacks on those of us who expressed concern about the company’s marketing strategy now like to rethink their opinions?

    Thought not…

  81. Johnos1984 says:

    @Paul T
    I think MG Chicken Wok Lead-Based Paints Motoring concern based in Wongbridge will be out to get me for posting that email because it was sent in the strictest confidence. Feel free to copy and paste and spread the word for them. I’m sure they will be happy.

    I hoped this would be a proper relaunch. However, it seems to be half-baked and doomed to failure if this is anything to go by. Shocking, simply SHOCKING.

  82. Andrew Elphick says:

    This is viral advertising – see this YouTube clip of the Ford Ka “Evil Twin” adverts which made the national press.

  83. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Johnos1984

    Maybe we should run a straw poll on here as to what everyone thinks the “bold new treatment of the iconic badge” will involve…

    Answers on a prescription, please…

  84. Johnos1984 says:

    @Paul T
    It’s obvious that they have decided to stop painting and laminating the old badges to create a NEW one.

  85. Ianto says:

    @Johnos1984
    Oh, bloody hell! We’re doomed!

  86. Ianto says:

    Paul T :

    @Johnos1984

    Maybe we should run a straw poll on here as to what everyone thinks the “bold new treatment of the iconic badge” will involve…

    Answers on a prescription, please…

    Maybe it’s a Roewe badge!

  87. Benny Ben Adams says:

    @Paul T
    I worked for Boots many years ago when they owned Halfords and we had a Staff Discount Scheme which included a small percentage off a Daewoo.

    My mother went to look at a Matiz and offered a 1995 Cinquecento SX in part exchange – it was five years old and had done 30k with a full Fiat FSH. She got offered just £1200 for it and, once again, there was all the ‘we’re doing you a favour’ speil. Two years later she got £2000 for it against a five year old Punto SX.

    Part of me hopes MG doesn’t go down that road…

  88. Benny Ben Adams says:

    Mr Elphick is spot on in other ways – price it keenly with the ‘wow’ items people want on a car these days (Alloys, Air, Sat Nav) although I’d make leather a NCO for those who don’t like it!

    I would guess that, given that the MG6 is being almost completely built in China, it probably has a unit price of way less than £10k each so £14,995 has to be profits-ville for them. Price it above £18k and it’ll be CityRover Series 2…

  89. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Ben Adams
    I know what you mean. The only POSSIBLE saving grace for MG is that it’s a known name and they have got an opportunity to learn from someone else’s mistake.

    I remember that, when Hyundai cars made an entrance to the markets in Europe and North America, they were pretty much classed as junk. They are a bit more respected now, but MG can’t afford to have that sort of negative reputation around its quality at its ‘relaunch’.

    MG Motor is starting from a point where it is a known name whic has been absent for five years and there is an expectation around quality from the public and previous owners (whatever that perception is..!). Fall short, and it’s curtains…

  90. Jon says:

    I’m amazed and disappointed that this site would break the confidence of MG’s email. I don’t think the Facebook campaign is a particularly good idea, but if you are asked to keep a confidence, then do so! Poor show.

    Jon.

  91. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Jon
    AROnline didn’t break any confidences. The email concerned was posted in an open forum which is a vehicle for free speech as long as no laws are broken or personal comments/abuse made.

    I can pretty much assure you the poster won’t be the only one who has let the cat out of the bag on this one such is the content.

    The person who posted the relevant email didn’t break any laws. He or she felt it was in the interests of a debate in which the perceived professionalism of the company involved was being discussed.

  92. Johnos1984 says:

    @Jon
    It was me who broke the confidence of the email not AROnline and, yes, I believe it is in the interests of everyone here.

    The marketing campaign is being done on the cheap – effectively for free by us – and, if MG Motor UK are trying to do it this cheaply, it makes me worry a lot about how much investment has actually gone into the car itself.

    Seriously, if they don’t have a marketing budget it won’t matter how good the car is – nobody will buy it as nobody knows about it – and, if they cannot afford marketing, how can they afford to spend on quality?

    The plan as it was emailed to me is amateur in the extreme. Teenagers would do better in school.

    MG Motor UK wanted a viral campaign and some free notice – with this dog’s dinner of a plan they are most certainly getting it.

  93. Jon says:

    I agree and disagree. I think that the Facebook campaign is a mistake and it may also be in breach of Facebook’s Terms and Conditions.

    However, everybody is free to sign up to the MG page and request the email from them if interested. The email expressly asked recipients not to post details on other forums yet this is exactly and immediately what happened. It was naive of MG to expect people to respect common courtesy but, in my opinion, it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    Jon.

