Blog : MG – how long can things continue?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Adam Sloman

MG6 BTCC Edition
MG6: a good car undersold

This week has seen a flurry of excitement in the motor industry with companies big and small vying for their moment in the spotlight. All apart from MG, which, once again, was absent from a major European motor show. Keith Adams has eloquently summed up the Geneva issue, but once again MG seems to have missed an opportunity to show itself and the company to a wider European audience.

Contrast this with the scene in China were MG regularly showcases cars at Shanghai, Beijing and Qingdao. Yet not once has MG made an appearance at an EU Industry event. The big question is why?

In 2010 during an interview for MG Enthusiast, MG’s Sales and Marketing Director, Guy Jones, told me that a diesel version of the MG6 engine would arrive in 2011 and that the diesel engine was ‘the gateway to Europe’, yet today the diesel has only just gone on sale in Britain and still MG’s European fans are left waiting. In China today there’s a choice of MG3, MG5, MG6 (GT and Magnette) and MG7. MG3 launched in 2011, the 5 in 2012. MG has always contended that its cars are designed for Europe and adapted for China – if this is the case then what accounts for the long delay in bringing the cars to Europe? The MG6 was delayed because its front bumper didn’t meet UK crash regulations – why would a car designed for Europe need such work?

Again it poses another big question about MG’s business plan. Understandably, the UK is no longer the biggest market for MG but, if SAIC is serious about the marque’s heritage, then the UK must play a bigger role in the brand’s global strategy than it currently does. Plenty have pointed the finger at the company’s foreign ownership but, as Jaguar Land Rover and MINI have shown, foreign ownership can be a boon not a burden to a historically British brand.

MG Motor seem to have both hands tied behind its back, but this isn’t helped by the total lack of marketing – simply put the car doesn’t exist in minds of the majority of the car-buying public. SAIC has plenty of cash yet there’s no push from MG, something is going wrong. Is there a lack of faith from the management back in the PRC? The diesel is now available but where is the advertising for it? There doesn’t appear to be any, sadly.

This week has seen the SMMT release the February registration figures for the UK and they showed that just nine MGs were registered during the month.

Nine.

Nine cars wouldn’t support a small dealership, let alone a whole dealer network.

Simply put, MG’s relaunch has failed, the car hasn’t been promoted properly and subsequently it hasn’t sold. As a hugely passionate MG fan, I’m disappointed to see the name once again in turmoil. I just wonder how many lives MG has left. Let’s hope March sees the DTi help the company turn a corner. And that the MG3 gets to market before it’s too late…


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108 Comments

  1. It has utterly failed but I still keep convincing myself they are playing a long game. Though you wonder what they actually do all day, i’d be so demotivated i’d have left months ago. There is the argument that things should improve with the MG3 as it is probably a better car for the market but even so the performance is just beyond awful.

  2. The DTI does exist. It’s something called BIS. Whay would they support? Sorry to sound so negative, but what’s the point?

  3. It’s a car nobody has heard of, and even if they had, the high CO, and poor residuals, and a pathetic dealer network, as well as the high list would put of Joe Public from buying them. The 3 won’t sell either, once again thanks to the engine, and no doubt high price, and no Government help will be forthcoming, because the company is Chinese owned. They can’t even be bothered to attend motor shows such as Geneva, when their Chinese rivals did. It does really make you wonder what the hell SAIC are playing at, because quite frankly, I do not think they have a clue at all.

  4. I thnk they wanted the marque for the prestige (or at least “Bristishness”) value that it has in the domestic market of China and the Far East. Some technical know-how sprinkled on from here will have only helped that but it simply isn’t destined for here, and the market in Europe is not high on their radar as the capacity is tiny compared to what is going on in China. In 2011 there were 50,000 cars sold a day in their home market. This may be slowing as their economy goes slightly off the boil.

    I wonder if there are still “nine million bicycles in Beijing”?!

    Source for Chinese market: http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=314&catid=

  5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Why all the exasperation? MG’s ‘presence’ in the UK is a sop. SAIC didn’t put the car in Geneva because they don’t care about the European market, in the same way that European manufacturers didn’t care about the Chinese market for decades.

    This isn’t a criticism of them or an expression of indignation. It’s a fact, and something we need to get used to. We aren’t that important, and we need to stop thinking we are, start looking at the reasons why we are insignificant to them and do something about it (in the way they did when we all thought they were inconsequential….)

  6. Sadly, I agree with Enrico Vanni.

    China is their focus, and indeed most car manufacturers are looking to break into that market – huge potential for sales.

    The UK is a token effort in order to cynically link the MG with it’s previous incarnation. I wouldn’t be surprised if it quietly disappeared once they’ve moved beyond the legacy phase in China.

    I’ve seen more new Protons on the road than I’ve seen MG, and when was the last time those were advertised?

    Heck, I’ve seen more Suzuki Kisashis – 2.5 litre petrol D segment saloon cars, which is everything the market is against these days!

    So much potential, a decent car in the MG6, a diesel that hasn’t been promoted at all and could’ve made the car the new Octavia for the fleet markets.

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if they packed up and left either once they had their complete range designed by poor sods at ‘Wongbridge’.

  8. It’s clear SAIC hasn’t taken the value of the MG name seriously and their marketing has been abysmal. One thing I haven’t seen yet is sales figures for the MG range in China. I trust they are doing miles better over there?

  9. 9 cars is a huge surge (+ 200 %) compared to the 3 sold in february last year, minus the Avis fleet cars. Just a tiny drop of hope in an ocean of huge doubts.

  10. I’m all for a sense of humour, but I think the wheeltappers & shunters ‘racial’ stuff is getting a bit boring.

    There’s a critical weakness in MG UK’s presence, and it’s the marketing team. I have no doubt that if SAIC were TOLD that the strategy needed to be different, that investment was needed, the finances would be forthcoming. it’s a waste of time and a joke selling these handfuls of cars, they may as well give them away free for all the profit they’re making, but they have people at MG who flat-out insist that they know best and have little interest in deviating from a path that was well-trodden in the MGR days as far as I can tell.

