MG : Chinese MG 5 production set to commence in 2009

Clive Goldthorp

MG ZS (Auto Express rendering)

MG ZS (Auto Express rendering)

Leading Chinese Automotive Industry website, Gasgoo.com, yesterday reported that construction work on Phase Two of the MG facility at Pukou in Nanjing has now started following a $376.24m investment by parent company SAIC Group.

Gao Yunhang, an Assistant General Manager with MG, said that construction would be completed in 2009 and that the annual capacity would be 200,000 cars and 250,000 engines. The cars will be based on SAIC Motor’s all-new A-class platform and the New Small Engines are all turbocharged with capacities ranging from 1.3 litres to 1.5 litres.

MG’s sales in October increased by 22%. Interestingly, MG 3s equipped with manual transmissions posted significantly better sales than the automatic versions and took 60% of the total sales

The A-class platform will underpin both the MG 5 and Roewe 350 models and there will be hatchback, saloon and MPV derivatives while Gao, apparently, also confirmed that the MG 6 will be a hatchback version of the Roewe 550 which was launched in June, 2008.

The Gasgoo.com report suggests that MG’s initial sales were hampered by the fact that the MG 7 was not originally available with an automatic transmission – 90% of all cars sold in the MG 7’s segment in China have automatic transmissions.

However, following the recent launch of an MG 7 fitted with an automatic transmission co-developed with Japanese supplier Aisin Seiki Company Limited, MG’s sales in October increased by 22%. Interestingly, MG 3s equipped with manual transmissions posted significantly better sales than the automatic versions and took 60% of the total sales.

MG ZS (image rendering: Auto Express)

MG ZS (Auto Express rendering)

[Source: Gasgoo.com]

Posted in: AROnline News, NAC-MG
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.

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  1. Adam says:

    If you ask me it looks like something churned out by Kia with an MG badge stuck on it. When will they ever learn???

  2. Adam says:

    This has to be the final nail in the coffin.

  3. Wilko says:

    I agree with Adam. As an enthusiast of British cars and owner of a (real) MG ZS, I think this is something to be depressed, rather than excited, about.

    Personally, I would prefer to see the MG marque retired for ever than for it be associated with cars which look like poor-men’s Mazdas.

  4. Mark says:

    I’d buy one – I think it looks more VAG than Kia. It does, though, seem to be more of a ZR replacement.

  5. Job says:

    I’d buy one too and I totally disagree with people who try to convince everyone of the negative point that it looks like this or that. Did anyone ever mention the resemblance between the ZS and the Vauxhall Astra I/Opel Kadett D/Daewoo Nexia?

    It just seems that no one is allowed to have a positive look at the new products now they are of Chinese origin. Let’s just say the Germans/Brits did a lot of good, shall we?

  6. Job says:

    Sorry, I, of course, meant ZR not ZS.

  7. Hilton Davis says:

    That Auto Express rendering of a white(?) future ZS looks quite appealing and plausible but, as always, these design sketches often look very different to the real car – so let’s just wait and see…

  8. Rob says:

    I like it and, as an owner of a current ZS, I will definately buy one when I need to change. It looks to me like a natural progression from the old one – not quite the RDX60 but we need to stop looking back and think positive otherwise we will end up in Subarus or Evos.

  9. Alex Scott says:

    Actually, I don’t think its too bad. I see the point about the Mazda but the Mazda is a little too modern and cluttered and, in someways, the Mazda is not that good a car.

    The MG above looks better from all angles than the Mazda, but the exhaust on the above example looks like an afterthought – it needs to be either hidden or part of the body. I really like the front view, its not as cluttered as a Mazda, it will age more gracefully and it will probably appeal to a greater number of people. The MG DOES neet AWD though – an old Freelander gearbox maybe 🙂 Alex.

