Blog : Three – can it be the magic number?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Mike Humble

MG3 Euro (1)

 

Time to get behind the brand?

Let’s be honest, many of us have been a little unfair to MG Motor UK over the past few years. I will accept that in some cases the brickbats have been somewhat justified, especially where false starts and belated car launches have been concerned. But many remarks and, sometimes, hateful digs about the marque are nothing short of xenophobic or ill-informed. They’re coming from some people who, it appears, simply wish to see MG fail regardless of the efforts of some genuinely talented UK-based Designers and Engineers.

Over the past few weeks, a great deal of effort has gone into our own housekeeping on AROnline. Site and forum moderators from England and overseas have been culling and blocking repeat offenders who’s only aim seems to be upsetting people merely for fun. Your opinion is yours alone but a line has to be drawn when it starts to border on the libellous or slanderous – of course, as is always the way, it’s a very small minority that spoil it. On the whole though, we are pleased to say that an overwhelming majority of you are decent loyal supporters of the cause – of this we never forget and offer continued thanks!

Whatever your opinion on the MG3, maybe there is now a big chance that it can turn around the current situation of apathy and underwhelming sales with the MG6. The prices for the MG3 have now been announced and, quite frankly, MG has rather cleverly dropped into a unique niche in the marketplace. General banter and initial responses regarding the ‘3 talk of stealing sales from Pacific Rim brands, such as Hyundai and Kia but wait… it’s more interesting than that. Both the aforementioned manufacturers’ models are now priced more in accordance with the volume brands and that gives the MG3 a considerable advantage in every sense.

Here we have a UK-engineered car with very agreeable styling cues, funky graphic option packs and a sporting heritage on the front grille priced under the all-important £10,000 mark – it’s genius. For this price, I am still almost certain than so far as margins matter a healthy figure of profit remains. Most of the raw components will, no doubt, be sourced from the Far East, but the days of Chinese products being similar to a cheap plastic toy in terms of quality are so long gone. It is here where the advantages lie: foreign-sourced parts of an agreeable quality for an agreeable price.

More UK input than you may think. Engineering alliances with UK firms like Ricardo are key to future MG products.
More UK input than you may think. Engineering alliances with British firms like Ricardo are key to future MG products.

UK Talent: the real unsung heroes

No doubt there are a certain percentage of locally-sourced components too, but where do you think much of your current mainstream car parts come from? So how will it stack up from a salesman’s point of view? Well, speaking as someone who has plied their trade on the showroom floor, it has every chance of success. My own take on any new car is a unique one: if I would buy and run one, I would happily sell them. And for this car, at this price, where can you go wrong. Quality and reliability are bound to be acceptable – it has to be as there is no tolerance in the marketplace for inferior motor cars these days.

Lessons must be learnt from previous experiences. Let’s use the MG6 diesel for example – a car that so many people said was vital to the ‘6 range. Where was the advertising or marketing campaign and sales push? The diesel ‘6 drives really well, feels properly engineered, packs a nice punch and is competitive in economy terms and yet, judging by the sales figures, no one seems to know. Some might say this is criminal especially after taking into account the hard work put in by some key British-based research and engineering teams from MG and affiliated organisations.

Some very talented men and women work at the Longbridge site – some of them I know on a personal level – and some of them eat, live and sleep MG. As a consequence, there is little doubt in my mind that the MG3 has every chance of going some way towards resurrecting the MG marque’s credibility – especially if past criticism has been taken on board and the lessons learnt from previous sales and marketing activity or, more to the point, the lack thereof. Some clever cheeky adverts here and there, some television show sponsorship or even a Z-list celebrity seen whizzing about in an MG3 can only do good for visual presence.

Lacklustre sales as with the MG6 diesel must improve by market penetration and public awareness - MG3 must address this.
Lacklustre sales as with the MG6 diesel must improve by market penetration and public awareness – MG3 must address this.

Confidence breeds success

Fair enough, MG Motor UK operates on a small scale and with considerable financial constraints selling through a very small number of dealers but, with the MG3 something just has to change. Internet platforms such as Twitter and Facebook may work as free advertising but they also breed the trolls and laptop mockers who are doing their best to infect the enthusiasts and brand fans with pointless and sometimes hurtful nonsense. What we all need to remember is that the negative stuff out there online is only aimed to provoke a response and for MG to re-think its Internet strategy, advertise properly and make an impact.

It’s this ‘impact’ that MG so badly needs to make. Speaking to many people about cars on a daily basis uncovers a worrying fact that many are still blissfully unaware than MG still produces cars. After all, you have to doff the occasional forelock to the heritage and past but the future is tomorrow. Cars such as the MG3 and ‘6 are vital not only to the future of the brand itself but for the future of Longbridge and any further UK investment. Dealers must be chomping at the bit to get some backsides on seats, yet some are growing impatient of what they see as a distinct lack of activity from MG.

This is not the case – Longbridge is a hive of creativity and, again, it’s here that people need educating. Tease the potential customer and keep them informed of projects and ideas rather than throwing up a Great Wall of silence. MG should shout from the rooftops about being part of a truly massive parent group in order to forge the minds eye of commitment and long-term UK viability. Without the all-important confidence in the customer’s train of thought, the car and brand will fail and it is here that MG needs to pull out the stops and bang that drum – loud and proud.

