MG : The core three model range takes shape

Keith Adams

MG3 is the entry level of in MG's impressive new range...

MG3 is the entry level of in MG's impressive new range...

SAIC Motor unveiled the MG Concept 5 at Auto Shanghai 2011 this week and, in so doing, revealed the central and probably most significant piece in the MG jigsaw to the world. You can be sure that the production version, the MG5, will be on sale in China within a year or so and in the UK by Q4 2013. The new car is aimed squarely at the heartland of the C-segment Volkswagen Golf sector in terms of size – if not price – and will slot comfortably between the MG3 supermini and MG6 mid-liner.

However, what are the expectations for the three core cars which will form the backbone of the MG range in the UK? What will power them, who will buy them and, most importantly, how much will they cost?

MG3

Anticipated price: £9000-£15,000
Principal rival: Skoda Fabia
UK launch date: Q4 2012

MG3
MG3

The B-segment MG3 supermini was introduced in China last February and is currently only available in 1.5-litre petrol form, but a diesel-engined version is to follow with an anticipated launch date in the UK in Q4 2012. AROnline reckons that, if the precedent established by the MG6 is followed, the version sold here will feature a UK-specific suspension set-up and will be priced competitively, but far from the bargain basement.

MG Motor UK says that the Skoda Fabia will be the MG3’s most significant rival. However, we reckon that the company will seek to differentiate the MG3 from the Skoda Fabia by emphasising the brand’s sporting characteristics so expect large wheels, a generally high equipment level and entertaining handling.

SAIC Motor’s NSE series of engines is currently available in 1.5-litre form with 105bhp, but it is expected that a 1.3-litre version will round off the range –  there are currently no plans to use the larger 1.8-litre TCI Tech (nee K-Series) engine and a performance version of the MG3 will be powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre. The styling of the MG3 shown in Shanghai will be enhanced for the UK and Europe and incorporate some of the features found on the ZERO Concept, which has been well-received by potential UK buyers.

MG Zero concept
MG ZERO Concept

MG5

Anticipated price: £13,000-£17,500
Principal rival: Mazda 3
UK launch date: Q4 2013

MG Concept 5
MG Concept 5

AROnline believes that, if MG Motor UK follows a similar launch timetable to that adopted for the MG6 and MG3, the MG5 will reach Chinese showrooms during Q4 2012 and then go on sale in the UK at some point during the next 12 months. The styling, striking in concept form, was penned in the UK at Longbridge and will be toned down for production – there will, though, be a clear relationship between Concept 5 and MG5.

Once again, the NSE engines will power the MG5, which is effectively a funky hatchback reskin of the Roewe 350 – a car that’s been on sale for a year in China. The entry-level 105bhp car could well be complimented by a turbocharged version, as well as a larger two-litre range-topper which will also feature an all-new, in-house developed six-speed gearbox.

The MG5 rides on the same platform as the Roewe 350 and is the marque’s first all-new set-up – the Roewe 350 beat the MG3 onto the market by eight months. The front suspension is by MacPherson struts with  a torsion-beam set-up at the rear. However, if that doesn’t sound too exciting, remember that the British team, including talented Chassis Engineer, Andy Kitson, has a proven track record for developing class-leading dynamic packages.

The MG5 seems set to arrive in UK showrooms during 2013 (possibly as early as Q2 or Q3) and by then MG Motor UK will probably have moved the MG6’s price points upwards – any confusion as to where the MG6 is positioned in the marketplace will therefore have effectively been eliminated. The MG5 will be pitched squarely against the key C-segment protagonists such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, but at a lower – although not bargain – price.

MG6

Price: £15,495-£18,995
Principal rival: Skoda Octavia
UK launch date: On sale now

MG6
MG6

The MG6 Fastback is the first of the new-generation MGs to go on sale in the UK and we already know all we need to know about the car. The launch has been a low-key affair to date, but the British public seems to have given the car a pretty warm reception and it has received a raft of excellent reviews.

The MG6 Saloon, which is effectively a re-nosed Roewe 550, has received such a positive response in Customer Clinics that MG Motor UK has brought the launch date forward by three months to mid-July. The MG6 Saloon will be priced at a premium of between £500 and £1000 over the Fastback. The initial sales target for both versions of the MG6 is 2000 units per annum, but this is a slow build-up while the Dealer Network is expanded in anticipation of the arrival of the MG3 and MG5.

Interestingly, the dimensions of both the MG6 Fastback and Saloon are more akin to those of the D-segment than the C-segment – the MG6 Saloon is longer than the new Volvo S60 for instance…

Auto Express has already reported that MY13 versions of the MG6 will be available with not only the 1.9-litre diesel but also a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a six-speed gearbox. MG Motor UK has indicated that the MG6′s current prices will be increased after the initial launch period (from 1 June, 2011?) and, in view of the improvements to the range, those prices are likely to be increased again with the introduction of the MY13 models in a gradual shift upmarket.