    The MG6 is not a bad car. I even think the fastback is quite good looking from most angles. The diesel engine is what is needed and it’s here. The finance deals are not horrific. Stick a better warranty on, stop ending promotions right before a burst of sales activity (i.e. new registration dates) and invest in some low budget but clever, targeted TV advertising and enough of them would sell for owners (not renters) to get the word out that the cars are pretty decent.

    There are a few hundred out there and we’ve only had a couple of high-profile complaints here. That’s better going than the Citroën C6, where the forum was full of tales of woe (not just mine – actually, mine wasn’t that bad compared to some!).

  11. @Richard. I agree there are definitely failings in the marketing department here in the UK (their conceited incompetence reminds me of the middle-management levels of the public sector), but let’s be pragmatic about this.

    Established brands such as Peugeot and Vauxhall are struggling to make a profit at the moment in their manufacturing heartland – true the two of them are are bloated behemoths, but I’m sure that the folks in China are looking at this, looking at their exploding domestic market and thinking why bother entering the snake pit of Europe at this time.

    Any outlay in advertising, type approval, crash test, emissions test and all other bureaucracy has probably been costed against investing that money (or not even having to invest it) in their own market and selling the cars there.

    We are looking at this colloquially, I’m pretty sure that they aren’t.

    There’s a longer game being played out here.

  12. Richard, face facts here, they are dead in the water. There are over 100 ex rental 6’s on Auto Trader at an insane low price, that still won’t find buyers. SAIC don’t give a toss about the UK, and never, ever will, and the diesel still isn’t on sale over 2 years after it was first mooted either, dealers are on the brink of bankruptcy too, and with such piss poor sales figures, nobody would be stupid enough to sign up for a franchise in the middle of the deepest recession in decades, and it isn’t pretty decent, its AVERAGE as has already been proven, as the sad tale of quite major defects that needed rectifying, which no doubt all could have all been picked out by a decent quality control team. I think the sector that the 6 is is in is also stone dead. Skoda have found that out with the almost identical sized Rapid. For the comedically high price the Chinks are trying to flog this also-ran, it HAS to be an SUV, plain and simple, if it isn’t, it isn’t wanted. The 4 door saloon, and 5 door hatch sector is just about extinct

  13. Oh, I agree that the car is dead in the water in the UK, but I think it would have been sustainable. Four door saloon sales should and could have been strong in Ireland, for example.

    But the drawn out process bringing the MG3 to market.. that’s ridiculous now.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – overpricing, then killing off the TF was their biggest mistake. People are forgiving of dated sports cars. That car would have done more for them in advertising than any number of ill-advised horsemeat puns and Facebook “likes”.

  14. I do wonder if the 6 diesel will turn their fortunes around. In this months ‘What Car?’ it has received an absolute hammering. In particular they criticise its running costs as a company car, which is at odds with the “marketing” teams’ belief in it being a compelling prospect due to low running costs.

    No doubt if the 6 DTi flops we’ll be told the 3 will turn their prospects around…

  15. It’s obvious that all SAICs MGs are being designed for the Chinese market first, Europe second. It’s also obvious that they lack the technology MGR possessed fifteen years ago to build strong and light shells from variable thickness steel, making the MG6 heavier than it really needed to.
    That they have cast aside one of the finest diesel units in development in 2006 (G Series) for a cheap off the shelf unit which has zero parts commonality with anything made on Europe, made a lovely TV advert and shown it about half a dozen times, never advertise in National or even local press, have a fully kitted out paint shop yet never offer punters the option of extra paint hues aside from the handful Chinese ones are made in, I don’t even think they have given Jason Plato an MG6 to use.
    It’s all a total disgrace and when people look back on BMC>MG SAIC it won’t be the Marina, Allegro or even the disaster that was the Austin 3 Litre being laughed at the most but the MG6.

  16. For all people are saying about the Chinese playing a ‘long game’, and their not caring about the European market- it seems really unethical not to promote their wares and to support their dealers (who must be weeping with frustration).

    OK, none of their products is exactly well-tailored to the British business environment, but neither was the unfortunate CitiRover- and that car sold way more than the latest MGs. Hell, there have been some absolute turkeys out there on the market that sold reasonably- thanks to promotions and appropriate marketing.

  17. Agree with Richard that Ireland is still in love with small saloons – they get Focus, Astra, Corolla saloons, the Almera saloon was replaced by the specially imported Tiida saloon and Renault imports a RHD Fluence (internal combustion). If Nissan and Renault can do that for the specific market, MG could’ve had a sales push.

  18. It’s clear that SAIC don’t care about the European market, and are going through the motions.

    And I don’t want to knock the UK design team, but without the backup of a Honda or BMW, and without the majority of the staff and systems who stayed at Gaydon to design Evoques and the new RR, what exactly do we have in terms of capability? A tiny, inexperienced team, dwarfed by the Global Giants, who will struggle to produce anything class competitive. Working with the Chinese designers, who can produce a car, but not one up to the top international standards yet.

  19. February must be a “slow” month, ahead of the March registration change. Looking at the SMMT website, at least MG outsold Lotus (1 car in the UK in February) and their owners, Proton (2), but the surprise must be Infiniti with no registrations for February.

  20. Perhaps there is some logic in them not attending Geneva. With the exception of the arrival of the new diesel engine, there have been no other new enhancements to the MG6 or the unveiling of new models yet, for whatever reason.

    The cost for any manufacturer to have a stand at a major international motor show is huge, usually over £1.5m. With MG Motor UK Ltd having no new metal or enhancements of existing metal to show (which usually attracts more interest from the press and public than ‘just’ the availability of another engine), it seems displaying at Geneva would add no further value to the MG line-up or the MG brand in general, beyond their last appearance at such an event. Most countries are aware that MG exists and will be aware of the MG6, but what other new news is there beyond this?

    Do they want to be reminded that it is ‘the same news as usual’, or that it is merely an opportunity to rubbish MG Motor UK Ltd’s dire efforts in promoting and marketing the MG6? On these assumptions, only the dyed-in-the-wool MG enthusiasts and publications would likely be keen to wonder over to the stand and then give them valuable editorial space. Even then you would probably struggle to write anything encouraging beyond a paragraph about their presence. This, in turn, would not help attract any significant new sales whereby the profit pays for all the associated costs of attending Geneva.

    So, no, I am not surprised or disappointed.

