MG UK : Winning over the Dealers in Windsor
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…