The MG6’s move upmarket will mean that, by the time the MG5 and MY13 MG6 are both on sale in the UK and Europe, the latter model will probably be competing more closely on price with D-segment contenders such as the Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat.

Cars for the future

SAIC Motor has given visiting British UK MG Dealers details of MG’s Five Year Future Product Programme and it’s worth noting that the company’s first MGR-derived product, the Roewe 750, was launched nearly five years ago in October 2006. The company has therefore been developing both Roewe and MG models at an impressive pace but, with the 3, 5 and 7’s path now defined, the company’s eyes are now set on developing those marques with the aid of the experts in the UK as well as China.

New sports cars will be central to MG’s appeal in Europe and the USA and these are already in the planning phase, with the UK engineers in particular keen to push forward. We have already reported that the MG TF platform is dead, despite impressive late-life development, but SAIC Motor has now confirmed that an all-new front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car ‘invoking the spirit of the MGB’ should hit the market five years from now.

However, before then, the MG3, MG5 and MG6 will be joined by the Roewe 750’s GM-based replacement and a possibly SsangYong-based crossover – both of which have already been spotted testing. MG Motor UK is still reportedly undecided on whether these cars should come to the UK, with the priority being placed on smaller, more mainstream cars in order to re-establish the marque more effectively in the UK.

SAIC Motor’s achievements are impressive  for a company which has been only been designing and engineering a self-developed model range for five years, but the company is already a major player in China and has global ambitions – the next phase of MG’s development will be a success. Failure is not an option. The only unanswered questions which remain are how big a role Longbridge will play in MG’s Eastern renaissance  and whether the facility will be solely the centre of European R&D, or a bustling and growing UK production hub, too.

Posted in: AROnline News, MG
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.

71 Comments on "MG : The core three model range takes shape"

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  1. Richard Moss says:

    I note that the caption under the top photograph reads: “MGs past and present – now it’s looking forward.”

    Well, if anyone can find me a photo of an MG Minor Convertible, then I’d love to see it!

  2. Dickie524 says:

    Beat me to it!!!! 🙂

  3. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    This was mentioned a while back when that poster first came out.

    I think SAIC Motor is playing more on the ‘Morris Garages’ name than strictly to the MG brand. ‘Morris Garages’ is certainly prominent in any show displays – even at Longbridge.

    The old one at the back isn’t an MG either, but some other Morris that I can’t recall.

  4. David 3500 says:

    It is nice to see the image featuring the underrated Streetwise model which still proudly displays the Rover Viking longship badge in its rear bumper. Clearly there were no spare MG3 SWs to use instead.

  5. Steve says:

    The old Morris at the back is, in fact, an Austin Seven!

  6. 820Tickford says:

    I thought the MG6 used the Focus as a benchmark. Surely, if that is the case, then the MG6 must be a Golf rival and the MG5 a Polo rival?

  7. Liam Howard says:

    I think the car at the back is an original Morris Minor (1929?) – either a sports or a tourer.

  8. Jemma says:

    Come back All-aggro, all is forgiven!

    MG3 vs Skoda Fabia?! You mean someone is seriously pitting this thing against what is to all intents and purposes the half price Polo with the full price quality?

    I’m sorry, but no. A few years back it might have worked, you know, when people still told the Skoda jokes – even if it was only to demonstrate how far Skoda had come even then…

    Ditto with the MG6 – not to mention the Octavia is a much better looking car, has already built up brand/model loyalty and received rave reviews. I just can’t see it happening, even if I personally want it to happen.

    Oh, and why, oh why, tell everyone you are aiming at a Mazda as competition – if you asked half the people on the street about the current Mazda range they wouldn’t be able to tell you about any of the models – except, possibly, the RX-8 and then only if they were confirmed petrolheads…

    Have MG Motor UK finally realised that trying to go up against the Focus is akin to flogging not only a dead horse but one that’s been long fossilised?

    I would like MG to succeed but I don’t think they are going to if this is the way they are going to play things. Their aim is badly off since, in two instances, they are aiming at what is effectively the price/quality leader and, in the third, they are stating that they are directly competing with an also-ran that makes the Ford Orrible (Orion) look popular…

  9. @Jemma
    Have you actually closely inspected and driven an MG6 Fastback yet?

  10. 820Tickford says:

    I’m guessing Mazda aren’t that popular around by you then, Jemma? The car park at my office is awash with Mazda 3s and Mazda 6s in various guises. I’d say that Mazda are not doing too badly – the company car list at the time only allowed for any car from the Ford or VW stables!