So what if the car has a slightly higher VED bracket than many other cars of a similar size? Surely, if the MG3 has such a distinct price advantage – which it clearly does to the tune of a four-figure sum in most cases – is this going to eclipse the cost advantage even over say three or four years? I think not. Using the VED against the MG3 in most circumstances might just be clutching at straws to pick fault with a product which is obviously offering some genuine value for money. When a car like this comes at such a canny price, you do have to compromise somewhere down the line.

The MG3 sits in a place that makes other niche brands seem hopelessly expensive. The ‘3 will never be a Cooper in terms of desire, but it’s surely more individual than anything else imaginable pound for pound, more sporting-themed than anything Korean and, dare I say it, British, than other volume cars. It’s cute, is well trimmed, priced in a league of its own and cleverly but doesn’t come across as cheap. All that’s required is some noise from MG Motor UK in the marketing department – success can surely be the only outcome.

So will it do well? I hope so. Does it need to succeed? Most definitely, but you the potential customers need to taste the new fruits of a hopefully reborn MG for yourself. Forget the rumours and Internet mockery often based on no tangible experience whatsoever and try the MG3 to draw your own conclusion rather than a made up guess from a naughty schoolboy with a laptop. This model simply has to win, so ignore the idiots and either make a choice to celebrate that we can still design and engineer a good package in the UK, or follow the trolls and potentially jeopardise the careers of some world-class British Engineers.

The long and rich heritage of MG will forever be celebrated, but the present and future need to be preserved too!

heritage

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

69 Comments

  1. Well put, sir! The future of global production is local talent married to low manufacturing costs. The Dysonmobile is born!

  2. Well said Mike and I wish it well ! Wasn’t it the Germans who said of the British “Ahh The People who like to Destroy themselves”….

  3. “Here we have a UK-engineered car with very agreeable styling cues, funky graphic option packs and a sporting heritage on the front grille priced under the all-important £10,000 mark – it’s genius.”

    In a nutshell, Mike!!

  4. you never hear germans putting there products down do you? we have no faith in ourselves, why i have an SD1 and a discovery both excellent cars. keep the faith..

  5. I agree with pretty much everything you say. If people know about this car it will sell like hot cakes. They need to draw attention to the car and the advantages it holds over the competition. Even the top spec car is £2,000 less than the cheapest Fiesta with 5-doors and it comes with 45 more hp and oodles more kit.

  6. Great article and that’s a class pic as well! It’s funny people say the Streetwise was and is a waste of space but Dacia is doing the exact same with the Sandero Stepway, so Rover were deffo ahead of the game there!! I really want a shot in the MG3 I think I would like one instead of the Golf GTI as I’m getting a bit bored with it ATM.

  7. I don’t think there are too many people against MG or the Chinese as such and I’m sure the Longbridge staff are respected for their efforts (it’s quite romantic that they are there :-)) – I just think that the styling of the MG6 doesn’t cut the mustard and, on top of that, MG are not only competing against new cars, but also good second-hand cars. For example would you (or me) buy a new MG6 or perhaps buy a 3 year old AWD Subaru Legacy or BMW 318 (also goes like a cut cat) with an extended warranty?

    Sure there would have been some legacy British car enthusiasts who would like to buy a British car but it’s not a British car – it’s just another car (with good intent of course) with some British ties ups (just like the others). The MG6 looks nice on the inside and it feels nice inside but I can’t get over its rather unaggressive exterior. The MG3, on the other hand, is exactly what it should be: a cute small car with nice lines and an MG badge that happens to look a bit better than the Suzuki Swift. Alex

    PS: I do wonder and I’ve said it before why a bunch of bodykits and lighting kits upgrades haven’t been sponsored by MG for the MG6 aftermarket community – that help might a lot.

  8. One more thought: the fleet buyers – apart from those looking for diesel engines, many will be looking for station wagons(MG6). Alex

  9. I, for one, hope that MG Motor UK Ltd will consider fitting their 1.9-litre turbo-diesel engine into the MG3 in due course as it would be an interesting package, rather like the MG ZR 115 turbo-diesel I drive is.

    A small hatchback with sports-tuned suspension and steering, together with a torquey and responsive large diesel engine also offering good economy. What an appealing proposition to extend the appeal of the MG3 once the model itself has become established in showrooms.

  10. I really hope this car will do well and I think it will, I will be going to have a look and hopefully test drive one.

    But my local MG dealer is 45 miles away in Cardiff because the Swansea dealer gave up on the brand and decided to concentrate on the Great Wall SUV brand instead.

  11. I love MGs. I believe that the 6 is a good car with some flaws, but that’s expected from their first new car in 16 years. I think the 3 has excellent potential though – it’s well priced, has excellent equipment levels and is good looking. If only there was a diesel model.

  12. Agree completely. MG3 is a game-changer, not only for MG but the UK car market as well. This is a niche which will have broad appeal, and I am impressed by the courage shown by MG UK in adopting this pricing strategy.