    Beyond the ease of this article looking at merely the symptoms, there needs to be a more direct approach to investigating the underlying causes of why MG Motor UK Ltd did not attend Geneva, and why they are still struggling with marketing and advertising, because this article is not adding anything new to this topic.

    And what is the real underlying disappointment being expressed in this article? Is it merely the ‘failure’ to relaunch a British (and arguably flawed) brand whereby it can recapture the essence of what was achieved by the previous custodians of the name, or the ‘failure’ of a British-based manufacturing operation to be seen as a major force in the volume car market, thus restoring some form of national pride because it uses a recognised British name?

  21. @David3500,

    You don’t have to have new cars to unveil to attend a Motor Show- most of those attending will have their usual suspects on display. The point is, that it gives those unfamiliar with the brand (ie, just about everyone) a chance to sniff around a real, live, in-the-metal MG. As importantly, it would tell the dealers who have signed up to sell them that MG Motors actually gives a damn.

    OK, they may see themselves as an ‘also ran’ but you should never project that sense of resignation to the buying public.

  22. They’ve got plenty to show at Geneva if they wish.

    MG 6, Magnette, MG 6 diesel, MG3 (or the Zero concept), MG5 and the Icon concept.

    Smart turn up at all the shows with just one model and at least one crazy concept. To say SAIC don’t have the money to put on a show for MG is ludricous – they just can’t be bothered with the brand in Europe.

  23. i previously worked at longbridge for 30 years and from day 1 we as former workers new that the chinese input was all a load of rubbish .the people they currently employ and the engineers that they have on board regardless wot ne one says is the same people that designed and built for mg rover , the mgtf workforce were the sick and lame from rover and are not the so call mg technicians they are being made out to be ,and being a former manager i can assure you that the main of the workforce do not have many qualifications relating to car manufacturing . it may seem that im bitter but further from the truth i want and hope that mg gets off its arse and bounces back and yes the chinese have the money to invest and be a big player but not if they have a second hand workforce .within the mg rover realm there were technicians from east works ,engine build .b,i,w methods build . guys that had engineered and built the new mini ,technicians that went to cowley to teach the manufacturing process to build cars from start to finish .with the PSR process and PRD.west east and method build trainers that went to dudley college to gain qualifications in coaching .training all aspects of car assembly .why wasnt these experts employed by the chinese.i dont wish to undermine the mgtf guys as they did there best wiv the knowledge they have but sorry guys some cant even drive and it came down as per usual to not wot u no but who u no ,very negative i no guys but sometimes the reality needs to be told so the so called guy jones of the world take note if not be prepared to be left holding the sign on the front gate again

  24. I think its obvious that MG don’t give a damn whether they sell cars in the uk or not, all they want is to be able to tell their Chinese customers that its a European car.

  25. In the bad old days BL used to shift metal via the employee car scheme – I knew a sales rep for the Llanelli Radiators subsidiary (as was) who had her car changed every 6 weeks. 9 sales in February – don’t they have an employee car scheme these days/ how many of the 400 people at Longbridge have an MG themselves?

    The current situation is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel – the apparent lack of official/unofficial informed inside information to give us an idea of what’s really going on/the big picture is a bit odd.

    FWIW, my local dealer had its MG’s in part of its Renault showroom but has now set up a unique larger showroom in the unit next door, so at least they are showing some confidence in the future.

    The comparison with Proton seems increasingly apt – I hope the 3 isn’t received like the Savvy – odd styling and a poor engine. Similarly, new models being seen in the home market but not coming to the UK.

  26. Erm TATA had a stand at Geneva, and you could clearly see an Indica in one of the photos. How old is that now eh? No excuses at all for MG not being there. Their Chinese rivals were though. I can see SAIC being wiped out by their rivals, even in the home market

  27. Lets use a bit of comparison to show how big a task MG has on its hands and that even with an ideal range, dealer network etc etc its really tough out there.

    The recent launch of Dacia, a full range of budget superminis, priced very compeditively, connected to a well known manufacturer; renault with whom it shares an extensive dealer network.
    The Dacia brand has been extensively plugged and praised by the likes of Top Gear and Autocar… and lo and behold the brand onlyu managed 33 sales in January.. now if that was the case with MG I’d be worried.

    MG6 – nowt wrong with it as far as I can see, really compeditively priced, nice looking and to drive.. but I would never ever buy one.. because its to big..

    I’d never buy a Dacia either as its really not my kind of car.

    What MG needs is a car that a lot of people want.. MG3 & MG5 are much more market focused and should change things for MG when they finally get here.

    The dealy really frustrates me, though can understand lack of marketing when all you have to offer is the MG6..

    There are of course a dedicated few who long for MG to pull out of the UK.. but it ain’t gonna happen.

  28. Woof Woof @ 4

    ” I thnk they wanted the marque for the prestige (or at least “Bristishness”) value that it has in the domestic market of China and the Far East. Some technical know-how sprinkled on from here will have only helped that but it simply isn’t destined for here, and the market in Europe is not high on their radar as the capacity is tiny compared to what is going on in China. In 2011 there were 50,000 cars sold a day in their home market. ”

    I think this sums up the situation we are now seeing perfectly. However, when the 6 was first launched here the TV commercial, “It’s time to fall in love again” , was clearly aimed at capturing the UK market. Just what has happened? Are MG UK totally secretive about their and SAIC’s aims, plans?

  29. Those comments are all interesting and sad, however I agree with them all. The MG brand was a great brand, and I’m afraid it is deteriorating rapidly as time goes by. I have a franchise for MG, alongwith three others which are all performing well, thank goodness! I also had MG Rover until it went in 2005, and managed to sell more City Rovers than we have MG6s – good though the car is. Let’s hope the 3 is marketed correctly and is the right price. I’m not holding my breath though!

  30. Given the ZERO promotional activity I assume the sales actually achieved have been to either (i)enthusiasts or (ii)people living beside one of the 40 dealers who are aware of MG purely because they can see a dealer from their front door.
    Criticism of the car does not explain the minute sales. This is simply down to the total lack of public awareness. Never mind if the exciting (ha, ha!) “What Fridge?”, sorry, “What Car?” magazine gives the 6 a bad report. Neither will this cause single number sales. Just look how well the early and dire MKiv Escort sold despite (justified) bad press.