  11. @820Tickford
    Yes, Andy Kitson and his colleagues at SMTC UK did benchmark the MG6’s handling against that of the outgoing Ford Focus.

    However, if you re-read the above article, you will see that we have now edited the piece to include an explanation of why AROnline does not believe that the MG5 and MG6 will compete against each other.

  12. Dr Bobby Love says:

    Awesome… I’ve been speculating that the MG6 would be an Octavia rival for ages… I was right! WIN!

    Anyway, as for the comments about quality from Jemma? Have you driven a Fabia/Octavia vs the VW versions? Well, it does have to be said that the Skodas have cheaper interiors but they’re not just re-branded VWs, they’re re-engineered VWs.

    I reckon that, if the new MGs are as good as they look, then Skoda v MG is exactly what were going to see in the marketplace – especially between the faster MGs and Skoda’s vRS models.

    Yes, Skoda have a loyal fan base (if you hadn’t guessed, I’m one) but that’s not because they all love Skoda’s branding, it’s because we love the amount of car you get for the cash and, if MG can match this, then they stand a huge chance of winning sales from Skoda.

  13. Mark Pitchford says:

    @David 3500
    Yes, and slightly annoying… My partner had her Streetwise written off because replacement bumpers weren’t available!

  14. Mark Pitchford says:

    Jemma :
    Come back All-aggro, all is forgiven!

    MG3 vs Skoda Fabia?! You mean someone is seriously pitting this thing against what is to all intents and purposes the half price Polo with the full price quality?…

    MG Motor UK will only succeed if people don’t prejudge the cars. It’s clear that you haven’t driven an MG6 or you wouldn’t be so quick to decry “this thing’s” quality. Happily there are enough people around prepared to do that… You wouldn’t be the owner of a Skoda by any chance?

  15. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    MG will have a fairly standard range of modern family cars to be honest. The 3 and 5 are looking pretty stylish and much better than the bland 6. They will need to be nice to drive if they are to be distinctive and desirable, otherwise they will end up like cut-price Toyotas – i.e. like Hyundais. They will also need to be nice to drive if they are to be fit and proper successors to the old MGs. The 6 is quite a promising start.

    Incidentally, citing the MG 1100 or the Minor (!) as benchmark antecedents is setting the driveability bar fairly low – it would have been nice to have seen the MG Maestro EFI or the MG ZS instead.

  16. John says:

    I’m sorry to say that the Union flag on the roof of the MG3 says it all! This is no more than a cynical use of an old brand whose hopes as a British manufacturer died with the closure of the MG Rover plant in 2005.

    I’ve moved on from being a long-term supporter of Austin/Rover/MG products and am now happy to buy my cars from Ford and Land Rover. They are both foreign-owned companies, but with a much more credible interest in the future of design and manufacture in the UK.

  17. DaveH says:

    MG Motor UK need to beef the 3 up and make the car look more like the ZERO Concept which has better definition and looks sportier. The MG5 will make a killing if it looks like the Concept 5 but the MG6 looks bland in pictures

    Mind you, I thought the XJ looked ugly in pictures but, to my horror, I found it was even more grotesque in real life!

  18. Hilton Davis says:

    I agree with Richard Moss – I’ve never seen an MG Minor Convertible! Anyway, back to the future – I like the MG6 and MG Concept 5 but the overall look of the MG3 still reminds me of a current Kia Rio.

    Having said that, it’s good to hear of MG’s ambitions and I wish them well. The company’s plans should, in any case help British jobs and the economy to some degree.

  19. Heyho says:

    John :
    I… am now happy to buy my cars from Ford and Land Rover. They are both foreign-owned companies, but with a much more credible interest in the future of design and manufacture in the UK.

    Sorry for showing my ignorance, but how does Ford have a credible interest in design and manufacture in the UK? Is it the Transit and engines?

  20. John says:

    @Heyho
    Ford have substantial engine production facilities at Bridgend in South Wales and Dagenham in Essex. Brigend has 1,900 employees producing EcoBoost petrol engines while Dagenham employs 4,000 people producing the Duratorque diesel engine – that dwarfs the 40 employees at Longbridge doing minor finishing work on the essentially Chinese-built MG6.

    The GETRAG Ford JV manufactures gearboxes at Halewood. There are also more than 5,000 Engineers and support staff working at the Ford Dunton Technical Centre in Essex – the UK’s largest automotive technical centre.

    These plants also produce engines for Tata Motors’ Jaguar and Land Rover factories around the UK.