  13. Well said, Mike
    This car always looked the more likely to succeed, and the pricing is giving that potential success every chance.
    As you say, VED/CO criticisms are clutching at straws and shows a degree of desperation at trying to find fault with the car.
    At those prices, it is going to fit the pockets of a lot of people and hopefully the advertising is a lot more appropriate than it was for the 6 – more like the early Viking MINI’s on the beach, than a slow burn with an old MGB ultimately being an irrelevant distraction

  14. I am English. I was born in England. The people who designed this & the 6 are English so I am given to understand. As cars they are probably perfectly adequate, kind of like most of England (public transport, roads, public ‘ealth; the army) but not the best in class (England hasnt been that since Winston Churchill was out of nappies). However calling the 3 & 6 ‘English’. Up with that I will not put!

    The company they designed them for is, wait for it, CHINESE. Which means this is not an English product, its as Chinese as your next Smartphone. This is what we in modern English call a fact – defined as some piece of information whose veracity or truth can be proven.

    Rose tinted bifocals and frankly offensive adverts are nothing compared to the power of bloody reality (apologies to George Lucas).

    Zenophobia, not really. Neither is it zenophobic or racist to say that the Israelis have been shooting, rocketing and bombing the wrong people for nicking ‘their’ country – when its the truth (for the real culprits look to the Romans/modern Italy & the UK respectively). Its not a very nice fact but its a fact. Same as but for a bloke called Verres in 9AD you wouldnt have had Hitler. Ironically much, there wouldnt even be an Israel now if it wasnt for lil Uncle Adolf and the frankly horrible things he helped instigate (pun not intended). Its a proven historical fact, but try getting someone of Jewish descent to accept it. I can entirely see why they wouldnt want to, but that doesnt make their alternate reality any more of a fact..

    Truth be told it matters precisely sod all where a car is made, anything that isnt sheet metal, seats, leathercloth or mechanicals comes from China anyway and has since time immemorial (circa 1978), the rest comes from where ever the computer (made in China) says is cheapest. Its debatable if theres been much ‘local content’ in anything since metal ships and the Parsons Turbine.

    And spare a thought on this… Dont you think its just as offensive to belittle another country by fabricating reality to enhance your own national ego-testicle as it is to rant at them to belittle theirs?

    If I remember correctly its a major symptom of various severe mental illnesses (the sort that make your favourite sport the holidaymaker beheading championships) that you cannot accept reality, which means anyone who persists in maintaining a Nissan Leaf run on coal fired electricity is zero emissions should be on enough Benzodiazepam to knock out a bull Rhino. On that scale the fatuous dream that JLR is still English, & MG is run by the shade of Cecil Kimber merits only maybe a Elk or irritated Kangaroo dose – but its still further from the shores of reality than Michael ‘im so far out out of my depth I need a bathosphere’ Gove MP…

  15. I agree with much of what has been said, especially with the incompetence of the MG marketing department.
    An example of this was the debacle of the MG3 price release, where no technical specifications of the models were available. Who on earth forget about that?

    Anyway, I really hope that the MG3 drives really well, and is a car that people will want to own. Make no mistake, they’ve had over 2 years to refine and improve the car for the UK market, so there will be no excuse for failure!

    I am concerned about the talk/hype that the MG is genuine competition for Kia and Hyundai, both of which now have much credibility in the UK market.
    The MG3 may well prove to be a genuine contender itself, but MG Motor will have to work overtime to regain the credibility the brand once enjoyed in the UK.

    At this stage in the MG brands rebirth, I personally think that Dacia are the real competition. Here lies the real problem to getting bums on seats!

  16. *blink* Did we cross over into the Daily Hate comments section for a moment there?

    Apple computers are perceived as American, despite the manufacturing of all but a select few models being in China. Dell claimed to be making computers in America, but it was purely final assembly, no different to shopping on Overclockers and shoving the bits together then proclaiming your Asus motherboard, random case, glowy lights and Samsung HDs were “made in Britain”.

    Manufacturing is but a small part of product DNA. If a British engineer (and let’s get one thing straight, I don’t give a monkey what race or country of origin my engineer is as long as they’re a good one) specifies a part to be manufactured, to my mind, that is a British part. It’s informed by British tastes and British requirements.

    BMW sold South African 3-series. VW sold New Beetles and I think Ventos or Boras made in Mexico. Mercedes sold SUVs made in America. My American car is Austrian.

    Enough with the ‘it’s Chinese’ commentary. It’s irrelevant. MG is a British brand – supported by international money – and we should be grateful that in spite of poor domestic sales for the 6, that money continues to flow to develop new models and employ the people working at Longbridge. It IS xenophobic to use the origin of a product to find negatives when you’ve no first-hand experience of it to draw your own conclusions.

    Britain has frequently been “best in class” since WWII, btw. Where’d you think the ARM chipset in the majority of computing devices (and other things) currently on the market came from? Or the optics in front of the cameras that shoot Hollywood blockbusters? Or, indeed, a lot of the writing and acting talent behind those films? Or our print media (outside of the tabloids, though even then they have exacting, precise and clearly defined standards, they’re not sloppy).

    I don’t like living in Britain much. I’m tired of aggressive drivers, dwindling high streets, suspicious and confrontational people. But away from that microcosm of small minded individuals you encounter in underfunded little middle-England towns, Britain is great. Diverse, intelligent, talented and for the most part, hard working, creative and exciting. If a minority of bitter people stopped fighting amongst themselves and trying to bring everyone down to their level long enough to take in the history and potential future of the UK, they’d realise just how great this place is and how easy it could be to love modern Britain.

