MG Motor UK : MG 3 Customer Clinics begin at Prodrive Kenilworth

Clive Goldthorp

MG Motor UK Limited’s latest round of MG6 VIP Track Drives were not the only activity which the company was organising at Prodrive’s Test Track in Kenilworth this week. A select group of Dealer representatives and Motoring Journalists were invited to attend a Customer Clinic for the MG3 supermini.

The MG3, which went on sale in China just before last month’s Auto Shanghai, has not, as yet, been officially confirmed for release in the UK. However, if the feedback from the Customer Clinics proves to be positive, AROnline anticipates that UK-spec versions of the car will reach MG Dealers’ showrooms here during either Q3/2011 or Q1/2012.

AROnline understands that MG Motor UK has invited the owners of B-segment cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo to evaluate the MG3 and that the target price range for the new model might be in the region of £12,000 to £15,000 otr.

Interestingly, though, according to our colleagues at China Car Times, SAIC Motor Corporation Limited’s Executive Vice-President, Chen Zhixin, told the media assembled at Auto Shanghai that the MG3 would go into production in overseas markets very soon. SAIC Motor does, of course, have only one overseas production facility at the moment namely MG Birmingham…

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.

55 Comments on "MG Motor UK : MG 3 Customer Clinics begin at Prodrive Kenilworth"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. John says:

    I’ve never seen one of these cars in the metal but, in all the photographs, they just look wrong. Quite horrible, in fact.

  2. David 3500 says:

    John :
    I’ve never seen one of these cars in the metal but, in all the photographs, they just look wrong. Quite horrible, in fact.

    Maybe, but this is a natural market sector for MG saloons to compete in these days to ensure that they sell in reasonable numbers and also attract new, possibly younger buyers through the showroom doors. Admittedly a three-door version would look better than the current five-door version.

    Anyway, if it gets the go-ahead for going on sale in the UK and is to be built here, it will hopefully create additional employment opportunities at Longbridge and also give prospective MG Dealers even greater confidence to invest in the MG brand beyond a single model.

  3. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    I reckon it needs red seatbelts. 🙂

  4. Merlin Milner says:

    I think the MG3 looks good.

  5. Dolomitefan says:

    I quote like it but the door handles look very dated. Everyone has pull type ones these days.

  6. Vava1 says:

    Anyone know the differences between the Chinese and UK specs?

  7. DaveH says:

    I think that MG Motor UK needs to dress the MG3 up like the MG ZERO Concept car in order to generate sales in today’s market – this sector is all about style (think Fiat 500/Ford Fiesta/MINI) and this just looks like the love child of squashed MG6 and a Skoda Fabia.

  8. Mark Hayman says:

    It’s good that MG Motor UK is planning to increase the model range on sale here. I agree that a 3-door version of the MG3 should be produced as that would complement the MG brand. Let’s hope we will see a 3-door model soon.

  9. Andrew Elphick says:

    Well, if MG cannot be generous enough to invite AROnline to these launches, AROnline ought to relegate these snippets!

    Incidentally, the MG3 looks like my £6600 Kia Rio (also in white) from that angle – that’s a car which has been on sale in the UK for 6 years…

  10. Keith Adams :
    I reckon it needs red seatbelts.

    I personally think there should a three door version of the MG3 and a performance variant to rival the RenaultSport Clio and Seat Ibiza Cupra models. The red seatbelts would be a nice touch with a nod to the classic MG Metros.

  11. Richard says:

    The MG3 looks very bland and, if it goes on sale looking like this with the intention of competing with Ford, Fiat and others of similar ilk, it will bomb. However if, on the other hand, it competes with Kia etc., it might do okay but that might just do more harm than good to the still questionable brand image.

  12. Atsu says:

    The MG3 looks much nicer than the MG6 to me.

  13. pigeons99 Pigeons99 says:

    MG Motor UK should perhaps make a dual control one too. Try and corner that market a bit…

  14. Steve says:

    Richard :
    The MG3 looks very bland and, if it goes on sale looking like this with the intention of competing with Ford, Fiat and others of similar ilk, it will bomb. However if, on the other hand, it competes with Kia etc., it might do okay but that might just do more harm than good to the still questionable brand image.