  94. Jon says:

    Paul T :
    @Jon
    AROnline didn’t break any confidences. The email concerned was posted in an open forum which is a vehicle for free speech as long as no laws are broken or personal comments/abuse made.

    I can pretty much assure you the poster won’t be the only one who has let the cat out of the bag on this one such is the content.

    The person who posted the relevant email didn’t break any laws. He or she felt it was in the interests of a debate in which the perceived professionalism of the company involved was being discussed.

    Everybody can see what MG is up to – more fool them. My point was about a basic lack of manners.

    Jon.

  95. Simon Hodgetts says:

    Doodle :
    @Simon Hodgetts
    The only thing Longbridge needed was investment which was used for the right purposes. The workforce had a wealth of experience second to none and it’s funny isn’t it that car companies such as BMW, Ford, Tata Motors and SAIC Motor are now benefiting from the knowledge and designs that MG Rover put together.

    Anyway, as for SAIC Motor, the launch of the MG6 in China was months ago. There has to be a lot more going on than we know about. I tend to think that the current Chinese regulations for cars are less stringent than the latest Euro/UK regulations and that the car doesn’t come up to the right standard.

    I’m not sure I agree – if the products are right, people will buy them and generate income for the company providing that particular product. You can blame MG Rover’s demise on everything under the sun, but the fundamental fact remains, they didn’t sell enough cars to remain viable.

  96. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    @Jon
    AROnline didn’t break any confidences. The email was posted on the forum, in which I encourage free speech.

    Additionally, if MG was serious, it would have encouraged ‘volunteers’ to sign an NDA.

    /K

  97. Jon says:

    The whole idea is ridiculous Keith, but that wasn’t my point.

    Jon.

  98. Johnos1984 says:

    @Jon
    I don’t think you fully understand what a real viral campaign is.

    The only people who really understand and appreciate the MG brand generally frequent this site.

    I posted the email here as people would like to know what it was all about. I beliieve that, if it was a good idea, MG Motor would have had more people signing up and they would have been happier.

    However, in the event, I think everyone will agree this is doomed to failure and will be studied by marketing students in the future as an example of how not to relaunch a brand.

    Fine, if you think it was bad mannered of me to do it but, if we put enough pressure on MG Motor and tell them to take this seriously, then maybe we can stop the madness and actually help them come up with a proper marketing campaign rather than have some apparently spotty kid using his Facebook account to advertise his new car company.

  99. @Jon
    Well, as an albeit now Non-Practising Solicitor, I agree with Keith about the Non-Disclosure Agreement.

    Indeed, I surmise that, if MG Motor UK had any significant concerns about some details of the marketing campaign being leaked before next Tuesday, the company would have sought the advice of a Solicitor specialising in Media Law about the merits of attaching a simple Non-Disclosure Agreement to a preliminary email – the evidence of the email which was sent suggests to the contrary.

    Anyway, given that a reader and not a member of AROnline’s Editorial Team has posted the email concerned on the Forum, would you have us remove the relevant thread and/or post(s) and so compromise our shared commitment to freedom of speech?

  100. Richard Moss says:

    Hardly dramatic, confidence inspiring stuff. Absolutely zero chance of it staying confidential – and, if the rest of this campaign had been rather better handled, I might think that disclosure was the desired result.

  101. James Riley James says:

    This is what happens when people stir things up. Everyone else jumps in like sheep and the whole thing becomes far worse. People need to calm down unless they would actually prefer this whole launch to come crashing down further than people think it already has.

    What is it with enthusiasts these days? MG either do what the fans insist on or the fans would rather they go bankrupt before they’ve even started. Crazy… I’m not the MG6’s biggest fan or admirer but then I was never under any illusion or, indeed, expectation that MG were duty-bound to produce a car that I adored in every possible way. Just as many MG enthusiasts probably curled their toes up when MG Rover stuck the octagon on ancient Honda-derived drivel or when Austin put the famed badge on already poorly conceived also-rans in the 1980s.

    The brand will never please all the fans at the same time but, at least, this time we look likely to get something close to new metal. We should either be grateful for that or find another marque to fawn over… Just my two penneth…

  102. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @James
    James, if it pains you so much to read what is written here, then maybe you would be better finding another enthusiasts’ site to “fawn over”. It would also only be fair if you declared any vested interest in MG Motor as you are doing your level best to defend them to the hilt.