  17. I’d buy this if my nearest dealer wasn’t 142 miles (that is 248 miles round trip) away, how an I meant to get it serviced! I’d happy get one if the dealer was only 42 miles away.

  18. I always enjoy a good Jemma rant- she is never one to understate her case. And whilst I feel she may lay it on a bit thickly at times, she is articulate, entertaining, and more often than not right. I fear that if this site were to become infantalised to the point that only positive views that conform to corporate AROnline ‘groupthink’ then this site would become a much less colourful forum for car lovers. And her comment inspired a contrasting and erudite counter comment from the pen of Mr Kilpatrick, which I also happen to agree with.

    Yes, I agree that Youtube style juvenile trolling is not welcome and should be stamped out, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, or AROnline risks merely becoming a Disneyfied fan site. Many of us are general car fans, and not even devoted to the Austin Rover and preceding marques, and interest in MG Motors (SAIC) is not the motivating factor behind why most of us come here- as interesting as that continuing soap opera is.

    I hope the 3 does well, but on its own merits rather than because of some jingoistic flag waving. I don’t have much of an opinion about it other than it seeming to be a tidy middle-of-the-road offering much like its mainly Korean opposition.

  19. Jonny has a very valid point. There are currently just 44 MG dealers nationwide (as listed on mg.co.uk).
    The MG3 will not the problem, it will be the perception of the MG brand that many people now have (the Chinese issue) and its inability to service the current and future customer base which will be at fault.
    MG need to get bums on seats with the MG3 quickly, so that it has a presence on the road in the UK which will generate interest. How many MG6’s do you see on the road during a day, a week or even a month?
    To achieve this MG need a “UN spec” car which without doubt will sell, but it’s got to be cheap!

    I’m sure some will argue that it’s already a cheap car, but I don’t personally think it’s cheap enough to tempt would be Dacia buyers, which I believe is the level that MG is currently at.
    I’m afraid it is fantasy that MG can and will genuinely compete against any major manufacturer. The car(s) may be good enough (the jury’s currently out on the MG3), but the brand and network are leagues behind.

  20. Well, in the midst of Jemma’s rant, you have obviously missed a rather large and very valid point – there was not ONE SINGLE CRITICISM of the car itself (I have re-read it twice, it isn’t in there). Nothing about style, engine, VED, CO/emissions, quality of the interior plastic, NOTHING.
    The rant only deals with the perceived country of origin/nationality of the car itself.

    So, Chris Baglin, your salvo at the overly-positive slant that you think is all that is acceptable on this site is, to be frank, nonsense and has no relevance to what Jemma was talking about.

    I have to say I find the rant slightly off, although not offensive to me personally, however the mods obviously think it is acceptable to be left on here and that’s fine by me. Everyone is entitled to say their piece, as are you Chris, but please make it relevant whether it be positive or negative. To have a go at the people who feel genuinely positive about the car just for the sake of it is, in fact, the kind of trolling you talk about

  21. “To achieve this MG need a “UN spec” car which without doubt will sell, but it’s got to be cheap!”

    No, it has to be good. Why the obsession with ‘whatever price MG has put on the car it has to be less’ – the MG6 is already exceptional value, if you look at it rationally. It is a large, comfortable car with high equipment levels and crucially, very good chassis dynamics and ride, that costs as much as a supermini of comparable spec from a more mainstream manufacturer.

    The MG3 we’ll have to wait and see on the actual quality of the car. But on paper and if the body engineering and chassis ethos is anything like the MG6, it IS good value. PSA put the list price of the basic entry into C1/107 ownership at £9,000 (what you can do in the showroom is another matter). A Dacia with any equipment is £7600, £8300 if you want metallic paint and the like.

    So no. It does not need to be cheaper. We cannot make that call yet because we have not driven or even touched the car in the most part. Otherwise you end up reaching the stage where “well, I’d have it if it were a fiver”. Be realistic and be sustainable. If it turns out to have the dynamics of a Hyundai Pony, the rattly tin of a Mk 2 Fiesta and the interior ambience of a Yugo, then we’ll talk. Right now, I’m imagining the MG3 to be something akin to a Skoda Fabia or Suzuki Swift with an engine more to my taste than revvy little eco-things; perhaps a little like the Suzuki Ignis Sport – a car which 8 years ago cost about £10K with a fraction of the equipment the MG3 has (and when depreciation comes into it – I bought a 2004 Ignis Sport with 58,000 on the clock for £2K in 2008. If I’d had any common sense I’d have kept it instead of getting posh new cars).

  22. I’m sure the car is not without fault… but then what is. So with that in mind, the rub is summed up in the final paragraph.

    My use of the term more British dare I say than other volume cars points towards the “perception” after all…. where is the Corsa / Fiesta or 500 assembled?

    Who really sees the MINI as a German car despite the incumbant parentage?

    Why did Rover and MG do so well in Italy or Japan during the BMW era? Because of the “perception” of Britishness…. for heavens sake that is after all one of the major reasons MG is popular in China today.

    Who cares who owns what? we still play a key role in design and engineering along with final assembly – and its these that need celebration.

    So like I said (which some may have not read or chosen to ignore) draw your own conclusion for yourself and get off the internet bile train.