    Yes, and following on from that, £12k seems a bit steep for an entry-level model. What was the basic CityRover – £7k? That’s more like it, unless they turn the UK version of the MG3 into something special.

  15. Jon says:

    I think that price point reflects the engine choice which is a nippy 1.5-litre to start with. I assume that, when the SAIC Motor/General Motors JV SGE engines are in production, the MG3 will be fitted with these smaller engines and the range will be expanded downwards…

    Jon.

  16. Steve LE says:

    I would like to see a three-door version with a ZR-type body kit. I would also like to think the final UK version of the MG3 will be different in lots of ways to the Chinese-spec model – just like the MG6 GT.

    Let’s wait and see. These are exciting times…

  17. Russ says:

    RUBBISH !!!!!!!

  18. Mark Pitchford says:

    John :
    I’ve never seen one of these cars in the metal but, in all the photographs, they just look wrong. Quite horrible, in fact.

    Russ :
    RUBBISH !!!!!!!

    Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, to respond to these considered and insightful opinions, to me the MG3 looks like a neat and modern design in the same vein as the Skoda Fabia and Suzuki Swift.

    I would, though, say that I thought the MG6 was a bit bland and uncomfortably similar to a Mazda6 until I saw it in the metal and that this particular photo is taken from a bizarre and unflattering angle.

    Certainly, I see no sign of the styling clangers of the past like the Allegro, Maxi, Maestro or Montego – they would all probably have benefited from blandness!

  19. Tim_Burgess Tim Burgess says:

    It’s good news that MG Motor UK is giving consideration to the expansion of the range but an entry-level price of £12k is way too expensive.

  20. Colm says:

    Looks dull. Black a pillar straight off skoda fabia who nicked the idea from the new mini.
    Cant see any reason to buy one.

  21. James Riley James says:

    I think that the MG3 looks quite good in the above picture – not exceptional, but certainly something which will sell in reasonable numbers these days.

    Ultimately, that’s more important than pleasing people who wouldn’t be happy with anything other than a re-launched MG Maestro.

  22. Ian says:

    The MG3’s a decent looking car, especially when dressed up like the ZERO Concept. I don’t know why so many people here are being negative. I’d be more than happy with one of these built in Longbridge.

  23. Monica Fernandez says:

    @Andrew Elphick
    How could someone who reads this passionate enthusiasts’ website drive a Kia Rio for crying out loud?! Stop the world I want to get off!

  24. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    @Andrew Elphick
    AROnline does, to be fair, get invites, but we can’t make them all. Anyway, let’s face it, editorial shouldn’t be bought. 🙂

    /K

  25. Hilton Davis says:

    Red or even maroon seatbelts (like the old MG logo colour) would look good. It would be advantageous for MG to launch the 3 in the UK and build up its model range but I probably wouldn’t buy one.

  26. Clive Goldthorp David says:

    I think the MG3 could be a good seller if the styling is right – it has to loose those tiny wheels, though.

  27. Ross A says:

    Hmm… Those numbers don’t seem right and I’d doubt the MG3 will be part-built here – if MG Motor UK are going for the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto as well as Chevrolet Aveo territory, £9,999 would seem about right to me. However, if they do assemble them here, it’d be interesting to see what gets sourced here… Very little, I’d say.

  28. Mike Goy says:

    Well, if Fiat can sell the Punto My Life special edition for £9995…

  29. Jon says:

    Ross A :
    Hmm… Those numbers don’t seem right and I’d doubt the MG3 will be part-built here – if MG Motor UK are going for the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto as well as Chevrolet Aveo territory, £9,999 would seem about right to me. However, if they do assemble them here, it’d be interesting to see what gets sourced here… Very little, I’d say.

    I’d say more Hyundai i20 or Kia Rio considering its size. The Rio CRD is a great value little thing – the 105bhp TD motor gives enough poke and great economy.

    Jon.

  30. Ian says:

    Actually, in the UK, the Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi has 109PS (108bhp), rather than 105bhp. 😉

    What was on show was a 1.5 version of the MG3. It isn’t designed to compete with the 1.1s and 1.2s of the world – it is there to compete with the mid to top of the range so, if you think £9995 is the right price for that, you are sadly mistaken.

