News : MG3 will be assembled in the UK

Keith Adams

MG3 has all the hallmarks of a UK hit...
The MG3 as going to be UK-assembled when it goes on sale here in 2013…

The UK-designed and engineered MG3 will be assembled at Longbridge in an arrangement that mirrors production of its bigger brother, the MG6. A source close to the factory has confirmed to AROnline that the supermini, which has been on sale in China and in left-hand drive markets around the world since 2011, will tick the ‘British’ box as it’s a matter of prestige for its owner SAIC Motor back in its home market of China.

The same sources confirmed that assembly facilities are currently being prepared within the Longbridge factory for the new car. With final assembly of the ‘3 taking place in the UK, it will mean that SAIC Motor will be able to push the car in Britain as a home-built product and, more importantly, be able to sell it in China as a ‘British-made’ car in its advertising and PR.

The MG3, which is currently offered globally with a single 1.5-litre NSE petrol engine in 87 and 107bhp guise, is now undergoing final testing and development for a UK and (a later) European launch in 2013. The final specifications are yet to be confirmed, as is the pricing. However, as there are no low-powered, entry-level or diesel models, don’t expect super-cheap, loss-leaders at the bottom of the range.

However, as the MG6 has quietly been becoming more of a value proposition in recent months thanks to generous trade-in deals and other offers designed to help sell these slow-moving cars, we’re hoping that lessons have been learned and the new supermini is priced keenly – with at least one sub-£10,000 entry-level model to get the customers into MG’s quiet showrooms.

Expect to hear more in the run-up to the launch in the spring of 2013…

Keith Adams


  1. What’s going on down the flanks?

    Still… lets hope they can do something with this car along with the diesel 6.

    Thank god the dealers are going to have some product line to push hard.

  2. No matter how you cut it, these will need to be price positioned alongside Dacia, Chevrolet etc (and depressingly, below Skoda, Kia, Hyundai et al.)

  3. I’m slightly warming to it- compared to my initial reaction. Still, like most of its small Skoda rivals, this is no beauty, so in order to overcome its styling deficiencies and lack of engine choice it is going to have to be very good value indeed.

    Not to mention it needs to be in the public’s consciousness, unlike the 6 currently, which I’ve still yet to see in the metal.

  4. I find it quite pleasing to look at. In particular, I like its face, carrying on the theme set by the 6.

    At comment 2 – if priced below Skoda, Kia, Hyundai this could make the 3 a very appealing proposition – A still admired brand name but at budget, ‘what is it again, never heard of them’ money.

  5. Interesting to see that the 3 is already on sale accross much of the world. Here in the UK, they (SAIC, MG) barely seem present. Much more evident in world terms. All part of the long term plan? Become more established before tackling Europe?

  6. Just returned from the Classic Car Show at NEC. MG had a BTCC Special Edition on the stand and as we left we were overtaken by a Production car in full BTCC livery. As these are the first cars I have seen I must say they did have prescence on the road. I can thus only re iterate everyones comments that if these vehicles were marketed properly they would definitely make sense.

  7. Conformation that the MG3 is likely to undergo ‘completion’ assembly at Longbridge can’t come soon enough. Supermini-sized hatchbacks bearing the MG name proved to be a bigger seller than either mid-size or upper medium offerings in the 1980s and also with the more recent Z range.

    With the right marketing and promotion it could kickstart sales of the MG brand once again and also for the slow selling MG6. Between now and the suggested Spring 2013 announcement, MG Motor UK Limited needs to deliver a firm “shape up or ship out” ultimatum to its most senior Sales and Marketing personnel. At the same time it also needs to engage the services of a professional marketing agency, to advise them where they have been going wrong for the last eighteen months or so.

  8. Mildly and pleasantly surprised that MG3 will be finished off here. Lets hope this will get things moving

    As we have all said a zillion times, price and marketing is key

    Saw an MG6 today too btw

  9. Mg must build a mg 3 turbo with about 170 to 200 hp and under cut the strong selling clio sport and corsa vxr,the would sell orlike hot cakes imho.

  10. I’m glad to see that SAIC are being honest and that the only reason the car is being built over here is as a badge of honour and for use as a marketing tool in the Chinese market.

    In other words they couldn’t care less if they sell or not over here

  11. The MG3 will already be a relatively old design by 2013. This car needs to be very keenly priced otherwise, like the MG6, it will not sell in any numbers.

    Please MG Motors do not make the same mistake MG Rover made with the CityRover and price it out of the market.

  12. I like this car,take the Polo for example,its hardly the most striking car out there but sells well,if this car can match the tactile quality of the polo it would deserve to sell in quantity and i hope it does.

  13. I think MG have to do one of two things with the 3 to be successful here. 1) Sell them very cheap- Dacia/Chevy cheap- AND by doing so accept that the brand will be tainted forever as cars for people who sound (and look) like John Major; or 2) offer FROM LAUNCH some *GENUINE* MG ‘pep’ to give potential customers a left-of-field rival for a Renaultsport Twingo. Here’s my five step plan.