  23. @4 quire right in fact according to the German magazine “Auto Zeitung” the XF is worse than a Skoda and wait for it the F-Type inferior to Porsche Boxter, Audi TT and that venerable hair dressers car the Z4. Nevertheless JLR is presently hugely increasing volumes, albeit from a low level, in a falling market 🙂

  24. Moving on from the MG3s DNA, its looking like a tidy little car for the money. I personally think the pricing puts it in direct competition with the likes of Dacia – indeed a top of the range Sandero can be had for similar money and equipment levels to that of the top range MG3, the difference being that the MG seems to have a lot more visual appeal. If people can buy Dacias in droves then why not this?

  25. The car industry is largely multinational now. My Ford Fiesta is built in Germany but the drivetrain is British. Also a brand people think of as being typically Japanese like Nissan has most of the cars sold in Britain either made here or in India.

  26. Hope MG succeed with this car and broaden the range to include a diesel and an auto. Full leather would be nice with walnut trim – how about a VDP version and a Vitesse sport?

  27. @21, Paul Taylor,

    I wasn’t actually having a pop at anyone- I was merely pointing out that this site would lose colour if it merely became a ‘happy clappy everything MG Motors is rosy’ and ‘let’s all get behind MG’ evangelical bent where expressing negativity would become a faux pas.

    And if you read my following comment you’d have realised that I clearly and obviously don’t support a ‘free for all’ as you pretend- making the gist of your comments rather silly and irrelevant given what I actually said.

    A troll is someone who seeks to cause negativity by attacking another, usually baselessly, and often by misrepresenting another’s position as an excuse to attack them. If there is a troll in this thread, sir, then it is not I.

  28. I honestly can’t believe that you allow comments like @17. Racist towards the Chinese and non-factual to the point of libel. p.s my smartphone is Korean (but I don’t hate them) the seats and parts in my Japanese (owned) car are made by factories in UK supporting UK jobs. The engines in some BMW’s are even made in UK as are plenty of other components. Somebody needs anger management help and a half decent moderator. oh and Chris, are you off to the Ford forum next to slag their cars off to add some ‘balance’ LOL.

  29. Please take off the rose tinted spectacles and face reality. MG Rover failed after BMW left, not because of biased media, but because the cars were increasingly dated, or in the case of the 75, a good product, with completely the wrong look/image. The bosses of the company squandered the money they got from BMW on pointless cars like the SV. While disgracefully asset stripping the company to enrich themselves, remember they got the company for £10, and leaving the workers with nothing.

    The Chinese have created UK jobs, which is good, but only a limited number. At the moment the UK operations is more about improving the perception of the cars in China, than any real attempt to break the UK market.

    The MG 6 was in the wrong segment, with the wrong engine, and was not built well enough. It has a very limited UK content in terms of parts, and the dealership network is non-existant. Censor this if you must, be it is the truth, and you won’t get very far writing fanboy articles that don’t acknownlege reality.

  30. Richard Kilpatrick says that the MG6 is already exceptional value and that the MG3 needs to be good and also represents good value.
    Let’s assume this is the case, but unfortunately it is a sad fact that MG cannot shift the MG6 in any great numbers and it has to be said that MG will potentially face the same issue with the MG3.

    We’ve already talked about the dealer network, or lack of it to be more precise, but as with the MG6, the MG3 is also being launched with a single engine option.
    MG was criticised heavily for this with the MG6 and it appears MG have learned very little from the experience. We could probably forgive MG if the single engine choice for the MG3 was up there amongst the best the small car sector has to offer, but alas the figures tell a different story. So our main hope is that the chassis engineers have got it absolutely spot on and it drives very well, but don’t expect it to rival the class leaders!

    MG will need to find an ‘angle’ with the MG3 and I have not yet seen anything to suggest that MG have the ingenuity and imagination to market the car successfully to the nation. The slogan “make your own fun” is a bit of a worry!
    Have you also noticed that if you place your cursor over the Union Jack on the mg.co.uk website it says “British is the new German” – very worrying indeed.

    I really hope to be proven wrong but I don’t currently see that MG will be able to sell the MG3 in sufficient numbers to make it a success in the UK

    I still say they need a very basic UN spec car. Don’t forget the Dacia Sandero made headlines simply because of this!

  31. Last Sunday at Silverstone I saw my very first MG6 . That sentence alone tells you the problem which MG faces, because I live in the Northwest in a fairly densely populated area. My reaction to the car interested me, because I was surprised immediately at how big it was , and I liked the looks of it. However, it immediately struck me as being a car which falls between market segments. It is ( much) bigger looking than a supermini, or a Golf type car, yet not as big as a Passat/A5 or a Mondeo . The problems of the Princess 35 years ago come to mind. It is to be hoped, therefore, that the MG3 is designed for a more closely defined market in the West . Note that the Japanese did not succeed by designing cars to fit their own market requirements , and while the native Chinese market ultimately will be bigger than that of Japan , it is the sort of immature market where saturation can all too easily arise, with very adverse consequences for manufacturers

  32. Baz – “I honestly can’t believe that you allow comments like @17.”

    That’s my comment. Where is it racist?