    Your comments are, at best, misguided and, at worst, insulting. No-one has jumped in “like sheep” to this debate and made it worse. The debate about MG Motor and their marketing/professionalism/delays/lack of information has been going on for a good couple of years now so nothing here is particularly earth-shattering stuff.

    I would suggest that, if you want to see/read real “sheep” “fawning over” a marque, go to the MG Facebook page and read the comments of the “volunteers” – I have never seen so many souls, so gullible in going along with what they are being told and, as Johnos1984 says, doing all their PR work for them, gratis.

    All Steven has done in his piece is look at the MG6 launch issues from another perspective – the quality of the car itself. All the points he has made appear to be well-grounded in fact and he has not been totally negative about the car in his essay.

    Finally, I should be grateful if you would enlighten me as to what “Honda-derived drivel” the ZR and ZT were based on. I would also weigh in my “two penneth” that the ZS was a far better car than the Civic it shared a couple of panels with. I owned two of them and found them to be superb cars. The ZS was much better looking than the Civic and I know people who have owned both who agree with me.

    No-one is perfect, but taking people for mugs is unforgiveable and this is how things are starting to look.

  103. Ianto says:

    @Paul T
    I couldn’t agree more – the beauty of AROnline is that it tells it warts and all. There are no rose-tinted spectacles here!

    The other great strength of this site is, of course, the quality of the writing – a testament to Keith, Clive and the gang.

    Please keep the debate going.

  104. Rob C says:

    This really is laughable – I bet all the other manufacturers’ Marketing Departments are laughing their socks off at this!

    They’d be better off threatening to lump Childs one and getting him to have a rant about it on .org and YouTube…

  105. Russ says:

    I have feeling we will never see the MG6 being made at Longbridge. Hope I’m wrong, though…

  106. James Riley James says:

    @Russ
    …especially as it seems that, if you’re not knocking MG, you’re not in the club.

    @Paul T
    Most of your replies to this article have been fairly vitriolic towards MG and anyone who dares not criticise them enough so, rather than send me packing to another marque/website/forum, is it not surely you who is in the wrong place?

    I have to say this is the first time in the many years using this and other MG sites that I have been laid into for sticking up for the company/marque we all claim to enthuse about.

    AROnline is an excellent site – it always has been – and I have spent many an evening avidly reading it. However, this particular article – and I have no issue with its author or his freedom to write what he wants – with all its speculative what ifs/never been/maybes/rumours etc. has taken even me by surprise.

    I accept that most MG fans may have some concerns about what MG might become (and that includes myself), but I still have to ask what the aim of the article is because it hardly seems to help our cause.

    It reminds me of the Bernd Pischetsrieder approach to brand-building at the launch of the 75 – hardly helpful and best left to the forums where it can be “debated” – if this thread has been any kind of debate -rather than airing this in such a public environment.

    I dread to think what new, prospective MG buyers will think of all of this…

  107. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @James
    Sorry, James, but I feel I am absolutely in the right place and your posts seem to be more in tune with the MG apologist “sheep” than with the majority.

    You also seem to be under the impression, from your second paragraph:-

    “I have to say this is the first time in the many years using this and other MG sites that I have been laid into for sticking up for the company/marque we all claim to enthuse about.”

    that the current stewards of the MG marque have a direct historical link to the company’s latter-day history in Cemetery Road.

    At the risk of repeating myself, Steven’s article is very much grounded in facts, not what ifs/never beens etc. (getting tired now) and you seem to fail to have grasped this.

    You talk about vitriol, but your initial post dripped of it towards Steven and anyone else who dared to doubt the credibility of MG Motor UK Limited (or whatever Companies House has them registered as under now).

    We have been waiting for far too long now for some credible information about new cars to come out of Longbridge and we are insulted by the big relaunch being done through Facebook and delays in information downloads being due to Mummy & Daddy’s broadband being broken.

    Cecil Kimber will be turning in his grave, of that there is no doubt.

  108. Ianto says:

    It’s just a question of balance – after all, who can doubt the motives behind the MINI launch and history bears testimony to the success of that venture.

    Indeed, as the countdown approaches, we should cease to speculate and hope that there will be a fair outcome.

    I feel more nervous now then when I woke up at 5am to watch the final race of the 1996 F1 season. Fingers crossed for a successful launch.

  109. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Ianto :
    It’s just a question of balance – after all, who can doubt the motives behind the MINI launch and history bears testimony to the success of that venture. .

    Agreed.

    I think that, despite the chest-beating of the classic Mini enthusiasts over the years about the Big Bad Wolf that was BMW and what it did to ‘their’ car, there may not have been a MINI now had Cowley not been annexed from MGR. That factory may also have gone down the tubes in 2005.