    Vauxhall has just revealed its latest price list and £9995 buys you a poverty spec Corsa Expression 1.0i 12v 3-door. Need I go on?

    A new MG3 is much more than we could have hoped for six years ago. Why on earth is everyone so negative?

  31. Jonathan Carling says:

    I bet MG aren’t looking to be compared with the Hyundais and Kias of this world! However, they are obvious competitors in terms of function and price.

    The 3 will have to be good to drive, just like the 6, to have a chance and to maintain any sense of MG-ness. Personally, I think it looks great and that gives it a chance.

  32. Steve says:

    The MG3 is FAR, FAR too Asian looking!!! Urghh! Too tall and straight from the side with nasty, mid-Nineties looking door handles… Even Proton can do better than this and look where they stand in the UK market!

  33. Richard says:

    I cannot believe the negativity on here. Okay, so beauty is in the eye of the beholder but give the car a break, folks.

    Anyway, from what I have read, it looks as though MG is going to have a supermini that might have a chance of appealing to a majority of buyers rather than the minority who only want souped-up hot hatches based on antiquated models.

  34. Roverman says:

    Well, to me the MG3’s rear is very similar to the Fiat Grande Punto and the front looks a bit like the Skoda Fabia and Suzuki Swift. Not really FAR, FAR too Asian looking is it?

    I will also be very surprised if they start at £12k as otherwise the MG3, MG5 and MG6 are all going to straddle each other quite badly on price.

  35. Ross A says:

    Actually, I am far from negative – it’s just that, initially, I couldn’t understand the suggested pricing and what the MG3’s competitors would be. Indeed, the only major criticism from the press (again) seems to be the interior quality – if MG Motor UK can get that licked, then these cars would be unstoppable.

    Having seen a profile view of this car, I have to say, it looks really smart but I still reckon they might need to price it a bit more keenly to start with.

    The MG6 seems to be doing well and they appear to be taking on feedback quite well so I think you’ll start to see some changes in specification come the mid-cycle facelift in about three or four years time – that’s when product life cycle enhancement occurs for most cars in the auto industry.

  36. Doodle says:

    @Vava1
    Yes, quality.

    The problem is that, irrespective of how much final assembly is done there, any cars produced at Longbridge will always carry the stigma caused by MGR’s downfall. The MG6 and MG3 may be good cars but SAIC Motor should have started afresh in a totally new plant.

    The company should, in my opinion, move forward with the General Motors deal – that gives SAIC Motor endless opportunities.

    Incidentally, the downside to the ‘Designed in the UK’ theme is that many of the Designers and Engineers are the same individuals who contributed to MG Rover’s demise.

  37. Stan says:

    Open the link to China Car Times in the last paragraph of the article above – I think the MG3 pictured there will be the UK version.

  38. @Doodle
    Just a few points in clarification:-

    1) SAIC Motor had no realistic option other than to use Longbridge as a base for the UK and Europe. NAC already had a 33 Year Lease on the site which SAIC Motor remained legally bound by following the takeover of NAC on 1 April 2008.

    2) Your suggestion that MGR’s Designers and Engineers contributed to that company’s demise is more than a tad unfair – just read the DBIS Inspectors’ Report which was published in June 2009. You can access Volume I here and Volume II here.

    3) Indeed, a significant proportion of the work on the new SAIC Motor/GM SGE engine family is, in fact, being undertaken by the self-same former MGR Engineers now working for SMTC UK at MG Birmingham. See: MG Motor UK: SMTC UK’s role in GM-SAIC powertrain programme, AROnline, 3 November 2010 and, more recently, GM tie-up ‘will help MG’, Richard Bremner, Autocar, 9 May 2011.

  39. David says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Your response to Doodle’s posting is absolutely correct – I could not have put it better myself.

    However, I would add to your second point that MG Rover Group’s Engineers did not have the final say in what was adopted for production purposes and what had to be changed, based on the need to cut costs. These decisions were always taken by senior management at Director level.