    As for moderation, we try very hard not to over moderate. People have their opinions, and it’s better to let people express them than hide them, I think. Short of direct attacks on individuals or excessive profanity, if people wish to reveal themselves to be “x”, then so be it. It means we have a balanced view of how the wider world is interpreting things, rather than a cleaned up, idealistic one. Such attitudes are challenges that MG faces, and as it’s all that is left of what was Austin-Rover, it’s interesting to know what they’re up against 🙂

    Bartelbe: The SV generated more column inches for MG than many thousands of pounds spent on PR. It wasn’t a total waste, at least. As for the MG6 build quality, I don’t think that’s a factor in why it’s not selling – it’s not selling enough for anyone to really find issues.

    There’s a difference between fanboy, and ‘not defaulting to a negative editorial slant’. There’s no reason to attack the MG3, no real grounds to do so, so unsurprisingly the editorial will seem positive 😉

  33. I have read comment 17. Several times, Baz,please give yourself a shake there was no racism in that post.

    More and more i enjoy Richard Kilpatricks comments, i enjoy them as much as the Peter Hitchens column in the Mail on Sunday-the only reason i buy the paper!

    Most of us seem to know it all about SAIC/MGUK and MGR,strip away the media balony, P4 allegations of pension pot looting, its too late its gone.

    So we have MGUK left, it amazes me why the 6 was slated to death possibly because it was chinese. Then folk moan about the dealers being too far away-are we not a socially mobile nation no more? I got off my arse to cumbria to have a look in the flesh-im a petrolhead so why not? I drove to Wigtownshire to buy my English Springer spaniel a 550 mile round trip when i could have bought one next door.

    Then it was fools stating Longbridge should shut down, Why? does the fact that it employs people offend? Or is it because only 400 or so are employed there?

    Now we have the MG3 and if its not CO2 its VED,incoherant comparisons to a Sandero and engine choices even before its gone on sale.I think this car already has the correct engine and a insurance rating other cars would die for-whats the problem?

    Apart from the old chestnut advertising,what is to stop this car selling? this car is probably the most promising thing to come out of Longbridege for a good while. It deserves to do well and i hope it does.

  34. There appears to be a lot of references to ‘facts’ in this item.
    My father used to say that the truth was a fundamental fact – not a flawed human opinion.
    Having read all the contributions here – my ‘facts’ tell me that a significant majority want MG to succeed. Despite a reasonable request from Mike however, there are those who will continue to kick 7 bells out MG because it’s Chinese – or they don’t spend enough on advertising, – or they don’t use the right giggly pin, or whatever.
    And so it will ever be.
    Amen.

  35. @francis brett

    Re: travelling 550 miles to buy a dog.

    Buying a car is the 1st/2nd* biggest purchase many of us will ever make (*excluding/including a house), a 1100 mile round trip to test drive a car is not ideal in the slightest.

    And in terms of servicing – using your analogy, imagine you had to travel that round trip every year to get the dog checked up at the English Springer spaniel specialist vet. That’s what people do (for the first few services at least) getting it serviced at the main dealer.

    Travel to any town, and a large number of vehicles are likely to be from the particular brand of the local dealer.

    MG needs more dealers!

    (And I did try and get to my local dealer for a look – it closed a month after opening. A year and a half later and the MG signage is STILL up on the empty building – reinforcing people’s image of it as a dead brand).

  36. @37,Thats why we have block exemption rules so independent garages can look after the car,these models are supported,right down to technical pages on Autodata.

  37. @38

    This is indeed the case. However many people still insist on buying at the local dealer and getting it serviced there.
    I’m not sure if this is a case of ‘they know what to look for with the car’ or that they don’t realise that the block exemption rules mean that they can go anywhere.

    The few people I know who bought new privately went to the dealer as they believed a dealer stamped service book might help resale value. Not necessarily the supplying dealer, but a manufacturer franchised dealer.

    Fleet/lease hire, and they tend to drop it in at the same dealer for routine work/servicing.

    And as I said, the towns around me tend to buy the marque from the local dealer.

    Dacia just turned up at many Renault dealers, and already they are everywhere. Albeit they had an advertising blitz.

    Maybe if MG could tie up with another marque? SAIC has ties with GM, perhaps they could join Chevrolet dealers, at least to get them started? This was Fiat’s strategy in the states, with Chrysler, for introducing the 500 there.

    (I have bought a car at distance before, brought a Xantia back to Belfast from London. Though it was cheap, and plenty of Citroen garages around at home if I needed parts. I’m not sure I would do the same for a new MG6, knowing that parts and specialist knowledge are not really available here..)

  38. If participation in the BTCC was the master plan for the MG6, I wonder what the plan is for the MG3?

    I still think the MG3 slogan “Make your own fun” is asking for trouble, and I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that. I’m wondering if you’ve got to “make your own fun” is it because the car is anything but fun? – you can see the problem!

    MG are obviously targeting a younger audience with the ‘personalise’ approach which many manufacturer’s now offer. To align with this approach, I think a much better slogan would have been “Make the MG3 yours”. If MG now decide to use this, you saw it here first and I’ll be claiming royalties 🙂

  39. Unfortunately the BTCC participation on the 12-14 lap race yesterday didn’t go well, Plato had an engine/drive issue, the other car ended up spinning out every time it braked.
    Shame, as they had qualified on pole.

  40. To the moderators: How come Jemma got to stay on here, I have never read such vitriol to anything new MG so consistently and so vehemently from anyone else on here.