    As people have said above, we passionate enthusiasts have to accept that SAIC just ain’t prioritising the UK market at present.

  31. The MG which sold consistently well over its entire 10 year life was the MGF/MGTF. If SACD had any brains then they would never have moved production of this car to China but would have made a modest update here and kept on producing. Probably then Longbridge would be back to their 1000/month figure

  32. I have no idea what they are up to, I could actually be interested in a 6 TDi to replace my 75, but it would be finacial suicide

  33. @29, Peter,

    Hardly fair to compare Dacia to MG- after all they have barely opened for business in the UK. MG Motors has been around for somewhat longer.

    Everyone knows Dacia will be a huge hit in the UK- they have plenty of support from main dealers, and the manufacturer (and their parent Renault) want to sell here, so make the effort to publicise their products. Success is assured- despite being from a brand with a previously soiled reputation (if you remember Dacias of yore), and Renault hasn’t exactly got the most enviable reputation amongst manufacturers.

    Dacia used to make cars that look like this- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dacia_1410.JPG . Spot any resemblance?

  34. I can’t believe the negativity on here. Having test drove the 6 on wed I was very impressed. However its one car line up. They have not got a full range so what’s the point marketing the brand. Much better to push when the rang is expanded and with a facelift 6. Like many emerging countries they recognise that the uk is fantastic for r and d and sales come second. Speaking to the enginneers at mg there are good things to come which will make it a global strong brand, rather than keeping a few happy in the uk. The future is not selling to fans it’s selling to everybody and only time to get it right will enable them to do it.

  35. They are the Chinese BL to be honest. a company that has grown out of control, and has idiots at the helm. They haven’t a clue how to run a car company in the slightest. Just look at what happened when they took over Ssangyong in Korea. The company imploded spectacularly, which ended in a 77 day sit in by workers, and was only finally broken up by riot police. With their GM and VAG partnerships they had 2 lots of parts bins to dip into, but no. Could VAG actually be giving SAIC a bit of a threat to stay out of Europe though? If they pulled out of their Chinese JV and partnered another brand, SAIC would be in deep merde

  36. @37, Yorkie,

    There is bound to be a discrepancy with more Dacias registered in January because the dealers would have needed demonstrators. February isn’t the best month for car sales anyway, given that March is the month that the registration plates change. This may partly explain why so few MGs were sold (still piss poor though however it is spun).

  37. Yorkie,

    Your on the money.

    CBA is bang on.

    Who really would spend thier hard earnt on one of these and expect to get a sensible time 3 or 4 years down the road.

    (However good the product MIGHT me)

    I wouldnt want to be a guinea pig…and I bet Im not alone

    In Mainland Europe there are shed loads of Dacias, and I bet there not at all bad. So priced properly, marketed properly they are going to sell like hot cakes.

  38. How the mighty fall eh?

    BL sold around 20,000 Marinas in the first week back in 1971.

    And people consider THAT a faliure.

    If someone from MG had the balls to actually tell us enthusiasts and prospective punters how it is, we might back off. But silence breeds suspicion and rumour. Come on MG, tell us what is going on, it’s not like things can get ANY WORSE.

  39. Tony @ 34 “I could actually be interested in a 6 TDi to replace my 75, but it would be finacial suicide”

    I’ve ready similar comments before which indicate a ‘latent demand’. If SAIC were to heavily promote the 6 they would create demand. This would have a beneficial effect on residuals. In turn, the above latent demand would become real demand as people’s financial concerns evaporated. A similar argument would apply if SAIC made a real effort in the UK and expanded the dealer network.

    Put another way, the lack of real desire to sell the car in the UK is having a ‘viscious circle effect’. Few dealers, no promotion equals low demand. Low demand means poor residuals which means even less demand.

  40. @ Gavin Ludkin:

    I think you have mirrored many of the comments I made earlier. Indeed, your comment “The future is not selling to fans it’s selling to everybody and only time to get it right will enable them to do it.”, is an important one. Existing MG enthusiasts did not represent the bulk of sales of MG saloons built under the previous custodianship of the MG brand, but those who had come from other makes. The same sentiments would likely apply to the current MG6 and any future new models.

    Trying to preach to the initiated (namely existing MG enthusiasts) does not represent the best use of the company’s resources compared to a wider potential customer base.

  41. Gavin makes good points.

    Seems few of the MG enthusiasts here have bought an MG6, and make excuses about why they haven’t. I’m as bad. I’d like an MG6, especially the latest ones with black inserts. But I’m really attached to my ZT. And it would be a stretch at the moment to afford one.

    The case has to be made to the rest of the buying public, the majority. Roll on the MG3. And more sales.

  42. Suzuki recent started pulling out of the USA market due to declining sales despite offering some good cars and they were selling about 20-30,000, not 200-300 a year in a market abut 1/6th of the USA. I am quite sure Hyundai and Kia started out the first month better that the first year than MG-China. Here is a new brand using an old brand name, from a country with a weak record of making cars on their own competing against big carmakers like Ford, Puegeot, GM in the UK and not makeing something distinctive, a good value, or with the backing of a big company. One has to wonder if SAIC’s bosses are just running a scam and ripping off the PRC government – although such behavior could mean the death bus making a visit.

  43. @ Mike tbh I went to my local dealer, had a good prod and a poke, and wasn’t impressed with the quality of the trim and finish of the car for the price, and it doesn’t have that ‘wow’ factor. It’s a severe mish mash of very old designs, and the hatch from the side looks very much like the old Primera. It’s a half arsed job, from a half arsed company, and is based on Fred Flintstone automotive technology. This may be OK for the Chinese, who until very recently were still on push bikes and horse & carts, but not the Western World.

    Just think how the dealers are feeling, with these cheapo cars that have turned up ex Avis. Dealers have more or less identical used cars on their forecourts for a good £3-4k higher, and not a snowflake’s chance in hell of shifting them. That’s stabbing in the back by the manufacturer that is allegedly supposed to be backing them up.

