MG6 : Breaking cover at Auto Shanghai next week

Keith Adams 

MG6 rendering hints at sporting style

MG6 rendering hints at sporting style

SAIC Design’s renderings of the MG6 Concept have now filtered onto the web and hint at an exciting future line-up of sporting hatchbacks based upon the critically acclaimed Roewe 550. The new hatchback is already deep into a stringent global development programme, with the latest sightings in Germany. The 1.8-litre turbocharged hot hatch will initially be built in China but production in Longbridge still hangs in the balance due to the global economic downturn. 

The new-age MG ZS is set to make its world debut at next week’s Auto Shanghai  – at least in concept form – but it’s clear that the focus will be on aggressive styling and sporting dynamics. The MG6 is the first in a series of three saloon/hatchback models intended to re-establish the MG marque globally, with the TF (which is built in Longbridge and China) doing its best in the sports car market pending the development of a successor. 

MG6 Rear end will be a radical departure from the Roewe 550 its based on

MG6's rear end will be a radical departure from the Roewe 550 it's based upon

Despite bullish predictions for UK production last year, the chances of the MG6 being built here are looking increasingly unlikely – the economic case for that has become harder to justify and SAIC Motor has reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in General Motors Europe. Longbridge’s chances have also not been help by the failure of the TF LE500 to find buyers (it was pre-sold to dealers who have been unable to pass their cars onto new customers, despite heavy discounts). 

The Roewe 550’s emergence onto the European market looks certain to be sooner rather than later, given the recent sighting in Germany. The car pictured is wearing standard German number plates and so will have passed the local equivalent of the SVA – and that means it’s more or less compliant with all German (and therefore EU) regulations. The MG6’s passage into Europe will be eased by the 550’s EU homologation… 

However, perhaps the most important point revealed by the images of the MG6 and Roewe N1 is that, at least in China, MG=hatchback and Roewe=saloon. 

Roewe 550 spotted tested in Aachen, Germany

Roewe 550 spotted on test in Aachen, Germany

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.

23 Comments on "MG6 : Breaking cover at Auto Shanghai next week"

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  1. Ken Strachan says:

    Very bad news on the TF front – no wonder my local dealer no longer carries the logo in their press ad’s

  2. Ian Leggett says:

    I am afraid that once a brand has been effectively discontinued then re introducing it is almost impossible. We may have nostalgia to think about but the main stream car buyer is not concerned with that, only that it has a good reliability record and will hold it’s value. Can MG satisfy both those demands?

  3. Ian Clegg says:

    I have owned a Rover 200 for the past 11 years and the car has proved to be very reliable. It has never let me down at all – it is the best car I have ever bought. I would not hesitate to buy another given the chance.

    Roll on the new MG models!

  4. Mark says:

    The TF at least kept their hand in – and prevented the plant getting musty – but it was never going to set the world on fire. It would be a good new buy at a hefty discount though and SAIC/NJ certainly demonstrated commitment by sticking with it.

    I cannot wait for the MG6 unveiling – I think the MG brand has loads of potential with the upcoming models (I really think the Roewe brand is a dire, tasteless play on ‘Rover’).

    The new 6 won’t be a carbon copy of the sketches but if it comes close I’ll put my order in on the 21st… if it’s going to be built in Brum. I love my ZS but a good looking new toy – Mmmm.

  5. Nick says:

    Now is it just me but does the back of that look very similar to a BMW 5 Series at a glance? Dont get me wrong i like the look of it, but that back end looks a bit too BMW ish for my liking.

  6. Mickey says:

    Instead of the Roewe brand coming to Europe, why don’t SAIC try to buy the Rover brand from Tata who might be happy to sell it.

  7. Michael says:

    I loved MG Rover, (and all of it’s name variations through the decades), and I still love my old Rover 820, but you know, I can’t for the life of me muster any enthusiasm for a car that is Chinese. By that I mean a car that benefits the chinese economy in any way. In a way it’s nice that the name lives on in some form or another but I can’t really support a company owned by a country that fills the global market with goods produced in sweatshops with no regard for human welfare. I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but china are bad news and had western countries and companies not given their manufacturing to china, we might be looking at a very different picture in the world’s enonomy today.