    Anyway, if you buy any European-built Ford product then, chances are, the engine will have been built in the UK! Definitely something to be proud of. 🙂

  21. Mikey C says:

    I still think the branding is flawed – the MG badge just seems odd on what, realistically, is going to be a range of cars that uses cheap Chinese manufacturing costs to provide VFM.

    The MG3, if a Fabia rival, is a sensible small car. I can imagine former Metro/100 owners being a target, but most of them aren’t going to be interested in a ‘sporty/firm riding’ MG and will prefer something more comfortable and sober.

    I reckon that it would, perhaps, have been better for SAIC Motor to develop a new brand for the cooking cars (not Roewe, but something more exportable) and keep MG for the top of the range performance models.

  22. James Riley James says:

    @Mikey C
    Metro/100 owners being a target? The Metro (and I am an avid fan with a mint 1982 Metro in my fleet) hasn’t been a serious ownership proposition for over 15 years. To suggest that the new MG3 is aiming at those people is ludicrous. Are you living under a stone?

    The new MG range is exactly what MG should be: normal cars with a sporting hint and a badge that differentiates them from mainstream brands like Ford and Vauxhall – just like, for example, Alfa Romeo which offers a range of mainstream models with a slight twist and a great badge.

    The commonly accepted idea that it would have been better to offer run of the mill cars with a badge like Rover and leave MG to sportcars suggests some ignorance of British car brands. It may surprise some people but Rover was not intended to be relegated to playing the “Wise” to Eric’s more close-to-the-knuckle “Morcambe”. The two brands were never connected historically so why do people believe that normal cars should wear a Rover badge? Anyway, that is not an option here as Rover, quite rightly, was not sold to SAIC Motor.

    The bottom line is that the new MG range looks like a good, solid base upon which to relaunch a brand so badly tarnished by British malaise, industrial disputes and bad management.

    SAIC Motor may not get it right first time but, when one considers the trash that the former British owners felt it acceptable to produce from time to time, cars such as the MG6 clearly demonstrate the depth of SAIC Motor’s commitment to ensuring that MG can compete with the big guys.

    I, for one, wish them well and look forward to the possibilities that entails.

  23. Simon Hodgetts says:

    James :
    …just like, for example, Alfa Romeo which offers a range of mainstream models with a slight twist and a great badge.

    I agree with your statement with one major exception: Alfa Romeos aren’t just mainstream cars with a slight twist and a sporty badge. There’s true sporting heritage behind the badge and a cracking range of engines housed in beautiful bodywork. MG has a long way to go to emulate Alfa Romeo. Perhaps you meant SEAT?

  24. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Well, it looks like the MG3 and MG5 won’t reach the UK for some time so let’s hope the styling won’t have dated by then. The MG6 hasn’t hit the market looking bang up to date.

  25. Steve says:

    The black and red car at the back is an Austin Seven.

    The Austin Seven was built at Longbridge between 1922 and 1939 and was one of the most influential car designs of all time. The Seven was the first to adopt what became the standard convention of CBA – that’s Clutch left, Brake middle and Accerlator right – pedal positioning, which was subsequently adopted by every other manufacturer.

    The Austin Seven was designed by Stanley Edge at Lord Austins’ house and spawned some other manufacturers you may have heard of such as BMW and Jaguar as well as influencing Nissan.

    Racing Austin Sevens were driven by Colin Chapman, John Cooper and Bruce McLaren to name a few.

    IT’S AN AUSTIN SEVEN PLEASE! Rant over!

  26. Mikey C says:

    @James
    I don’t see a sporting hint in the MG3 – to me it looks like a Fabia rival, which is the non-sporty VW Group supermini. To get the sales volumes, most sales will be of cooking 1.3 models with skinny tires – that blue car shows that.

    Sporty superminis can work, as long as you either have non-sporty verions as well (e.g. 25/ZR) or you have a sister car sharing the platform (Fabia/Ibiza). Incidentally, Skoda is doing really well, while Seat (the sporty badge) is struggling. I’m sure many former Rover owners switched to Skoda…

    I never mentioned ‘Rover’ and, in fact, said that I would prefer SAIC Motor to have developed a new brand for the non-sporty models. I also referred to FORMER Metro/100 owners i.e. the sort who might have bought a 25 but not a ZR in a million years!

  27. Alex J says:

    @Steve
    Nope, it’s an MG 14/40 Mark IV – here’s the link to the entry on Wikipedia.

  28. Two R8s says:

    Skoda’s come a long way.

  29. Marty B says:

    The MG3 needs to be priced in the very LOW end of the spectrum for it to sell and it must have a decent range of small engines.