    And to Jemma, your basis for what can be defined ‘English’ is totally flawed. You think because the Chinese bankroll MG that anything that MG UK design cannot be British? Did you feel the same about the Rover 75 or MGZT, both products created by a company being bank rolled by the Germans. Or the entire range of Jaguars or Land Rovers? For the last 19 years have been bankrolled by either the Americans, Germans or Indians? Are you saying none of those products can be called English?

    Such a shame that you are unable to deliver a point to your posts and even more so that you spend so much time trying to do so.

    As for the original blog, totally agree with everything said. The MG3 is the best thing to happen to MG UK for 8 years and I wish it every success.

    • We’re not going to moderate someone for having an opinion – even if it’s at variance to our own. It would be a duller site if everyone blindly said the same thing.

      Reasons for moderation are few –

      Any comments that can be ‘legalled’.
      Personal insults or threatening behaviour
      Needlessly rude language.

      Hope that helps.

  41. @42, James,

    I won’t speak for Jemma, who can more than hold her own in any case, but I think she has a right to her opinions. And I think she makes her point reasonably well.

    The MG3 is a Chinese car, with British design input. Jaguar and Land Rover are British cars with British design, mostly British mechanicals, and British Assembly. True, there is no major British owned car maker any more, but it would be very hard to see much of Tata’s direct input into JLR’s product range. How much of that is important to you is up to you. As far as I am concerned a Chinese manufactured car with an MG badge, but with British engineering is a lot better than a Chinese car with no British involvement, and I hope that the 3 does become successful, and that SAIC uses and increases Longbridge’s input over time. I find BMW’s ‘Union Flag’ adorned Binis (especially the ones not designed and built here) more offensive than SAIC’s somewhat exaggerated British heritage.

  42. @42,I probably get on folks tits as well,but i find jemma interesting and intelligent. I like to think that shes the type of girl that would pull the pin on a grenade but would put her ear to it to listen to the bang! Shes right as rain!

  43. The MG3 is apparently in the dealerships from September, but where’s the hype, where’s the big push to generate interest in the car, where are the sales going to come from?

    Where are the test reports from the multitude of magazines and an increasing amount of online bloggers?
    The MG3 hasn’t even been launched to the media yet!!!

    I just don’t get it, what are MG Motor doing?

    It’s an important time in car dealerships right now with the new registration from 1st September, but MG haven’t even released details of the finance options yet!

    I’m afraid this seriously does not bode well and I can’t believe that somebody at the top in MG Motor is letting this happen!

  44. If MG use that

    “Three, it’s the magic number…”

    song, I’ll crack up.

    (Still, at least they’d need to be advertising it first…)

  45. Just saw this on Twitter, which tells a story:
    “It’s that time of the month again. July sales for MG were a heady 27 and sales so far this year are a runaway 156 units.”
    “And to put MG’s 156 YTD sales into perspective. Ssangyong, Maserati, Infiniti and even Perodua are all doing better than it so far in 2013.”

    With the introduction of the diesel engine the MG6 still only attracted 27 sales in July, and don’t forget there is a zero VAT offer currently on too!

    We therefore shouldn’t be surprised there are so few MG dealers, who would want to take MG on with such dire sales figures?

    This is truly shocking!

  46. Top 10 best sellers for July:
    1 Fiesta 9,089
    2 Focus 7,229
    3 Astra 6,165
    4 Golf 5,166
    5 Corsa 4,986
    6 Qashqai 4,312
    7 3 Series 3,070
    8 Polo 3,001
    9 Juke 2,943
    10 500 2,768

    Top 10 best sellers so far in 2013:
    1 Fiesta 72,129
    2 Focus 54,904
    3 Corsa 51,133
    4 Astra 39,896
    5 Golf 37,297
    6 Qashqai 31,424
    7 Polo 26,288
    8 3 Series 24,658
    9 208 23,294
    10 1 Series 22,437

  47. build a body and engine plant and build them here and people will take them seresly dropping in the engine and filling it with oil and water and wheeling out to the dealer does not make it a brittish car. if jaguar land rover bring the rover name back and build it at one of its uk plants they will take MG to the cleaners.thy have invested properly in a new enging plant not demolised half the works

  48. Jemma et al
    The UK is the SIXTH largest manufacturing country (minus mining) in the world. Lets have some respect for it.
    Yes the type of manufacturing that we do here has changed and it is a shame that 60% of our manufacturing businesses are not UK owned; but lets get behind it. Encourage our children to study engineering and science rather than boring non-creative jobs in law, finance and insurance.

  49. July 2013 sales figures which might interest you:
    Dacia 1303
    Kia 6027
    Hyundai 4997
    Suzuki 1739
    Mini 3147
    Citroen 5732
    Skoda 4922
    Peugeot 7375
    Smart 342
    MG 27

    It’s a shame the figures aren’t broken down by model.

    It looks like breaking into triple figures per month even when sales of the MG3 filter in will be a challenge for MG.

    I really hope to be proven wrong!

  50. ALL MGS R S**T AND THEY WI11 FAIL HAHAHAHA CHEAP CHINESE RUBBISH etc etc.

    I haven’t read any comments on this thread but I’m guessing that’s the gist of it from the “haters”.
    The internet is full of too many wannabe Clarksons as well as trolls, who see it as fashionable to trash a car they’ve never even seen.
    As Mike said, that’s a big problem with using social media, and lets not forget that everything you read online, is of course true…

    MGUK are going to have a bit of a challenge on their hands, if they want to build a good image in the future. And a good image sells does it not?