  8. Bill says:

    @Michael
    I agree, while MG Rover was British, I would gladly support it. I have no interest in supporting the Chinese economy, which is why I have just taken a new MINI for a test drive to replace my Rover 25, and very nice it was too.

    However, if MG had been bought by Tata, then maybe. Small MGs built with Jaguar technology, now that could have been interesting…

  9. Rich says:

    But the new MINI is German, my dear.

  10. Richard says:

    @Rich
    The MINI is made at Cowley.

  11. Hilton Davis says:

    This new proposed MG6 looks nice and sporting and considerably different to my previous MG ZS – as it should. It would be good for the UK if built at Longbridge, but as Keith says that’s doubtful, then it’s hard to convince myself that this is a true MG, retaining the “heritage”. Look forward to seeing the real thing though…

  12. Philip says:

    Ian L says: “I am afraid that once a brand has been effectively discontinued then re introducing it is almost impossible.”

    Agreed – but think back to the early 80s – Midget and B died, Abingdon closed, and MG disappeared – and was then restarted after a break of a few years with the Maestro etc – perhaps not the marque’s finest cars, but if they’ve done it once…

  13. James says:

    With Tata owning the Rover brand, you could well see Rover badged cars in the future. Whether they are built in the UK is another matter.

    If the Chinese ramp up production at Longbridge and build variants of all their products for UK and European markets there, it would inspire some of the British cars for British people warriors. It would be same as buying any other manufacturers cars built in the UK. Nissan, Toyota etc. Ironically these cars (eg. Avensis, Auris & Note, Micra and Qashqai) are built here but are nowhere near best sellers in the UK.

    Ford don’t build any cars in the UK and they seem to have done quite well.

    Ultimately it is the product that the people will go for. It has to look good, drive well, well priced and be reliable. If MG can get the reliability of the new engines right, and set the prices competitively then there is no reason they wouldn’t do well.

  14. Ross says:

    If its built in Britain it will be excellant and i would buy one. If built in China the quailty will be poor. Just take a look at a pionner motorbike, good looking but unless you buy one and rebuild it yourself it will fall apart after 6 months

  15. WarrenL says:

    Guys, it’s a fine detail but remember that Land Rover owns the Rover brand, not Tata.

  16. James says:

    Indeed, and Tata own Land Rover.

  17. Jonathan Williams says:

    I saw one of these Roewe 550’s on the M6 going north across the Lake District just before Christmas

  18. Antonio Valdina says:

    Er- I think I’ve said this before- doesn’t Ford have the Rover name?

  19. Ian Leggett says:

    WELL, having seen the new MG6 in the photo it looks,
    well “boring”. The artist impression did look interesting, so what happened? It just looks like another ordinary boring modern tin box. Sorry, that’s my opinion. Regards, Ian.

  20. Syke says:

    Uh, didn’t Ford (Dearborn, USA) buy the rights to the name “Rover”? Not with any intention of producing a new line of cars, of course, but to make sure that some Chinese firm couldn’t use it.

    Tata owns the rights to “Land Rover” as well as production of the vehicles.

  21. ian leggett says:

    Yes Ford did buy Rover name and refused to sell to SAIC, but when TATA bought Land Rover , Ford sold the Rover name also to Tata.

  22. Tony LR2 says:

    I’m not surprised (though very disappointed) at the sales failure of the TF LE500 – a couple or weeks ago I saw one displayed for sale in a promotion in Colchester town centre by the local MG dealer. Despite being “brand new”, the front MG badge was severely delaminated in exactly the same way that my own ZTT’s front grille badge went after just 2 years of ownership. Needless to say, made the entire car look tatty and uninviting to a prospective buyer.

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