    People keep forgetting that Skoda now actually shift a hell of a lot of high performance cars too, with both the Fabia 1.4 Turbo vRS and the Octavia vRS being very popular. However, these both have very low CO2 emissions and low tax – especially the Octavia CR170 diesel vRS. Skoda also have a stupidly long rallying history, which goes back many decades, and the latest Fabia has got the WRC treatment.

    I definitely agree with the statement that many former Rover owners now drive Skodas (especially the elderly, who seem to be buying the Roomster and Yeti models).

    The MG3 is not a premium product and should really be starting at around £8,000 to about £12,000. I am fed up with people who think this car is British. It isn’t. It is 100% Chinese. Screwing the cars together in Longbridge from boxes of bits that come in containers from China doesn’t make it British-made. Assembled yes, but not made.

    I find that photo they have used to publicise the new Chinese snotter very insulting to the old range. It’s a Roewe, ditch the MG branding now.

  30. Marty B says:

    Another point: if SAIC Motor/MG want to compete with the Fabia, they need a 1.2-litre 3 pot, which is what the ‘OAP’ sector go for,due to it’s low tax bracket and good economy. Ideal for popping to the Post Office for their pension.

  31. Ajax Soixantedix says:

    It’s all wrong.

    Yes, it’s good news that the world’s longest production line ends at Longbridge, but the mix’n’match of BMC marques in the promotional picture at the top seems to indicate that MG’s current owners (or, at least, it’s marketing agency) haven’t got a clue about what the MG marque is, means or stands for.

    MG is supposed to be a sporting marque – an affordable one, but sporting nonetheless – yet the blue MG3 (second picture down) looks incredibly dowdy, like some kind of sub-Proton. MG is not supposed to be a ‘bargain bucket’ brand but I fear that’s what it may become, especially considering the finish of the cars (I wasn’t too impressed by the MG6 I sat in at the MPH show in November) and the pricing.

    Look at how Citroen’s stock and reputation for style and innovation plummeted under Peugeot, as it came to be seen as the conventional bargain brand of PSA – it’s taken over 30 years to regain something akin to credibility and desirability.

    SAIC Motor need to realise that the Red Octagon is still revered and has a heritage that needs to be maintained and not merely plonked onto a car that wouldn’t look out of place sporting a Perodua badge. It will be almost like the CityRover all over again – that’s the car which finally turned a once great marque (formerly a Jaguar rival, don’t forget) on it’s knees and into a laughing stock.

    I’m just glad that a company like BMW has got Triumph.

  32. Steven211 says:

    Mikey C :
    @James

    I don’t see a sporting hint in the MG3 – to me it looks like a Fabia rival, which is the non-sporty VW Group supermini. To get the sales volumes, most sales will be of cooking 1.3 models with skinny tires – that blue car shows that.

    Sporty superminis can work, as long as you either have non-sporty verions as well (e.g. 25/ZR) or you have a sister car sharing the platform (Fabia/Ibiza). Incidentally, Skoda is doing really well, while Seat (the sporty badge) is struggling. I’m sure many former Rover owners switched to Skoda…

    I never mentioned ‘Rover’ and, in fact, said that I would prefer SAIC Motor to have developed a new brand for the non-sporty models. I also referred to FORMER Metro/100 owners i.e. the sort who might have bought a 25 but not a ZR in a million years!

    The MG3 also looks like a Suzuki Swift which is quite a sporty car.

  33. Dr Bobby Love says:

    @Steven211
    The Skoda Fabia also looks like the Suzuki Swift but isn’t sporty – even in vRS guise, it struggles to look quick.

  34. Rover45-Sedan says:

    I can’t wait for the new MG5 to come out – it looks like the car will be a sporty and fun to drive. However, MG Motor UK need to shoehorn an engine with more power into the car. How about taking the 1.9-litre diesel which will be launched in MG6 and engineering petrol and turbocharged versions of that too? Surely, if the MG5 is going to be the mid-range model, it should have a full range of engines.

  35. Mark Hayman says:

    I guess that having range of cars wearing the MG badge is a start. However, MG is a sporting brand and a car like, for example, the MG3 is more of an Austin or Morris rather than an MG. Let’s hope they produce a range of higher spec, sporting engines and models in the future.

  36. Liam says:

    That picture is hilarious! Definitely not the responsibility of MG Motor UK! Our friends in China have a very odd idea of MG’s history (!) Oh, my heart still melts at the R3’s design. Every angle – so good looking!

  37. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    I’ve changed the top image, as it’s appearance there has completely overshadowed the content of the story and the three-car range MG should have on sale in the UK in a couple of years’ time.

    However, the comments which the original image prompted do serve to underline why SAIC Motor will need to handle the MG marque’s heritage very carefully.