  10. Alex Scott says:

    Just a note about someone’s comment above about Kia and so on, My opinion is that Korean cars on average look better than Japanese cars on average. There are some really badly styled Japanese cars around but, on the other hand, the Hyundai Getz is a nice looking car as is the Kia Magentis. Both of these cars will always look good. I’m not convinced that the Mazdas will always look good. Alex.

  11. Wilko says:

    I’m not trying to be negative – I just think this looks the same as most other cars on the road today. Sorry about that… Say what you like about MGR’s pre-2005 range, but at least the models were distinctive.

    Rob makes a comment about the Germans/Brits not doing much good. Well, I agree about BMW who did all they could to screw Rover but I think that, with the right investment, MGR could have been successful in the end. To see MG (or any other great British brand of the past) resurrected merely as a marketing exercise/re-badge job on some bland, boring, unimaginative car gets me down. I don’t think that makes me negative.

  12. John says:

    Alex Scott :Just a note about someone’s comment above about Kia and so on, My opinion is that Korean cars on average look better than Japanese cars on average. There are some really badly styled Japanese cars around but, on the other hand, the Hyundai Getz is a nice looking car as is the Kia Magentis. Both of these cars will always look good. I’m not convinced that the Mazdas will always look good. Alex.

    Kia Magentis a timely classic, Getz a good looking car…

    Next you will tell me that the Kia Rio is a sexy hot hatch!

    There is still a major difference in quality and looks between the Japanesse and Koreans. I should know – I’ve owned both and I know who I trust!

  13. Mike says:

    Well I think it looks terrific – yes, it combines a number of current styling themes but show me a brand where you can’t say “well, of course, that shutline is similar” or “well, of course, that crease is like the…” I think it looks crisp and well proportioned.

    Remember, though, we are commenting on what Auto Express (the motoring press equivalent of the Sunday Sport) thinks it will look like – not an actual car, not a test mule, not a spyshot or drawing. However, if it ends up like the cross between the Golf, Insignia, Astra, Focus, 1 Series, 157, Bravo blend that Auto Express have drawn, I, for one, will be pleased!

  14. Peter says:

    @Wilko
    Is the MG ZS really a British car? I doubt it.

  15. Wilko says:

    Well, there are Honda and BMW influences there but, essentially, I would say the ZS is a British car. Likewise with the Rover 75 I used to own and the Vitesse I had before that – both had foreign influence, components, etc, but could legitimately (I think) be described as British.

    Anyway, my complaint about the car we are discussing here wasn’t its lack of Britishness – just its uninspiring design. Apart from the badge rather badly superimposed on to it, there is no clue that it is an MG.

  16. Real MG fan says:

    Why is everyone complaining???? This is a NEW MG people – it is nowhere nearly as ugly as some of the abominations rolling off production lines in countries like, say, Korea. People buy their cheap and nasty Korean cars like they are going out of fashion.

    All you MG people who call yourselves fans stopped buying them when they WERE British-owned and forced the company into bankruptcy in the first place. You ought to stop your whining and be a little grateful that the Chinese actually kept the name instead of buying the old Rover designs and renaming them something suitably hideous like Jianling Sportpower and watch the brand grow.

    What would be the point of reminiscing over a dead brand that has no relevance in today’s market anyway? At least this way MG lives on to fight another day!

  17. Ric says:

    “All you MG people who call yourselves fans… stop your whining!”

    Here, here

    Are German-owned Minis BRITISH?
    Are Indian-owned Jaguars BRITISH?
    Are Indian-owned Landies BRITISH?
    Are US-owned Vauxhalls BRITISH?
    Are Japanese-owned Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans BRITISH

    Simply, the answer is yes. If buiilt in the UK, with parts supplied by some UK suppliers, with employees paying UK taxes and generating sales in the UK, they are BRITISH. Let’s hope the quality of the merchandise is something better than British – if it is, it might just sell.

  18. Wilko says:

    Real MG fan : You ought to stop your whining and be a little grateful that the Chinese actually kept the name instead of buying the old Rover designs and renaming them something suitably hideous like Jianling Sportpower.

