MG’s exciting new Icon Concept was officially unveiled at the Auto China Show 2012 to rapturous applause from the assembled – mainly Chinese – media. The exciting new concept was penned by Chief Designer Stephen Harper from a brief laid out by Global Design Director for SAIC Design, Tony Williams-Kenny, and is a toe-in-the-water exercise into the possibility of MG building a new mini-SUV to take on the likes of the Nissan Juke and MINI Countryman.
Based on the MG3 platform, the new car was designed to evoke as many design cues from previous – classic – MGs as possible, but without reverting to retro design philosophy. It’s a compact design, measuring 4.00 metres in length, boasting a four-door layout with ‘suicide’ rears (like the Mazda RX8). There’s been much speculation about whether this car would go into production, but the official line is that it’s down to the media reaction primarily in China. SAIC Motor is a conservative company and won’t make a leap into new markets without being assured that the demand will be there.
‘The target of the car was to try to bring the strength and essence of the MG brand to a modern audience,’ said Tony Williams-Kenny. ‘So we’ve gone for a sports SUV feel to give this modern feel, in order to take the brand in a new direction, but also to show that MG can handle more modern products – as well as keeping the heritage and history intact. But we’re testing the reaction for the product – my feeling is that, for a car of this sector, it’s styled in a way that gives the customer something different.’
We’ll see how the press reacts to the MG Icon, but a straw poll of a few pundits suggests that it is indeed something different, but maybe there’s a little bit more work to do in places. More reaction and a Q&A with its creator, Stephen Harper, to follow.