    /K

  38. Russ says:

    I have test driven the new MG6 and, whilst the car’s not a bad drive, the numbers are just all wrong for me. Road Tax is £315 for the first year then over £200 per year and, with 160bhp, the insurance and mpg are also going to be on the heavy side – even if the purchase price is lower than some competitors, these are the numbers that hit you in the pocket year on year and make you consider other models which are cheaper to run.

    I appreciate that a diesel is in the pipeline but it needs to be out on the launch as the damage which might be caused by a poor start may outweigh the cost of getting the diesel to market. Good luck with the MG6 – it’s a nice car but just not for me at the moment.

    I would consider a more economical model but reckon that it’s back to the drawing board for the MG3. I do not like it one bit – it looks too basic and is just not a match for the ZR. I feel that the ZERO Concept is going in the right direction – that looks good and I like it.

  39. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Russ
    The MG6 1.8T S is in Insurance Group 13E and the 1.8T SE and TSE are in Insurance Group 14E – those Insurance Groups are significantly lower than most of the car’s competitors and that has been achieved because all three versions are limited to 120mph.

  40. John says:

    @Steve
    A minor point, but the classic clutch/brake/accelerator layout of the Austin Seven was pioneered by Cadillac before Austin. However, the Austin Seven was the first volume car to use the Cadillac’s layout and popularise it.

  41. John says:

    @Marty B
    Actually, what goes on at Longbridge is a lot less significant than assembling a kit of parts – they are simply adding a pre-assembled engine/transmission and suspension into a pre-finished, painted and assembled body, then testing it. There is a good reason why the factory employees only 40 people! To put that into perspective, the average Sainsbury’s employs about 275 people!

  42. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @John
    Well, if Sainsbury’s built cars, then that would be a relevant comparison – cite any other car company which does exactly the same as MG Motor UK does at Longbridge, past or present, then you have a valid argument.

    You will probably find that, as a company, Sainsbury’s probably employs more people than Ford or JLR in the UK, so does that comparison still stand up when talking about those car manufacturers?

  43. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    There have been a few comments about the MG brand being devalued by the cars being produced by SAIC Motor – particularly the MG3.

    The fact is that SAIC Motor is using the brand as a premium label for their Chinese operation which is their biggest and currently their highest priority market. Remember, Roewe was a brand name born out of necessity when they acquired the Longbridge operation and the IPRs to the models they produced based on old MGR designs. MG is marque known throughout the world, and I am sure there are many Chinese car buyers who will be more proud to say the own an MG than a Roewe, regardless of how it looks.

    It is not the first time a car builder has used badge engineering to try and ‘upgrade’ the status of a bottom end product. Those of similarly mature age to me will, no doubt, recall the DAF 66 Variomatic, which was eventually rebranded as a Volvo. No longer did DAF owners have to shrink uncomfortably in their chairs when asked what cars they drove: “I drive a Volvo”.

    Likewise, nowadays we have the remnants of the old Daewoo range flouncing about as Chevrolets, again a higher stature name than Daewoo. Do these cars have a “DNA” or heritage link to the Camaro or Impala? No, but it doesn’t stop them being sold or people buying them.

    SAIC Motor is using a brand they own to best suit their needs at this time. We might not like it here in the UK, but as long as they are making money and continue to invest in Longbridge in the longer term, it might just be a situation we have to live with in the short term.

  44. Russ says:

    @Paul T
    That still does not excuse the high fuel prices we pay. I reckon you would be doing well to achieve 35mpg out of the reworked K-Series – given the competition, that’s not good enough.

  45. John says:

    @Paul T
    You are missing the point. I was attempting to put the contribution which the current production of the MG6 at Longbridge makes to the UK economy into some kind of realistic perspective. It seems it would be only too easy for a Chinese manufacturer to buy a much loved and defunct British marque, do a very minor amount of assembly work in the UK (with about the same number of staff that you might see working in a large car dealer’s service workshop) and then sit back and enjoy the benefits of being seen as the reviver of manufacturing at Longbridge!

    Changing the subject slightly, the fuel consumption and CO2 figures do go to show how far the world has moved on since the K-Series was first designed. They may have picked up the intellectual property rights and manufacturing facilities for peanuts, but it may be an insurmountable problem to bring it up to current emission regulations AND provide decent MPG figures AND meet the modern requirement for low CO2 emissions.

    Anyway, as far as the basic car is concerned, if we overlook the badge and its site of final assembly, it’s probably best compared to any product form Hyundai or Kia. I am sure it will make a reasonable case for itself as a price-led purchase for the none-too-fussed, low mileage, driver. I’m still a bit embarrassed about the MG badge being used on it though…

  46. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Russ
    I agree the VED is a killer – it’s bad enough paying the tax we do on the petrol without more going into Osborne’s back pocket through the Road Tax.