    What – do you mean like “Roewe”?!

  19. e668ecp says:

    It’s just not stunning looking like the Peter Steven’s Zed’s were. I often look at my ZT when parked and think “God, that’s one well-styled car.”

    This is boring and a hash up between a KIA, VAG and a previous gen Renault Megane.

  20. Steve McGill says:

    @Alex Scott
    I agree with you about Japanese styling. There are some horrors aren’t there – previous generation Corolla and Avensis Verso anyone?!

  21. didierz65 Didier Ziane says:

    It’s not a bad looking car, by far… the side window surrounds look very dated, though. Is it just me but, when I scrolled back up, I found that the flanks are BMW 1-ish up to the handles with that very sturdy/solid appearance? Try and stop when the back clusters start appear on the rear view picture… Hope they’ll sell well.

  22. Real MG fan says:

    @Wilko
    Re ROEWE – Blame the Phoenix 4 and our friends at Bavarian Motor Works for that debacle. How stupid were the Phoenix group for buying the company but not the rights for the name on the badge in the first place????

    Hopefully, common sense will prevail and SAIC might use a more palatable marque from the stable of ex-Leyland badges they do own. Austin could be resurrected with some marketing dollars and a few well-publicised reliability stunts like driving one from the factory in Longbridge to the new HQ in China.

  23. Adam says:

    Perhaps it’s what we, the British, missed and failed to catch on to producing bland cars with no character. The Germans and Japanese did very well for themselves by doing this and it seems to be what most people want to buy. The sad fact is you could stick almost any badge on this car but it doesn’t excite me or have the magic of an original MG.

  24. Andy Lee says:

    Any new MG is good for me.

  25. Andy Lee says:

    I all ways liked the MG Metro, Maestro and Montego Turbos – they went some. We then had the MG Z cars which were great too – let’s give the new ones a chance.

  26. Serge Maroie says:

    Front is OK , rear not so appealing.
    Why not 2 versions , one with a boot like the Roewe 550?
    Is there any chance to bring this message to MG (either Longbridge or China)?
    Last, but not least: when will this car appear in Europe (France…)?

    From France, an MG Rover lover.

  27. Alex Scott says:

    I quite like it – it’s not too radical so should look good for a number of years. I note some people say it look Korean – I suppose it does but then I think I like the look of Korean cars more than I like Toyota’s Design Commitee non-design and the “what shall we do with it next” look.

    I guess that, as Clarkson says, sometimes the carmakers just need to know when to stop designing and recognise that it was fine like it was. The current Mazda 6 model is like that – they should have left it alone last time.

  28. Sammo says:

    MG is a very marketable name but the key is to get the product right. Looking at the current Chinese vehicles, it is clear to see that most of these models are past MG Rover products with extra design detailing.

    However, given time and with the technology acquired by SAIC Motor and the finances, they have every chance of designing an MG car of the highest quality. Looking at the ZS-sized model above, it looks quite exciting. With the new factory almost ready to roll though, nobody seems to be mentioning Longbridge. What’s in store for this once great manufacturing base?

  29. Mark Pitchford says:

    I just wish they’d get on with selling something other than the TF in Europe or, at least, tell us when they plan to do so. I’d happily wait to see what they have in store to replace my (boring, boring, oh so boring) Mondeo if only I had some kind of timescale to work to.

  30. Tom says:

    Looks like a cut and shut – the rear looks like an MG ZR and the front bit a cross between an MG ZS and ZT. I still prefer the old Mk2 Z cars…

  31. Adam B says:

    I just hope they have sorted all the problems with the old K-Series out. I had 2 of the old ZSs – a 1.8 and a 2.5 – and all they gave me was grief. The head gasket went on the 1.8 at 70k and on the 2.5 the inlet manifold went at 52k and that was noisy.

  32. Dave says:

    I was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and thought that the MG 6 looked more like a Toyota. I was very disappointed to see my beloved MG turn out to look like this.

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