    I have always maintained that, under the right management team i.e. one focused on quality rather than cost and which provided them with a decent budget, MG Rover Group’s Engineers were more than capable of producing new models with new engines that would compete with some of the best rivals in the marketplace.

    Then again, this view doesn’t just start and end with MG Rover Group, but with the previous incarnations of the company from the 1960s, such as BMC, BLMC, BL etc.

  40. Engineer says:

    I think labour relations (aka unions), a fragmented manufacturing plant and poorly planned range had more to do with BL’s downfall and Rover’s subsequent lack of funding than the Engineers’ ability.

    This MG3 will undoubtly be fine, not a star, but more than adequate. Given that most people buy cars based on price, Dealer location and what their mate down the pub drives, I’m confident it will sell well regardless of what we motoring enthusiasts think.

  41. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Doodle
    The idea that the Designers and Engineers were significantly responsible for MG Rover’s demise suggests you might like to browse the pages of this site for a while…

  42. Richard says:

    Labour relations were disastrous in the 1970s in particular and the union leadership both at national and local level acted irresponsibly as did the workers and as did the management.

    BL certainly suffered from poor manufacturing plant (largely inherited from BMC) but, even at their newer, state of the art facilities they still managed to turn out poorly built cars.

    However, as far as the Designers and Engineers were concerned, I always thought they did a brilliant job producing cars out of thin air (e.g. the MGF, the Rover 200). It was, in my opinion, the marketing and terrible planning that let them down.

  43. Doodle says:

    Gentlemen, I stand corrected – I have read the relevant information provided by Clive and my views were grossly unfair. My apologies…

  44. @Doodle
    Respect – especially if you have read through all 830 pages of the DBIS Inspectors’ Report! 🙂

  45. Doodle says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Well, Clive, I wouldn’t say I’ve read all 830 pages but enough to put me right, cheers.

  46. e668ecp says:

    £12k… give me a break. Try £7k

    And paint the A pillar cos it looks crap

  47. Will M says:

    The Dacia Sandero is to be made available for £7k.

    The A pillar blackening is to try and emulate the “MINI”, Skoda Fabia, Suzuki Swift.

  48. Dennis says:

    “And paint the A pillar cos it looks crap”

    It’s in fashion now though isn’t it, various other cars do the same thing. It doesn’t seem to have done the Mini’s sales any harm for example.

    £12k start price does seem a little high, but then if you read the article.

    “AROnline understands that MG Motor UK has invited the owners of B-segment cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo to evaluate the MG3 and that the target price range for the new model might be in the region of £12,000 to £15,000 otr.”

    The key point is “ARO understands price MIGHT be in the region of…” So that’s hardly a defined statement of the actual price. It is after all why they hold customer clinics!

  49. ben says:

    I like it but when will it make it here

  50. delboydenmark says:

    Today is the 5th October 2012 and the MG 3 is still not with us.(17 months after this story was first released)By the time it gets here (possibly summer 2013)the car will look very outdated.Cannot understand MGs thinking at the moment.

  51. davis13 says:

    it looks like a skoda fabia in front view and a fiat punto in the back view: too sad and too cheap and not exciting at all

  52. Adrian888 says:

    I think MG use a different calendar to the rest of the world….. everything is generally 18 months or more behind our understanding of the dates they refer to…….. Probably best in future to add 18 months to any on sale date they give. I despair of the company who seem to be as good at missing opportunties as did BLMC of the 60’s and 70’s when they ignored such concepts as the Aquila about which I have just read. Unfortunately the one UK tradition the Chinese have bought into hook line and sinker is the wrong bleeping one!

  53. Ford Prefect says:

    I suspect its will be a nice car, but don;t like the look of it, or the MG6 TBH, but then the last car to appear that I really did like the look of was probbly the Alfa 156 or 166 (although the headlights on the latter are a bit small), very few cars after that have looked any good at all IMHO so this car is not alone

  54. delboydenmark says:

    Over 20 months have gone since this story started and still no release date(unless you call 2013 a release date).

  55. delboydenmark says:

    I have heard September 2013 as a possible release date.That is 28 months after this story was first released and god knows how long after the car was released in China.

Have your say...