  47. Doodle says:

    I believe that the stigma associated with Longbridge will prevent SAIC Motor from making a success of the MG brand. SAIC Motor needs to take the new model range into a state of the art manufacturing facility and not build them in what current employees say is a run-down factory.

    The new models which SAIC Motor plans to launch should be given the best opportunity to succeed as they are quite impressive – especially the Concept5. Longbridge no longer has the capacity to be a volume car producer even though they only intend to build 2000 this year. MG is a marque that deserves the best opportunity to succeed. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by SAIC Motor – the current tie up with GM creates endless options.

  48. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @John
    I wasn’t missing the point, your comparison doesn’t stack up. I could say a local B&Q employs more people than Longbridge, but the fact is the facility’s size and payroll are relative to the market it serves and its targets.

    Supermarkets and other large retailers require their customers to go to them. People cannot walk into Longbridge and buy a car – they have to go to a dealership. Have you added in the number of employees at each MG Dealer in the UK to your 40? Mmm… thought not

    Plus, I don’t remember any discussions here or anywhere as to what value any company is to the GDP of the UK.

  49. Roverman says:

    Mark Pitchford :
    @David 3500

    Yes, and slightly annoying… My partner had her Streetwise written off because replacement bumpers weren’t available!

    Rimmer Bros have front and rear bumpers in charcoal in stock.

  50. Roverman says:

    @Russ
    I think you will find that the first year’s VED is included in the purchase price. 🙂

  51. Roverman says:

    @Paul T
    A bottom end product? The Roewe 550 outsold the MG6 in China by 5:1 last month.

  52. Roverman says:

    @Marty B
    The car was designed and engineered in the UK and, once the numbers make it viable, then more assembly will take place here.

  53. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Roverman
    I was referring to the DAF and Daewoo, not to any of Roewe’s models.

    My point was that people’s perception of MG is that the brand appears to be devalued by a so-called bottom end product (in their opinion). SAIC Motor are using the MG name to attract customers in their home market who want to drive something with a bit of history behind its name. That’s pretty much why some folk bought the MG Metro when it was launched.

  54. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Roverman
    I found that, when my ZS was written off, the repairers would only use their recognised suppliers. Rimmer Brothers were not even considered, so that was the end of that.

    I understand that Rimmers also sell a lot of refurbished parts and insurance companies won’t entertain these in case there are comebacks from using what are essentially secondhand parts.

  55. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Roverman
    Maybe they do. Our insurers seemed mad keen on writing the Streetwise off, yet we have seen it on the road since and so someone clearly managed to find some parts. We weren’t even allowed the option of buying it back from them as they apparently have a contract with a large recyling/scrapping comapany. I still find it annoying 15 months later.

  56. Doodle says:

    @Roverman
    That’s why MG Motor UK is currently reworking parts on the MG6 from China for fitting at Longbridge, then? They did the same on the MG TF – if that’s engineering something’s wrong that’s for sure and that has come from an someone currently employed there.

  57. Ajax Soixantedix says:

    @Paul T
    I think you’re wrong about the MG Metro.

    I would suggest that people bought the MG Metro not because the badge on it was possessed of “a bit of history”, but because the MG Metro was a small, nippy little car which had a bit more ‘pep’ than cooking Metros and had a more sporty mein. Don’t forget that the ‘hot hatch’ was still in its infancy then – the Escort XR3 had yet to be “i’d”, for example – and BMC had previously used the MG badge in a similar manner on the Magnette models and on the 1300.

    I think that to compare SAIC Motor’s use of the MG badge to its application to the MG Metro is disingenuous at best and does a disservice to a great little car and to its owners.

  58. Russ says:

    @Ajax Soixantedix
    I agree – I think that the MG Metro/Turbo were at the prime of the hot hatch era but the Metro presented itself as being a little more affordable than the Peugeot 205 GTi or the Volkswagen Golf GTI which were definitely more of a car and fitted the hot hatch bill better but you had a sporty-looking and very quick car given its basic make up and a tuned A-Series to boot.

  59. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @AjaxSoixantedix
    I can only speak for myself. The MG badge was an attraction to me as a buyer (owning one of the first in Edinburgh). Austin Rover admitted it used the Metro to get the MG name back into the public domain again – the fact that it was such a good car only helped to catapult the brand onto bigger and better things.

    You have over-analysed my comments and totally misinterpreted them – I am extremely insulted and you have done me a great disservice…

  60. Owain says:

    I learnt to drive in an MG Metro (in 1993/4) and I thought it was great. Unfortunately, when I passed my test, I could only afford to buy the Austin version!