    BMW had the money to invest in the plant and the car, cash that apparently MGR didn’t have going by subsequent developments post-2001

  110. Rob says:

    I’m still firmly of the opinion that MG Motor UK are going to sell about 500 MG6s, say “Well, we tried our best”, shut Longbridge and never be seen again.

    Sadly, other than people who frequent websites like this or are in the MGOC/MGCC, I don’t think anybody is interested in the Chinese attempting to sell a Chinese car which gets the badges glued on in Birmingham in the UK.

    I reckon that, unless they come out of the traps with a class-leading price and warranty package, advertised in the mass media, they are dead in the water.

  111. Cliff says:

    My prediction is the MG6 will be the toe in the water to (re)launch the brand, get Longbridge up and running, production processes ironed out and the Dealer Network established.

    We’ll then see the main marketing thrust in two to five years time. This will give them time to tweek the product and launch new models into other sectors.

    A few months delay might damage the initial model launch, but it isn’t so critical in big scheme of things. They are definitely making progress in spite of the delays, but don’t ask me how I know though.

  112. Rob says:

    A few months? They’ve been banging on about it for nearly a year – Autocar drove an MG6 last February.

  113. Cookie1600 says:

    I just can’t help thinking that there must be something inherently wrong with the basic vehicle for the European market, if it was available so much earlier for the Chinese. Mind you, name any Chinese car selling in any numbers currently in the EC (and I don’t mean Chinese-owned companies like Volvo).

    The Chinese picked up MG Rover for a song, exploited the production lines and ‘work in progress’ for their home market stop-gap models and hoped that the MG name which came with the purchase would one day open up the door back into the UK.

    This all smacks of a passing nod to UK buyers and it currently looks like the only way you’ll get one is to buy it as a kit and build it yourself in your shed. Frankly, for that money, I’ll take a Caterham 7 from Dartford, thanks!

    Just because you sold your Granddad’s medals to a foreign buyer, doesn’t mean that collector can bowl up wearing them to the British Legion Club and claim he fought for Blighty!

  114. Richard Moss says:

    Cookie1600 :
    Just because you sold your Granddad’s medals to a foreign buyer, it doesn’t mean that collector can bowl up wearing them to the British Legion Club and claim he fought for Blighty!

    That pretty much sums up the situation. The MINI is, at least, built by British workers in a British factory that used to make Minis (my dad worked on the Cowley Mini line many, many years ago).

  115. Russ says:

    @James
    I’m not knocking MG – I just feel that the lack of communication coming out of Longbridge suggests a bleek long-term future for car making at the plant.

    I have been driving many MGR models over the years and still run a 2003 ZR which has not been without fault but remains a damn good, fun car.

    The MG6 may well be a good car if they can get it right but to have no release date as yet for a car raises concerns that time may pass it by – let’s face it, the Focus has had two facelifts since we heard rumours of the 6 so, for it to compete, it needs to be good very good. The MG6 cannot rely on the MG following for mass sales and profit which is what Longbridge’s future needs.

  116. Russ says:

    @Cliff
    That wouldn’t be the knowledge of a former Powertrain worker would it? Ignore me if I am wrong.

  117. Jon says:

    You shouldn’t have to get people to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement for them to follow simple, polite instructions.

    Anybody who wanted the information was free and able to request the email from MG. I agree with all who have said that MG’s plan comes across as extremely amateur and a little dishonest and manipulative.

    However, recipients were expressly asked NOT to post on forums and I am incredulous that anybody would think that doing so immediately was okay – if we haven’t got personal integrity, then we have nothing. The whole sorry situation is too pathetic to comment on further.

  118. Simon Woodward says:

    @Eamonn
    Good point, products made in Asia are cheap due to their very low standard living at the moment.

    What will happen when people in Asia want more for all their hard work? Wages will go up, the cost of making the products will go up but will the infrastructure in terms of raw materials and power cope?

    Japan cottoned on quickly and built car plants in the USA and Europe – in fact, isn’t Nissan’s plant in Washington, Co. Durham one of the company’s most productive?

  119. didierz65 Didier Ziane says:

    So many hard feelings for so little… Next SAIC generation cars will be GM-derived, that’s everything one needs to know about MG’s future, isn’t it? Will there be a place in the market for a badge-engineered MG?

    £67M was a cheap way to get all the hard and software to build the 25 and 75, then give them a quick, cheap’n’cheerful tarting-up in order to give them a bit of shelf life as a stop-gap… How significant are MGR-derived products in SAIC’s empire compared to all the other branded (GM, not MG!) cars they shift? Has anyone wondered about that in Blighty?