  44. Simply put, SAIC haven’t got a bloody clue! – Although I should have known this when they were given the ‘crown jewels’ and didn’t understand what the MGTF was about……

    I have been more than willing to give them the chance to really push on with launching new products and move the business forward. There had been a lot of good will towards them. But frankly, I don’t see them making any success of the business now. They have utterly and spectacularly failed! SAIC have failed and it’s an absolute disgrace to such a historic marque!!!

    My advice to all those of you who are currently working at Longbridge now is to jump ship as soon as you can and head up the road to Castle Bromwich or Solihull. Wolvo i54 will also be up and running next year and I really do hope those guys and girls can get out and jump straight into a JLR job, or perhaps stomach the journey and head over to Hams Hall or Burnaston. As Spen King once said, “it’s better to be on the winning side than the losing side.”

    SAIC has brought great shame on the MG badge and have dirtied it even more than what ‘The Firm’ did. Absolutely **disgraceful**!!

  45. Relax, Chinese business philosphy is very different to that in the West. The MG6 is an excellent car, and I am sure that the MG3 will be too. The whole point of this exercise is to stealth market the car and the firm, and keep a presence within the UK. Once they have a full credible range the sales push will start in earnest. In five years time MG will be a significant seller in the UK.

    BTW there appears to be a lot of confusion in the posts about the relationship between MG Motor UK and the SAIC operation at Longbridge – they are seperate entities, sharing the same site. If MG Motor UK did close shop it would have no impact on the SAIC operation.

    Ianto

  46. Gavin, do you really believe what you wrote? As an aside I do chuckle about these 75 and ZT owners who are thinking about trading up – get real, at best your driving an 8 year old car you honestly haven’t got a hope in hell of buying a MG6!

  47. @Gil, You have to remember they were projected to sell 2000 cars from launch, at least until European launch which was supposed to happen this year. They haven’t got anywhere near that, so they have failed miserably. And of course, when exactly is the European launch date?……

  48. Mg6 is an excellent car? (52)

    Hmmn… not sure about that, a more fitting description would be a decent car at a reasonable price and a starting point of which to re-kindle the brand.

    The same starting point that seems to have been so stunningly cocked up and laughingly marketed by a small team of people who have as much idea of brand passion and long term strategies as Stella the workshop cat.

    Addendum: That’s an insult to my cat!

    Whenever we have posted good items like Keith’s extensive roadtests or last year when I defended then in the service bay, MG Motor UK say nothing – not even a kiss my arse or nothing.

    Post something otherwise or even suggest they are doing it wrong and all hell breaks loose and dummies are spat everywhere in the Longbridge offices.

    Its a shame and an embarrassing disgrace in equal measures and most worrying of all, NOTHING seems to change.

    Cecil Kimber & Syd Enever must be turning in their graves!

  49. I expected such an article to evoque a number of polarised opinions! Thankfully, a little more tempered than the ridiculous reactions over on .org – which seem to swing from hugely racist anti-SAIC and all things chinese, to the blinkered militants that jump on you for daring to speak any ill, factual or otherwise of their beloved leaders at SAIC.

    We don;t really know what the plan was from the start for the UK, perhaps this WAS the plan all along, they never really intended to do a proper relaunch until they could sell 3 and 5, but perhaps they should have not bothered to do anything in the meantime because all it appears to the few public who are aware, is that is is a big fat failure and that is creating negativity towards the brand from those people but also some of the press who are beginning to see MG’s attempts as a laughing stock – and we all know where that leads.

    To describe MG’s plan as having ‘failings’ is a huge understatement – it HAS failed. What we need to know is what is the REAL plan, are we going to get 3 & 5, and WHEN. Will we see a real push from MG when these cars are ready? like DACIA that has launched massive media blitz and will undoubtedly reap the rewards. MG needs to have a massive booster injection into the public consciousness – people need to be aware that they exist, that they can be bought at a local dealer, that they look good, that they are reliable etc.

    And lastly, for all those people who believe SAIC just doesn’t care about Europe, consider that the European market is second only behind China – there were more than 13 MILLION cars sold here last year, only a few behind China and we have less people and more affluence. The European market is higely important for the strongest players who are committed to it. Those who say the European market is stagnant, consider the successes such as Hyundai, Kia and VW – with the right cars, the right strategy and the right prices Europe can be very lucrative for the committed brands.

  50. I don’t even see this car in dutch price lists, no adds not even a journalist writing about it in some magazine, etc… Not even a demo at our local “MG dealer” (well, what’s left of that dealer anyway, I assume they only do maintenance these days…

    If it wasn’t for this site I wouldn’t even know of it’s existance.

    If a car enthousiast like me hardly knows it’s for sale, how can potential customers know about it?

  51. Lotus only sold 1? They need to advertise more or bring out a saloon. No market for 2 seat sports cars anymore!

  52. Have MG actually failed in UK? Surely the Chinese must know exactly what they’re doing, even if that means they are deliberately leading many UK dealerships down the garden path. SAIC must know it possesses a range of products that couldn’t set the European market on fire even WITH a big, expensive and utterly pointless marketing push. I guess they’re keeping everything on the down-low until they have something decent to offer the European market. Why bother spending money promoting MG6? Outside of these sort of forums I bet no one knows about MGs return- which is probably for the best. All this ‘designed in the UK’ stuff is irrelevant bluster. Bottom line is that the essayist above has got it exactly correct by saying that the MG3,5, 6 simply aren’t cars intended for Europe, no matter what MG say. I hope that when these are up for replacement, we’ll really get to see what MG want to achieve in Europe. It better be a MINI/DS3 rival; a ‘Cashcow’ crossover; or better yet a new Midget…

  53. Gil Bern @ 52

    A convincing argument that SAIC are simply ‘playing the long game’ with MG. I suppose this must be the case. Otherwise they’d surely have left the UK long ago with such tiny sales. Do they really need the Longbridge base in order to market their cars back home as having western influence, input. Could they not just say they acquired the technology back in 2005?
    Other comments above make me pessimistic but yours Gil makes me feel encouraged.

    I am, however, more in agreement with Mike regards the 6 itself – I too would regard it as perfectly acceptable as opposed to excellent. That said, if someone gave me £15,000 or so for a new car tomorrow I’d very likely be making tracks for Graham Walker Ltd – the MG dealer in Chester.