    I don’t think the ‘3 will be the turnaround we’re hoping for…I don’t feel it in my water. But it’s a lot more relevant than the MG6, and it’s a confident step in the right direction.

    Right, off to get moderating some forums 😉

  51. Is that an MG3SW in the picture? It’s a shame they never imported that back into the UK, the Streetwise was the prettiest incarnation of the 25 IMO.

    I honestly can’t see much wrong with the MG3 package though. It’s not the most attractive car in the world, it could certainly do with more power, but it is neat looking, those graphics look like a lot of fun and the price is good. I honestly don’t think it would be hard to run a marketing campaign with a little money… “WE’RE BAAAAAAACK!”

  52. The MG3 may be the best car in the world but as the manufacture lack any ‘presence’ in the mind of the UK car buyer it needs a COMPELLING reason to be chosen over one of the more established alternatives.

    I would call myself an enthusiast who is willing to go the extra mile to get the car he wants, and to swim against the tide to get something a bit more interesting.

    But even I, when doing some preliminary leg-work on behalf of a family member who was looking for a new small car, only went to the dealers within 2 miles of home and only looked at potential purchases that ticked the boxes marked ‘good value’, ‘reliable’ and ‘familiar’ – ie everything that marks them out as a low risk purchase.

    To tick these boxes the MG3 needs to start of with

    a) VERY attractive pricing ( ‘competitive’ pricing isn’t enough ),
    b) a ‘manufacturer’s neck on the block warranty’ with a customer satisfaction commitment, such as replacement car if major problems within 3 months
    c) marketing initiatives that get the car out there and into the public’s eye. The first few hundred off the line should be loaned to driving schools, estate agents, utility companies and any other organisation with a large number of people who drive around all day.

    It’s no use the MG3 being everyone’s second choice, the ‘if only it had….’ near miss. The average buyer needs the MG3 to be the option that clearly eliminates all the other possible choices if it’s to get MG established quickly and permanently in UK market.

    Once that’s done MG can raise prices sufficiently to go head to head with the likes Kia, Skoda and Hyundai before moving on to tackling VW, Ford, Mini etc. I’d say 3 to 5 years for phase one and 5 to 10 years for phase two.

  53. No matter if it is a good or a bad car – todays engineering does not surprise us anymore.
    I think the leasing companies will decide on success or no success. As long as these cars do not massively penetrate the company fleets and rental car fleets there is little by no chance to step off the niche. The best advertisement anyway you can do is filling the streets with your car.

  54. Does anyone know how well MG3’s and MG6’s are selling in China? I googled for the info but couldn’t find it anywhere. I gather only a few hundred MG6’s have sold in Britain. Having just watched the Chinese advert for MG3, I notice that it’s branded as “Morris Garages”! Could this work well in the UK, or are they avoiding it because it would risk too much of an association with Marinas and Itals?

  55. It looks like interest in this MG3 blog has come to a halt then, a bit like the promotion that MG Motor are giving this new model.

    From the outside looking in, it looks like the MG3 is over before it’s even begun!

    I really cannot understand MG Motor’s policy of silence and as a result they are very likely to reap what they sow!

  56. Oh dear! MG Motor have only managed 104 new registrations of both the MG3 and MG6 during September 2013 and don’t forget probably 30 of these are MG3 demonstrators!

    Despite a generally positive press for the new MG3, MG Motor have once again failed to convert interest into actual sales!

    I can’t say that I’m surprised and MG Motor really need to have a hard look at themselves, as quite frankly the MG3 probably deserves better!

  57. @64 also

    I spent a very informative 20 minutes talking to the new PR lady at the Southern SMMT test day and she admits MG have not exactly done themselves any favours in the past.

    I have been told to expect some changes and see a conscious effort in marketing as from October. I drove the MG3 thoroughly too and am suitably convinced with a push behind it will sell, the knock on effect should see the MG6 (especially the diesel) take an upturn too.

    Credit is due for MG to represent themselves at SMMT…many journo’s gave them some serious whipping.

    Positive press will NOT sell a car – Its the advertising that does. Take the Escort MK5 for example, a truly shocking car that got caned by the media yet sold like Billy-O… why? because of marketing.

  58. @66 – Advertsing represents a small amount of the marketing budget spent by volume manufacturers. As noted above, the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa are the UK’s best selling cars but you rarely see them advertised in a conventional sense. Nor was the Escort. They sell because of wider marketing effort associated with the clout that Ford and Vauxhall have with fleet buyers, dealer chains and the banks to allow thems to discount and finance. MG simply cant do this.

  59. To a point Paul you may be right, but what happens is this…

    New model is advertised to create footfall and initial sales interest

    New model sells in numbers to get noticed enough on the streets

    Curiosity from prospects then creates another flow into the showroom

    Media advertising falls back to announcing special offers or new additions

    But remember… the MG break even figure is a fraction of what they needed in MGR days so success in MGs own environment means a flow of customers needs only to be a trickle to create a surplus of good fortune.

    Lets just see how things pan out.

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