MG ZERO Concept : British design stars at Auto China 2010

Clive Goldthorp

Crisp and exciting frontal styling for the MG ZERO Concept.

Crisp and exciting frontal styling for the MG ZERO Concept.

SAIC Motor has, as anticipated, officially unveiled the MG ZERO Concept car at Auto China 2010 in Beijing today.

The Birmingham-based MG Global Design Team, led by British MG Design Director Tony Williams-Kenny, developed the MG ZERO Concept and the car now looks set to become one of the stars at what has rapidly become a globally significant automotive event.

The car, which measures around 4m. in length, shows how MG’s future design direction will develop and demonstrates how the marque can expand into the high-volume B-segment. MG Motor UK Limited says that the ZERO Concept “reflects the latest trends in the market for vehicle size, styling and technology and is designed to show how MG will offer products that will appeal to a wide audience across the global market.”

However, the ZERO Concept also demonstrates SAIC Motor’s design and engineering capabilities by showcasing several innovative features. The bold interior, which has clean and simple lines with high contrast flashes of accent colour, uses the latest technology touch screens to allow occupants to interact with the world around them and features a striking ‘floating console’ design around the driver.

MG ZERO Concept rear end...

MG ZERO Concept rear end…

The high-tech materials used in the MG ZERO Concept’s interior are inspired by ultra high-performance sports while leading-edge interior lighting features are used “to create real emotion in the cabin.” The bold red-coloured illumination adds a touch of drama.

MG Design Director, Tony Williams-Kenny commented: “This concept shows a bold, individual soul. The bonnet is formed around the famous octagonal badge, the graphics flow into striking lamps and the large lower grille completes the confident, sporty character.

“The body-side has a strong shoulder, a dynamic scalloped feature in the doors and flared arches to give a wide stance and strong road presence. The feature lines have been designed to give a strong relationship to the wheel arch demonstrating the fun nature of the cars dynamics.”

MG ZERO is crucial to the development of the brand globally, as it gives clear direction for the future beyond the current products. We are all proud to see our British-designed vehicle wearing the MG badge creating such an impact in Beijing.” Guy Jones, Sales and Marketing Director, MG Motor UK Limited

Guy Jones, MG Motor UK Limited’s Sales and Marketing Director, added: “MG ZERO is crucial to the development of the brand globally, as it gives clear direction for the future beyond the current products. We are all proud to see our British-designed vehicle wearing the MG badge creating such an impact in Beijing. With the MG TF back in production in Birmingham, sales increasing and the MG6 coming at the end of the year, the MG ZERO has come at the perfect time to build further awareness and interest in the brand here in the UK.”

AROnline reckons that a production version of the MG ZERO Concept should hit UK-based MG Dealers’ showrooms in the not too distant future. However, in the meantime, the SAIC Motor-inspired MG renaissance does seem to be gathering some real and much-needed momentum…

MG ZERO interior will be toned down for production

MG ZERO interior will be toned down for production

[Editor’s Notes: 1) Our colleague Ash Sutcliffe from China Car Times has now published a series of photographs of the MG ZERO Concept being displayed on SAIC Motor’s stand at Auto China 2010. See this article and the accompanying Gallery: MG ZERO – Small, compact and set to be awesome! 23rd April, 2010. 2) Our colleagues at Autocar.co.uk have also added more photographs and a video to their original story on the MG ZERO Concept. See: MG ZERO – new pics and video 27th April, 2010.]

Gallery

 

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

30 Comments on "MG ZERO Concept : British design stars at Auto China 2010"

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  1. Simon Woodward says:

    This looks loads better than the MG2 and should go into production.

  2. Darren says:

    Looks pretty cool!

  3. John says:

    The interior looks to have been inspired by the MG EX-E Concept cars from the 80s.

  4. Auntie Ian says:

    That’s more like it! Nice surfacing along the flanks, good stance – nose down, wheels out, just the opposite of the underwhelming MG6. Let’s hope they keep it like that for the production version.

    Isn’t it interesting that just about every car these days seems to have a grille inspired by the old Mini? Citroen, Ford, Kia – it’s everywhere!

  5. Jack Yan Jack Yan says:

    The first shots I saw were naff, especially down the back, but seeing these official pics I am taking back some of what I said. That rear door shape still irks me – it still looks like it belongs to a dull, three-box saloon (which it probably does) – but I love the rest of the detailing.

  6. Steve R says:

    This is much better than the MG2, it has style and presence. Not sure about the interior though – toned down or not for production, it doesn’t look like a very relaxing place to be!

  7. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Looks quite promising…

  8. This car is horrible!

  9. Alex Mathias says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the production version looks – and to some proper non-studio photographs too.

  10. @Alex Mathias
    Ironically, I was just adding my Editor’s Note to the above article at almost exactly the same time as you were posting your comment! Anyway, in answer to your request, please now see: MG ZERO – Small, compact and set to be awesome! on China Car Times.

  11. Dr Bobby Love says:

    …so this is what the Skoda Fabia vRS Mk2 SHOULD have looked like!

  12. Bajandave says:

    Now this is more like it!

