MG UK : Winning over the Dealers in Windsor

Clive Goldthorp 

New MG TF Anniversary impressed those who saw it...

New MG TF Anniversary impressed those who saw it...

MG Motor UK Limited unveiled two new versions of the MG TF – the TF 135 and the TF 85th Anniversary limited edition – to the public at the Royal Windsor MG Heritage Festival last Saturday. However, MG UK also hosted a Dealer Conference near Windsor the day before the event and AROnline has now spoken to several of the Dealer Principals who attended that meeting. 

MG UK will be releasing more information about the two new TFs in the near future but AROnline understands that the entry-level TF 135 will be around £13,500 otr and that the TF 85th Anniversary model will be about £15,750 otr. The TF 85th Anniversary model’s suspension has reportedly been lowered and the anti-roll bars have been modified to provide a better ride than that of the standard TF 135. The TF 85th Anniversary model’s other significant features include special alloy wheels, air conditioning, aubergine leather trim and distinctive 85th Anniversary graphics. 

However, AROnline’s sources also tell us that what really excited the MG Dealer Principals who met at Windsor was a clay model of the MG6 in four door saloon form – the five door fastback version was, of course, already on display as the MG6 Concept at Auto Shanghai. MG UK are, apparently, aiming to launch the MG6 Fastback here in June/July, 2010. The first version of the MG6 will probably have a 1.8 Turbo N Series petrol engine but both the four door saloon and a diesel-engined variant are expected to join the range around nine months after the initial launch. 

SAIC Motor are believed to be in negotiation with the company’s existing affiliates, General Motors, SsangYong Motor and Volkswagen Group about the supply of diesel engines but, with General Motors still at risk of following Chrysler into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Proceedings in America on the 31st May, 2009 and SsangYong Motor’s future set to be determined at a Court Hearing in the South Korean equivalent of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Proceedings on the 22nd May, 2009, AROnline reckons that the Volkswagen diesel engine might yet prove to be the preferred option… 

Our sources were, in any event, speculating that the MG6 range would be pitched at between £15,995 otr and £19,995 otr depending upon the final model/specification mix – think in terms of higher-end Ford Focus and lower-end Ford Mondeo models and the like as the potential competition. 

AROnline has previously quoted an informed source as saying that a final decision on whether or not the MG6 will be built at Longbridge should be made ‘within the next couple of months.’ Our contacts at last week’s meeting in Windsor were not given any specific information about that but they reckoned that ‘everything seemed to be proceeding on that basis.’ Interestingly, none of the Dealer Principals contacted by us thought that production of the MG6 at Longbridge would be an essential prerequisite to the model’s success. Indeed, one remarked that SAIC Motor’s UK-based Engineers were pretty impressed with the quality levels now being achieved by the company’s plants in China. 

However, prior to any UK launch of the MG6, the Dealer Network’s main priority will be to retail as many of the remaining TF LE500s, new TF 135s and TF 85th Anniversary models as possible. A £13,500 TF 135 should generate consumer interest in both the TF LE500 and TF 85th Anniversary limited editions and MG UK will be supporting local Dealer-led marketing campaigns in addition to running an advertising campaign in the national press. 

The Dealer Principals contacted by AROnline this week nearly all felt that the outcome of last week’s meeting in Windsor had been positive but some expressed the view that the vast majority of the British public are still unaware that new MGs are back on the market and being built in Britain. Indeed, the local marketing which some Dealerships have undertaken recently, gives more than a little credence to that opinion. 

Hopefully, stronger retail sales of MG UK-built TFs this summer will successfully address that issue and raise the MG marque’s profile in readiness for the UK launch of the MG6 next year…

Clive Goldthorp

Clive Goldthorp

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.
Clive Goldthorp
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. John says:

    Great news on the MG6 front. Very happy that progress is being made but I have to take issue with the price. 16K for it seems a bit high to me. Given how successful the Focus has been, I think it is very foolish to pitch it higher especially if it is to be built in China.

    Depreciation and worries oer the long term prospects of the company will not encourage purchases at this price level. I would like to buy one when I’m changing next time round but the price seems high for me to purchase new!

  2. Alex says:

    Hi John! The text above almosts suggests that the MG6 might be slightly larger than the Focus and not as big a Mondeo. In any case the Focus at this stage doesn’t really have a lot of competion unless you want to go to the German, French or Korean cars. Toyota, in my opinion appeals, to people who want tractors rather than drivers’ cars.

    I like the MG6 and it probably would appeal to a driver who would probably only consider a Focus or a Golf or Altezza. If it captured the drivers that bought the Rover 827 Vitesse /Dolomite Sprint it could do very well. I think the MG6 would be very popular if it had AWD. Alex

  3. John says:

    @Alex
    I don’t mean to come across as having a go at the car, but my concern is that Joe Public will view the car in the same light as many Korean cars until it can prove its worth. As such nobody is going to pay a price premium for a car made in China, which could be a shame if the car turns out to be good.

    And I take issue with what you say about Toyotas as I’ve owned an Avensis and found it to be very well controlled and enjoyable while at the same time it proved to be very comfortable over long journeys. Why didn’t I buy another? I didn’t need the size and I couldn’t find one I could afford.

    Any cars which come in these odd sizes tend not to do well in the market, Hyundai Elantra anyone?

    But, as I said before I shall be considering it come time to change but the price is a bit hard to get my head around. Regardless of what it was in the past it shall not be viewed as a premium product as long as it is made in China.

  4. Hilton says:

    Great if we see the MG6 on our roads next year. I agree the price of £16-20K is a tad high though. Good if it’s built at Longbridge but we’ll wait and see… so much uncertainty in the world car industry these days.