    MG UK and the “SAIC operation at Longbridge” may well be separate entities but surely SAIC ultimately controls the sales effort here in the UK?

  54. Dacia dont have a waiting list in Ireland as such. You have to order all their cars through the dealer from factory. Dealers dont carry stock for immediate delivery. I dont know if it is the same in the UK. Was impressed with the competent drive of both Sandero/Duster but as a fleet manager I would expect issues of longevity of the interior plastics/cloth trim. The left hand drive demos I sampled at dealers did not impress in this. Best economy car in our experience surprisingly is the Fiat Panda. Other than front shocks lasting only 10k regularly, you cant kill these. I came accross one recently with 514000 kms and other than some wear on drivers seat, it presented/drove as new!!!!!

    Great site and I really enjoy hearing every oppinion. Only experience of MG 6 so far has been a rental car which proved to be avereage to look at but surprisingly very good to drive.

  55. David Dawson1 @ 63

    Thanks David. I am very confident that the MG6 is merely dipping the toe in the water for SAIC, and that once the volume products are available to full euro spec they will launch a fullscale assault on the market.

    Dacia is completely irrelevant to this story, as the Sandero is very much a budget car, whilst the MG cars occupy the mid range territory previously occupied by VW before they moved upmarket and Skoda replaced them. MG will prevail, maybe not this year or even next year, but within the next five years they will establish themselves.

    Think KIA pride, and now look at that firm. MG already have a better product and will improve even faster that the Koreans have.

    Ianto

  56. i saw the MG3 out on the M40 again today, this is a car they need desperately, that and a smaller hatch. They needed it in March though not who knows when.

  57. Andrew elphick. Comments like yours are not helpful to such debates. I have spoken at length to engineers at mg about the future and therefore have no concerns about the brand or the enginnering in the car. I feel sorry for the dealers, and ideally products would come through quicker. Although none of anyone’s buissness I drive a 190 and want to change this year, it’s getting old but love it. Nothing else I drive as a mechanic comes close to the driving experience. When I sat in the 6 both me and the other half felt the DNA and it was the same on the road thats why I would by one. On the whole it fairly bland but most cars are unless you have no budget. I do have a budget and I can afford one with ease for anyone who cares. There’s a good reason I have not changed before now.

  58. MG and the MG6 are a complete irrelevence so far as the UK motor industry is concerned. Not worth worrying about.

  59. I am stunned at the delay of the MG3 here in the UK.The staff at Longbridge(sorry MG Birmingham)must have got a shock when they first drove the MG3 and found out how CRAP it was.It has taken nearly 3 years to get the car to european standards and still no date known when it will be on sale in the UK and sorry to say this even when it went on sale in China it did not get my taste buds going.No new front bumper is really going to help its lumpy looks.I really want MG to be a major car seller here in the UK but I cannot see it at the moment.

  60. Sounds tome like MG needs UK / Europe needs to be sold off to a local concern and run like a franchise rather than remotely from China. From what I understand, the product is more than acceptable, it’s just that head office is far more concerned with the home market than doing an historic brand justice in it’s home region. They made the same terrible errors with the Ssangyong brand and it was only saved thanks to a lenient government and a willing buyer in Mahindra If one looks at the remarkable turnaround the company is having it is obvious SAIC were inept and managing the company. It’s all a crying shame for MG really, because so much more could and should have come from SAIC for MG and even Ssangyong when it was under their ownership. Both MG and Ssangyong would have benefitted greatly if Ssangyong had offered rebadged SUVs and commercials badged as Morris and MG offered sedans, hatches and estate cars. A dealer would then have a complete range of cars to lure prospective buyers into the showrooms and the practically dormant factory at Longbridge could be kept busy building CKD kits.

  61. Chris C. @ 67 “There are rumours of a mid year MG6 facelift”

    Worthwhile revisions I hope and not just a ‘top & tail’ re-style. I would say any styling revisions, to the nose especially, would likely spoil the look.

  62. If you ask me, and I have been thinking this from the beginning onwards, the only reason for MG to be situated in the UK, is to maintain credebilityfor their main sales argument back in china ” an English heritage brand car, designed and build in the U.K.

    Basically they make losses in de UK, but this is more than covered by the resulting profits from sales in China.

    So, I thing this is all part of a very well thought trough marketing campaign which doesn’d include UK and mainland europe as a main focus.

    If this is true, they can keep their cars. For me, MG died with the demise of MGR, in 2004.

    regards,

    Stefan

  63. @#75 Stefan

    Agree – the main reason for the UK presence is to maintain the heritage. But I’m sure SAIC can’t be content with such trivial sales here. If MG UK was meant to maintain just a minimal presence then it could have dispensed with the network and just sold the cars from MG Direct in Longbridge. So the plan is clearly more ambitious; perhaps the funding less so.

    I’m also not sure MG/Roewe sales in China are currently sufficient to make the division profitable – it sold only 200,000 MG- and Roewe-branded cars there last year.
    http://autonews.gasgoo.com/china-news/roewe-government-sales-solution-to-sharp-competit-130308.shtml

    Pedant’s corner – MGR’s demise was 2005.

  64. The MG6 is a car trying to compete in the Killing Field Sales Arena

    Renault (Laguna) Peugeot 406, Nissan Primera have all given up that particular folly to Ford and Vauxhall.

    The MG3 with a price of £7000 to £9000 has some potential for competing with the likes of Hyundai, Kia Suzuki etc

  65. Perhaps we are analysing the MG situation in our typically short-term European thinking, which we have adopted from our American cousins “Get Large or Get Lost”, and the Chinese are looking a long-term scheme similar to the way Toyota operate