    I’m very sorry to say that I do not see the attraction of any of these new ‘MGs’ at all. The 3 leaves me completely cold and, although I think that 6 looks a little like an Insignia, I think the latter is much nicer. I never thought I’d see the day when I thought a Vauxhall looked better than an MG…

  61. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Owain
    I hope I’m proved wrong but, in my opinion, the Z’s were the last stand-out MGs – and by ‘stand-out’ I mean that you knew what they were and couldn’t mistake them for anything else. They are also likely to be the last of the stand-outs as SAIC Motor/MG join more and more manufacturers in passing around the same jelly mould for their new models.

    Anyway, going back to the MG Metro, our’s was one of the first Mk1s and the sight of the octagon on the grille, along with the alloys and various red trim (seat belts and piping) set it apart. Furthermore, as I said earlier, the fact that it was fast, reliable and handled well was a bonus. Ideally, I would like to source a Metallic Zircon Blue Mk1, but even trawling fleabay makes that dream seem far, far away.

  62. Owain says:

    @Paul T
    I agree with you about the Z cars. Mind you, as a Rover rather than MG fan, I would have preferred to see the ZR, ZS and ZT badged as ‘Vitesse’ versions of the 25, 45 and 75 but, even so, I thought they were all good-looking and distinctive cars, especially when the colour was right.

    However, in my opinion, the new MGs might as well be carrying any old badge, because there’s nothing distinctive about them at all. I used to be sad that the Rover marque had died but, considering what’s now being done with MG, I think it’s not such a bad thing.

  63. Steve says:

    @James
    These new MGs will almost certainly be bought by the generation of Chevrolet Kalos/Kia Rio drivers who used to buy the Rover Metro/100. These people are usually over 60 and have no taste in cars whatsoever – they are the type that shop at Halfords and buy wood effect steering wheel covers from market stalls.

    MG needs to be dynamic and different if they want to avoid being just another bland and slightly cheesy maker of heavily depreciating, bargain basement Proton competitors. However, they look as though they are heading that way…

  64. Richard says:

    @Owain
    The MG Z models may have been good-looking and distinctive but not enough people wanted to buy them.

    However, the MG6 does. at least, look reasonably modern and attractive. Who knows that, and the new models to come, may just attract all those buyers who steered clear of MG Rover products in the past.

  65. Paul says:

    It’s all well and good benchmarking these MGs against cars on sale now but, if the MG6 is anything to go by, by the time the MG3 arrives the Fabia will be several generations further down the line! The MG6, for instance, probably compares with the pre-facelift 2005 Ford Focus Mk2 not the current model.

  66. Roverman says:

    Paul :
    The MG6, for instance, probably compares with the pre-facelift 2005 Ford Focus Mk2 not the current model.

    Thank God for that. 😉

  67. Gary H says:

    @Mikey C
    @John
    Hear! Hear! John you are perfectly correct about Ford’s contribution to the British Automotive Industry.

    There’s nothing special about these so-called new MGs either in the looks department or the mechanical department about these. They are still using that god forsaken heap of metal, the K-Series engine, under the bonnet.

    No diesel or hybrid options?? Well, with the price of petrol these days, I’m sure money conscious buyers will be buying these MGs in their droves. Not!

  68. Mladá Boleslav says:

    MG? Bring it on…

  69. Dave Whittington says:

    it’s all very well bringing out new models but MG need to look after existing MG and Rover customers as well – in particular with regards spare parts supply for the 25/ZR, 45/ZS and 75/ZT. That said, it’s still great to see MG back though.

  70. stuart says:

    All the new MG designs need to be bolder, more dynamic. Look at the new models from their rivals, Vauxhall, Ford, Renault and even Kia now have some really nice looking motors.

    Look how Jaguar had to re-invent itself with the XF and XJ. Thats what MG needs, a big ‘kick up the backside’ in their styling studio!!! Be brave!!!, design cars that are ‘super-cool’, cars that people really notice as they go by! Not cars that look ‘out of date’ the day they’re launched!

    Stuart (A British car enthusiast)

  71. Will M says:

    I’m not sure if the Rover / 100 drivers would come back to MG.

    A lot have moved on to the likes of Hyundais and Kias, and have experienced cheap, basic but fairly reliable motoring, and may not want the hassle of moving back to an unknown quantity.

    And, to put it bluntly, some have shuffled off this mortal coil, or feel unable to drive anymore.

    The Fabia and Octavia are popular because they are a cheap route to purchasing a VW. Taxi drivers (and fleets like emergency services) like the longevity and economy of the TDi diesel engines.

    As SAIC are partnered with VW, perhaps they could get access to TDi engines for the MGs?

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