  5. DrBobbyLove says:

    I hope the DIESEL’s do end up coming from VAG! I Drive a Fabia vRS that’s got a 130bhp PumpeDuse TDi. The PD Diesels are now being phased out for the CommonRails though.

    Imagine a MG6 Diesel with a 2litre CR Diesel putting out 170ish. Rather nice me thinks!

  6. RamseyMGR says:

    I’ve been waiting for a replacement for my ZS TDi and would be interested in an MG6, so long as it is built in Britain. It wouldn’t be an MG if it wasn’t and £16K for a Chinese-built car would be too expensive.

    I’d prefer the car not to have too many VAG bits in it as it would dilute its identity. The L Series has been a good motor if a little rough – has its more refined ‘G Series’ derivitive sunk for good?

  7. Richard says:

    Could not agree more Ramsey… I would rather buy a British-built ‘whatever’ marque than a Chinese-built MG.

    As for the engines…do Ford not build diesel engines in Wales still?.. why not drop one of those in; surely Ford need sales of any kind? No doubt a better price can be had than from VAG. What diesel went into the MG Rovers before the shut down?

  8. Richard says:

    Around Focus size at a Mondeo price. Sounds like the marketing disaster of the Rover 400 Mk II to me! And it doesn’t even have the benefit of being made in the UK.

    “In anycase the Focus at this stage doesn’t really have a lot of comptetion unless you want to go to the German French or Korean cars. ” What? The Focus IS German. It’s made in the Saarlouis factory. What about the Astra, Civic, Auris, to mention the British made cars? Then there’s Seats, Skodas, Fiats, Alfa Romeos, Mazdas, Volvos (same platform as the Focus).

  9. Jenna Jameson says:

    Simply awful, this is proof that SAIC is on the ropes. All of these special editions remind me of the run out Capris – Lasers, Tickfords, etc. It is now time to let the brand die with what little dignity remains.

    ARO should stop promoting this appalling Chinese propaganda and stick to reminiscing about the good old days. Rover went tits up in 2005 and, apart from the ridiculous charade with the rehashed TF, so did MG. Time to move on!

  10. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @John

    The point being made about cars in odd sizes not selling evokes memories of the policies of BL/Rover/whatever they were called – Maxi, 1800, Allegro, Maestro, Rover 400 all tried to fit between normal car classes – the Maestro being half between the Escort and the Sierra, for example, and having to be sold at Escort price levels.

  11. Jenna Jameson says:

    @Jonathan Carling ————–
    or the 400 being between the Focus and Mondeo and being flogged at Mondeo prices…….

  12. The Modern Gentleman says:

    My view is that this will never come to the UK, and we should count our blessings. Imagine a Hyundai Pony with an MG badge on it, because that is basically what this proposal amounts to. And if the reports of the TF not selling are true, what is the point of more pointless LEs unless they are run out versions. My prediction is that the current TF will be gone within the next few months, and there will be no replacement.

    I don’t know about you chaps, but there is an economic storm out there and I for one am certainly not spending more money on a lump of metal which will depreciate to effectively nothing over a seven year period. Therefore, I intend to keep my current car for as long as possible, and so to will most of the British public I would suspect. Set against this climate, it is ridiculous to launch a ‘new’ unproven brand in the UK.

    If you want to support the British economy then I would suggest a British car (i.e. made in Britain) such as a Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Vauxhall, Jaguar, or LR.

    Vive La France!!!

    I am not a number, I am a free man!

  13. The comment “think in terms of higher-end Ford Focus and lower-end Ford Mondeo models and the like as the potential competition” refers only to a possible pricing strategy and not to the MG6’s size.

    Ash Sutcliffe of China Car Times saw the MG6 Fastback at Auto Shanghai and reckoned that the car was about the same size as the last generation Mazda 6 – that corroborates AROnline’s understanding that the MG6 will, at least in terms of size, be a D-segment model.

  14. Steve says:

    Jenna Jameson :Simply awful, this is proof that SAIC is on the ropes. All of these special editions remind me of the run out Capris – Lasers, Tickfords, etc. It is now time to let the brand die with what little dignity remains.
    ARO should stop promoting this appalling Chinese propaganda and stick to reminiscing about the good old days. Rover went tits up in 2005 and, apart from the ridiculous charade with the rehashed TF, so did MG. Time to move on!

    ……. same here should have been left to r.i.p back in 05.

  15. Pete says:

    Have to have a little go here. Most of MG TF LE 500s built have been sold and I am sure the 200 85th Anniverary cars will sell – maybe to diehard MG F/TF fans. The base car coming in at about £13k will, I think, also sell to a limited market.

    I own two MGR Longbridge-built MGs – a TF 160 and a very late 56 reg ZT 260 – so I am a die hard MG man but the new car coming here for me have must be Longbridge or UK built to large % of the car. And the TF 135 car has not got the go of the 160 VVC, so we need a high output or maybe the 160 turbo unit in the TF.

    On a sunny day a drive a nice TF 160 OR even an F 145 will put a smile on your face. Yes, I know more then most about HGF but, get a good one, and they are still a great sports cars. I felt the same about them until I drove one and then bought one.

  16. Sammo says:

    The reason the MG TF LE500 hasn’t sold [still over 100+ left] is that they were built off early data and it had to be re-aligned to later parts. When you speak to the people who work at Longbridge they will tell you the trouble they had to fit lots of the parts from China.

    A completely new model is required very quickly if MG UK is to succeed – it must be costing the Chinese mega money to keep Longbridge open. MG is a very marketable brand with the right product but, if this doesn’t arrive soon, it will be time to pull the curtain down.

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