  66. Andrew Elphick 53 in particular: for your info the money is sitting in the bank to buy one of these outright to replace my ZT, brand new if I was mad enough.
    I came close to buying one of the Avis cars in January. I had a test drive in a Magnette at the ‘nearest’ dealer – 80 mile round trip, showroom car tucked away at the back with a flat battery, and hardly any fuel in the demo car, rather spoiling the invite to take it where I wanted. The best the salesman could do was enthuse about the steering wheel. Then MG Motor confirmed that yes I would have to go to my nearest dealer for any warranty work, and any parts for servicing would have to be bought from the nearest dealer. No follow up after either enquiries to dealer, MG Motor (apart from direct response to a query which was wrong anyway), or from last week’s site tour. They can’t sell me a set of mudflaps, even though they’re available in China, or rubber mats. The brochure in Longbridge’s showroom says they have a full range of Magnettes and the website says one model. I looked round all the models again after the site tour, but the conclusion’s the same. I like the car a lot both to look at and drive but why should I bother, when a huge company like SAIC can’t arrange nationwide service cover or a range of accessories, when I risk massive depreciation and parts supply problems in the future, when I can’t get an estate, and most of all when they’re not actually bothered anyway? With proper marketing, effort and infrastructure they could sell a few thousand a year rather than a few hundred.
    Then they told us the MG3 will have 139 gm CO2 – how is that going to sell?
    I certainly wouldn’t be doing much to protect many British jobs by buying one. It seems clear to me that the only investment and activity going on is in the design office. And what exactly does ‘final assembly’ in GB consist of?

  67. @MM

    Technically the 406/407 was replaced by the 508, which seem to be selling healthily.

    Otherwise I agree, the marker for (non-german) D segment saloons is sadly shrinking, corporates are going for perceived badge prestige, private buyers are going for the perceived safety of SUV urban assault vehicles.

  68. Interestingly, according to the Global Auto Sources/Gasgoo article mentioned in the Readers’ responses at 67 and 76 above, SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Company Limited (SMPV) established new and separate Marketing Departments for the MG and Roewe brands on the 1st March, 2013 and the two marques will have their own Dealer Networks and branding teams.

    Hopefully, then, SMPV might now do what Qoros Auto Company Limited (Qoros) has done and appoint an experienced European as Global Brand Director for MG – Qoros’ Executive Director of Sales and Marketing is Stefano Villanti and the company’s Director of Sales and Marketing Europe/ME is Cristiano Carlutti. See the People page on Qoros’ website at that link.

  69. If any MG dealer reading this is up for a price deal challenge then I will seriously consider buying a new top model 6 diesel. The deal has to be 0% finance over 5 years with 5% deposit, full discount, cash back from trade-in, fully wired tow bar,

  70. I think SIAC could sell more MG7s fitted with this new diesel motor in the UK than diesel MG6s. It would be an upgrade to a 75 owner to trade in for a new diesel MG7 whilst a downgrade to get an MG6.

    I think the MG needs at least one super feature to help sell it, it needs to be something amazing like self parking, or built in motorized shopping trolley or like and dislike buttons for the radio which customize your content or the ability to go off road but also jump hedges like a horse can etc.

    It should have been an Austin MG6 and been full of innovations.

  71. @83 The MG7 might have still sold well in 2005, but these days it is unlikely to have been designed for the new EuroNCAP tests, the basic car is now 15 years old.

    The Roewe 950 might sell, even as a Skoda Superb competitor. However it may be more suitable to use a Morris, Austin or even Roewe badge for the big saloon than as an MG.

  72. @ MM (#78) agreed, this is very true, they need to build a solid business to survive in Europe that has to be product and margin led, like Hyundai/KIA. I suppose in their eyes they stuttered launch of the MG6 doesn’t matter, what matters is the full model family due soon, the fact that the re-launch wasn’t really a re-launch at all will only help the fact that none of it really matters publicity wise anyway because no-one even knows about MG right now.

  73. @ Quentin Gallaher, if you want to buy a car based on the effect on British jobs, we should all be buying Nissan. They are by far the biggest car producer in the UK, show constant development and trust in UK workforce. Secondly, perhaps JLR (if they weren’t priced out of most peoples reach) they are largest contributor of R&D money into the UK apparently. The SAIC outfit, for the moment at least, is insignificant and production wise probably will be for some years/decades. If, however, the decided that they needed a full European production facility for their launch into Europe, like Honda, Nissand and Toyota, then choosing Longbridge would certainly give them a shot in the arm PR wise. Afterall, if companies like Nissan/Toyota and Honda can make UK production work for them – and they certainly seem to, then why can’t SAIC?

  74. @markosity1973 (#71) this is true, I had forgotten just how badly SAIC managed Ssangyong when they had it. Ssangyong still outsell MG in the UK…

  75. “Then they told us the MG3 will have 139 gm CO2 – how is that going to sell?”

    I pour £60 a time into my C3 diesel, and £90-100 into my 300C.

    Anyone running a car over average mileage and worrying about a few quid on VED on an otherwise compelling package (and that, incidentally, includes simply liking the car and wanting it – rationalise and we all drive Dacia Sanderos) is insane. £120/year VED is nothing. More relevant is that from band D to E is only £20 difference and an awful lot of ‘economical’ cars are in band D.

    Leave angst about a few quid on VED for emissions to the ecowarriors. My C3 might be VED-free, but my toy costs £220/year and proper car £475/year in RFL – it’s far from the most important thing to consider in car purchases.

  76. Has SAIC or MG Motor come forward with answers to these concerns?

    There must be a journo who has put the question to their PR people?

    The 6 is a nice looking car, especially the saloon and would have been a great Rover 45 replacement in another world.

  77. @89,I always enjoy reading your contributions Richard and as ever lucid and the voice of reason,indeed leave all the CO2 out of it,its only another way of rationalising not buying a chinese car.

    I have always said the 6 is a sound reasonable car and the 3 gets better every time i see the picture.

  78. After selling my ZS I always thought I would buy another MG once the new Chinese owners got established. Unfortunately I would now be reluctant to buy another due to lack of sales success of the 6 and so few dealers.

    Trouble also is that with the emergence of brands like KIA, Hyundai, Chevvy etc means that the market slot occupied by MG has been filled.

  79. These are not, and never will be, “real” MGs in my eyes, and, I suspect, many others. They are no more MG than a Kia Fridge or Hyundai Microwave. What they are is Chinese facsimiles of Oriental econoboxes.

    I will be interested to see if Avis continue to take these and what their customer reaction has been.

  80. “Kia Fridge or Hyundai Microwave”

    This sounds like it comes straight from Clarkson. Lets all just regurgitate his opinions.

    Why not a “Ford Toaster” or “Opel-I mean-Vauxhall Blender”???