  13. IT STILL LOOKS HORRIBLE!

  14. Snapdragon Snapdragon says:

    A bit too much of the first-generation Fiat Punto around the high waistline, slab sides and C-pillar. Nose and tail aren’t bad though.

  15. Joe says:

    Is this what MG is now – a saloon and a rather un-hot hatchback? Sorry, but SAIC Motor has no concept of what MG was or is and it’s obvious that the British designers at Longbridge have little say in what end product will go into production. It’s all very sad!

  16. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Joe
    You’re right, of course. This is pretty much what happened to Rover 20 years ago when the brand character was severely diluted because it had to take on a mass market role.

  17. Alex Mathias says:

    I rather think people have to get used to the fact that MG will now mean something different. MG has, in the past, meant fairly crude sports cars or warmed-up versions of saloons but that’s all pretty old hat now and of little to interest today’s buyers – hence the low sales levels achieved by MG Rover.

    It’s clear from the ZERO Concept that MG will mean sporty, practical, stylish with the sort of stuff to interest the younger generation, like loads of kit choices, Android software and advanced entertainment systems as well as performance models.

    This is just what the brand needs to compete with the image leaders such as BMW and MINI etc.

  18. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Alex Mathias
    I hope you’re right but I’d be worried that, just like Rover, MG UK will find they have to sell downmarket models (1991 Rover Metro Quest anybody?) to get the sales up. The MG2 doesn’t have the heritage appeal of a MINI or a Fiat 500 and I wonder whether the name MG will be enough to give it that upmarket feel.

  19. Brian says:

    Hmmm… a high waistline and (nearly) quartic steering wheel – if they’d round off the body and add MGF suspension, it’d be the Allegro Mk4!

  20. Brian says:

    It must be remembered that this is no Project Kimber – although the UK and Europe are important to the Chinese, they are achieving sales in China and worldwide with the MG badge which would have had the Phoenix Four walking on air.

    Who knows what the production figures would be in a few years time if the Austin and/or Morris badges were to be developed for the small cars and, perhaps, Wolseley and Vanden Plas for the large cars?

  21. Simon Hodgetts says:

    Brian :
    It must be remembered that this is no Project Kimber – although the UK and Europe are important to the Chinese, they are achieving sales in China and worldwide with the MG badge which would have had the Phoenix Four walking on air.

    Who knows what the production figures would be in a few years time if the Austin and/or Morris badges were to be developed for the small cars and, perhaps, Wolseley and Vanden Plas for the large cars?

    Brian, I admire your idealism, but let’s face facts, Austin, Morris, Wolseley and VP are all dead brands. Nobody under the age of 25 knows what they are, let alone why they should buy them…

  22. David says:

    Agreed, it’s a great looking concept, but I just get the feeling that some of the freshness and innovation of the show concept will be watered down for a production version – it’s what the MG marque has done time and time again under a succession of owners.

    I just get the feeling that SAIC Motor really doesn’t have a clue about MG’s brand heritage – after all, if they can shamelessly chuck some MG badges on the Rover 75 Coupe which was a one-off model to commemorate the centenary of the Viking Longship and pass it off as an MG Concept (and nobody was fooled by it), then what hope is there? None of this is ever going to encourage me to support MG.

  23. @David
    I have not had a chance to check the chronology but, to the best of my recollection, the badging of the Rover 75 Coupe as an MG was done by NAC before the SAIC Motor takeover…

    I do, though, have good reason to be confident that the personnel at MG Birmingham are very conscious of the need to redfine MG in a manner consistent with both the marque’s sporting heritage and the demands of the Chinese and European markets moving forward into the second decade of the 21st Century.

  24. Roverman says:

    John :

    The interior looks to have been inspired by the MG EX-E Concept cars from the 80s.

    @John
    Blimey, I thought the same – a pity that the ZERO will be watered down when released.

  25. Andy says:

    Hey, don’t knock it until you have seen it in the metal. I reckon that it looks pretty cool and would buy it. Well done! MG Rover is alive – albeit in a new form – in my book.

  26. Charles says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    All I ever remember was having British cars in my family. You don’t need to be over 20 to remember what Rover was about – cheap and over-priced products. The 800 Coupe was, in my opinion, the only Rover that was considered worthy enough as a true Englishman’s car.

  27. Philip Jackson says:

    Looks a lot like a hyundai i20, not that the chinese would blatantly copy another companies design of course

  28. TR8 Driver says:

    Its just another hatch. MG = 2 seat open top roadster or 2+2 GT road rocket. NOT CRAPPY HATCHES SUVs or Sedan/saloons. My every day car is a Honda Civic 1.8SE hatch but for pleasure I drive my original Triumph TR8. V8 roadster fresh air motoring brilliant. COME ON CHINA build an MGDr2 like the photos on ARONLINE 100,000 cars can be sold annually easy. The world and I would pay £18.5K for a 2ltr vvt and £24.5k for a 2.7Ltr turbo diesel aimed at Europe drivers and £29.9K for a 3ltr turbo V6 petrol car.

  29. TR8 Driver says:

    Mazda MX-5 sports car price, specifications, engines and equipment
    http://www.mazda.co.uk/cars/mx-5-soft-top/specs-and-prices/

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