    Surely IF, and that’s a big IF, MG products are coming back in Europe (the UK being only a part of it, maybe that plant can stick the octagon badges on if they’re not on strike…) then the MG6 should have been available by now – it’s been around for nearly 2 years!!!!

    The Chinese have well and truly bodged the MG re-launch last year and, with the MG6 unlikely to succeed, it will make it easy for them to sever any links with the old Birmingham plant. Anyway, the Chinese won’t want the MG6 to succeed as that would jeopardise next generation product strategy with GM.

    Honestly, how could they succeed after 6 years of no brand awareness, all the bad press which MGR had and, before that, even BMW gave up!!! I’m afraid even PR people have flown and got replaced, but nothing has moved any further really.

    MG died in 2005 and so did Rover – I’m not happy but it’s a fact, better get used to it and swallow or die a bitter person with “what ifs” for an epitaph.

    No, as I said above, the Chinese don’t want the MG6 to succeed because that would jeopardise next generation product strategy with GM. They can email me with details if I’m wrong (wroewe, wrongway or MG!)

  120. didierz65 Didier Ziane says:

    I think that when/IF the hard-working Chinese people go and have “their” revolution (the Army prevents any anti-social behaviour quite efficiently as we have witnessed before and China is information poor with full-on censorship from the People’s Government, erm dictatorship!!! I’m going stop here with politics or is it economics? A bit of both!!!) the Poundland world will be first to DIE.

    That’s just a start – everywhere in our household we have ARGOS “Made in China” products, from teaspoons to computers via the computer desk I’m writing from. How many folks in your entourage work in a FACTORY? (Don’t feel guilty, in France the “MADE IN FRANCE” tag is applied quite rarely as well). Think shortages of all the basic products which one takes for granted.

    Here’s a challenge: find a product in your household “MADE IN UK/EUROPE” and get back to me…

  121. Ianto says:

    @Didier Ziane
    Actually, if the new MG was a badge-engineered Insignia or new Astra, I would probably be the first in line.

    Let’s remember how MG started out by modifying Morrises, so I am not sure that further badge-engineering would be a very bad thing. It would be much better to keep the Chinese quality cars such as the 3 and 6 in China and Chile and give us badgeengineered Vauxhalls.

    Why not, in fact, drop the Vauxhall name completely and use MG for British Opels? That way everybody wins, as I am sure that MG has a far greater loyalty base than Vauxhall.

    Stranger things have happened than a GM-based MG, i.e. Lotus, Saab, etc.

  122. didierz65 Didier Ziane says:

    @Paul T
    The Chinese are very good at censoring Internet access…

  123. didierz65 Didier Ziane says:

    @Ianto
    GM-OPEL Europe are already in mucky waters – that won’t fit with their attempt to streamline their factories…

  124. Ianto says:

    Oh crap, I am so slow – I have only just realised the launch is nothing to do with the car and that it’s just their crummy ‘new’ badge and their website.

    This is simply shocking. It is getting on for a year since we first saw this car and there is still no real prospect of it launching in the UK.

    It looks as if MG really is knackered in the UK and I personally feel absolutely gutted.

    Off to bed, hoping I wake up and find this was all a nightmare… (Bobby Ewing style).

  125. didierz65 Didier Ziane says:

    @Rob
    I’m quite baffled that the cars have not been given a thorough inspection!!! Anyhow, it shouldn’t have required one – these aren’t pre-production or prototypes, they(SAIC)’ve been churning them out for more than a year… Is this history repeating itself despite a plant being halfway around the world?

  126. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Didier Ziane :
    @Paul T

    The Chinese are very good at censoring Internet access…

    I understand that, as their recent spat with Google emphasised. However, could you tell me what post # you were replying to? I had a quick scroll through and couldn’t see an obvious one!

    Cheers

  127. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Have a look at this MG6 promotional video on YouTube.

    Not new, but the first time I’ve seen it…

  128. Andrew Elphick says:

    OK, the announcement is (so far!):

    A new red badge. Bugger. U.K. Google impact? 0.0000recurring

  129. DaveH says:

    The reason SAIC Motor has not really pushed forward to get the MG6 to market in Europe and the UK is the economy. Why expand into a market when it’s failing?

    European markets like Britain and Germany are now showing some growth so they are putting their toe in with the MG6 – if that all goes well, don’t be surprised if you see more production done at Longbridge.

  130. Ianto says:

    Who’s laughing now?

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