    The Hyundai coupe was a good looking car when most other brands had abandoned the coupe sector. Kia have really upped their game in the last 20 years too, since they produced Mazda 121s.

    People were saying the same about Japanese cars back when the Honda-Rover tie-up produced some cracking cars like the R8.

    The MG6 looks like a good car, from owners honest reviews on this site, seems to drive well too with no real issues.

    Just disappointed at the lack of marketing and dealers (I had previously posted on the forum pics of my local MG dealer closed).

    Maybe fate had a hand to play too, just as we enter a triple dip recession, the D segment shrinking, corporate fleets made up of German saloons, private sales go to things like Qashcows. Dacia had the right idea by focusing their introductory marketing of their crossover suv urban assault vehicle.

  81. All cars are white goods to be honest, but China still has a long way to go before trying to mess with the big boys. To be honest, they wasted everyone’s time with this pathetic joke that is the 6, and for what it is actually worth, they may as well pack up and go home, and also as Avis dumped the 6’s quicker than normal, I would say that no more will be going their way

  82. I suspect the Avis fleet was always intended to come back to MG after a year, for a forensic analysis of what does and doesn’t go wrong/wear out prematurely.

    But hey, that could just be common sense talking.

    As for ‘joke’, yes – times have moved on – but if I’d been presented with the MG6 as a choice instead of the perfectly modern Mitsubishi Carisma (at the time) it would have blown my mind for decent interior (the elephant-vomit patterned one in the Carisma was awful), kit, handling etc.

    And even now, if I were in the market for that kind of car, I’d give the MG6 serious consideration.

    But I’m not. And I don’t really understand who is. We can afford extremes – extreme utility, extreme performance, extreme status, extreme size, extreme tech… compromises are hard to sell. Hence the proliferation of SUVs – why NOT have an SUV, after all.

  83. @72 Firstly, Ssangyong is not rubbish. I own a Kyron here in Australia and it constantly amazes people with it’s offroad capability and durability in extreme conditions. Secondly Roewe have released a Ssangyong SUV badged as the Roewe W5 – a facelifted Kyron, so my ideas are not actually that far from reality. You can walk into a Roewe dealership and find the W5 on offer alongside a 750 sedan and all the rest of the range in China.

  84. These are not, and never will be, “real” MGs in my eyes, and, I suspect, many others. They are no more MG than a Kia Fridge or Hyundai Microwave. What they are is Chinese facsimiles of Oriental econoboxes.

    ??????

    MG Metro, MG Maestro, MG Montego…. I suppose you could have said the same about those as they were just badge engineered cars aswel!

  85. Many years ago the Hyundai Pony was a joke,maybe if we had the ‘net and forums then they would be awash with similar know-all bollocks.

    Asfor Avis,thier disposal policy is that of Enterprise,the cars go either after a year/accident or sale.

  86. The ultimate joke was Skoda, a running joke in comedy shows in the eighties for their crude, badly made cars. Now they make cars that people lust after like the Octavia RS and they are always in the top ten of any car survey. Same as in more recent times Kias were a producer of dull looking, boring cheap cars and now have a fantastic range of cars that are right up there with the best

  87. My only issue with the MG6 is that, unlike the MMM’s and Z’s, there is no ‘boring’ version to sit along side it. These older badge-engineered MG’s looked a bit meaner and sportier than there Rover/Austin equivalents, but the 6 doesn’t have that. Yes in China, maybe, but not here.

    While that isn’t a major factor in the lack of sales, I felt the MG versions of the Rover cars looked a bit special in comparison and possibly drew sales as a result. In the case of the 6, and (hopefully) the 3, MG are going to have to get their marketing act sorted out as they are stand-alone models fighting on their own. There are plenty of people on here with good things to say about the car, so it’s not as if they are trying to flog a heap of junk.

  88. It’s a company that knows only how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. No heavy plugging after a pretty good BTCC season, and now dumping 500 cars(in batches of 100 it seems)at around a third of list, at less than 12 months old. I do feel for the poor sods who have actually bought one new, because thanks to that, their car is now worthless at trade in.

  89. @102,Are you complaining that a car company is selling a used car cheaper? what would you prefer? the usual dealer artificial sticker price that is always way over the natural selling price?
    Try buying any new car and throwing it back after 12 months as a straight cut sale then you would feel liked you have been mugged.

  90. Bretty, put yourself in a franchise’s shoes! You have an identical car on your forecourt, with less miles for say £11,995, and someone is selling a car for less than what you paid for the one you have in stock. That is now dead money. MG UK are stabbing their 40 franchise holders in the back, so to be honest, if every single one said ‘UP YOURS MATE’, it would not surprise me at all, and the way MG UK are behaving, perhaps they all should? It might finally wake the clueless morons at Wongbride up!

  91. @104, The franchisee’s are not stood around waiting to die yorkie,they have used cars too,ok new car sales keep folk in jobs but its small beer to the used car market-8 million sales a year, be it dealers,private citizens or scumbags down the pub.
    No dealer would really survive without used cars on the forecourt whatever marquethey punt.

  92. Obviously everybody is living in Top Gear land where the UK is the defining market for the world’s auto makers.
    I have to break it to you but that isn’t the case, and hasn’t been since, well, BL’s heyday before we joined the EU.
    Yes amazing as it seems, SAIC/MG whatever you want to call them are playing the waiting game. Why one earth would they want to enter the European market in a big way at the moment? If you haven’t noticed the European market, with the exception of the UK, is imploding. Sales are plummeting by double figure percentages, some 10.6% in February alone – to quote the BBC “Car sales across the European Union fell 8% last year to a 17-year low, and manufacturers do not expect things to be any brighter this year with EU car sales expected to drop a further 6%.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21692074). Ford, PSA, Toyota and Renault are haemorrhaging sales by as much as 25% in some European countries. Do you really want to see MG competing in that bloodbath now, or would you rather they play the long game and sneak quietly in… The used cars are just another way of doing that – get the cars out in the market and into buyers vision and experience. Think of it as reverse marketing – forget the usual ads we’re used to, this is the new world order owned by the Eastern economies, not Europe.

  93. @106,Exactly what i have said for months on here,just look at Cyprus for example.
    SAIC must be creasing themselves reading some posts on here,but hey,its now now now.

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