    Step 1- Offer something simple like three levels of tune from the same basic engine (Like Seat’s Ibiza FR range: 105-150bhp) Even if different capacities from the same block were impossible, remaps could be done on the UK line with ease.

    Step 2- offer the option of buying handling packs like the Renault ‘Cup’. Whilst it needs to noticeably improve roadholding, braking or ideally, both; it can be easily fitted by the chaps on the UK assembly line.

    Step 3- Don’t even think about using the BTCC branding because all motorsport refs are about as cool as the Ferrari-branded, cagoule-wearing, middle aged men who turn out to watch them.

    Step 4- Charge 12-14k, but of course you can because you’re offering a bigger car than a Twingo with a better interior (I do of course assume MG will actually finish the interior before selling you the car, which is more than can be said for the Renault Twingo).

    Step 5- accept that with the best will in the world, a new MG supermini is bound to be a niche product. Even if it was an Audi A1 rival, it still would be. Therefore, you can rest secure in the belief that by offering a performance-focused range that 1) your ‘niche product’ supports the core values of your brand and 2) the small number of purchasers will have bought their MG3 not because they couldn’t care less and just happened to get a good trade in from a desperate dealer, but because they actually WANTED ONE. And 3) they will spread the word.

    Oh, and Step 6- pay however much is costs nowadays to get Jeremy Clarkson to drive a MG3 off a Belfast ferry terminal with Ross Kemp in the boot…

    Alas, I don’t know enough about vehicle engineering to know whether it would be possible to make the MG3 a genuine rival on a B-road to a Renaultsport Twingo, but I do know that going head-to head with the ‘Sainsbury’s-own-brand, 1.2 litre (68PS) Skoda Fabia simply ain’t an option for this car or for MG as a marque!

    phew- long post- sorry!

  14. Doing final assembly here does not make financial sense. The car is 90% made in China, then has to be shipped in a container, then railfreighted to Longbridge from Felixstowe docks, then a few bits bolted on here, why pay for the last bit? It just bumps up the list price of the car. Make it all in China, and sell it at a knock down price & Bob’s yer uncle!

  15. To attract younger drivers MG need to offer free insurance and good finance packages, these should sell very well but need to be marketed by people who trained in marketing rather than a bunch of people who don’t have a clue.

  16. Let’s be honest, it’s bloody dull. MG used to be a sporting brand – shame that those days have gone. They’re bread rolls in a box marked ‘doughnut’.

  17. @18, Marinast,

    That would work- after all, few people in the late nineties, early noughties bought Citroen Saxos and Xsaras because they were dazzlingly attractive cars with talented chassis- they bought them because they were well marketed with free insurance, good credit packages, etc.

    OK, that isn’t going to do wonders to elevate the brand, but then MG Motors as a brand is already tainted, so it needs to move metal before it can look to raising its status.

  18. Re the lack of engine choices- whilst the engine may or may not respond to being bored and stroked (which seems oxymoronic- I never get bored of being stroked), it ought to be possible surely to sleeve it down to make a smaller capacity engine. Or is that not really possible with today’s engine technology for metallurgical or refinement reasons? I’m no engineer.

  19. Thise MG3s look quite smart I like the look of them…..Shame they cant make the MG6 look right. it not often “the small car” looks better than “the big car”. alex

  20. Personally i like the looks and pleased it will be final assembled in the UK. However it does need a sub 100gm/co2 version, auto box option, diesel and a great advertising campaign. So on the basis that it is unlikely to offer any of those anytime soon (remember when the MG6 diesel was supposedly going to be launched?!) it will struggle and soon look dated. My only hope is as with Kia/Hyundai they quickly learn and the next generation cars make the leap forward required with design, quality and tech. A 1.5 engine in a car this size is now a large engine and will be perceived as a gas guzzler compared with the new 1.0 Ford engine which is allegedly almost diesel like with its economy…..

  21. Good news about the Longbridge assembly involvement. I’ve always suspected that the MG3 would be imported as a complete car, so it’s good to know there’ll be some assembly carried out in the UK, even if it’s only a tiny percentage of what goes into producing the car – as with the MG6. More than happy to be proved wrong on that one. And if it keeps folk in work at Longbridge, that’s excellent.

    Sadly, I can’t see a launch date of spring 2013 being realistic, though. The MG6 diesel was originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012, but now won’t be on sale until March 2013 (despite the motoring press revealing their driving impressions later this week). That means it’s up to six months later than originally suggested.

    I’d pencil in a realistic UK launch of autumn 2013 for the MG3 just to be on the safe side. And that’s a shame, because MG desperately needs this car as soon as possible.

  22. @20

    The ZX / Xsara chassis was surprisingly capable, certainly in the ZX it had passive rear wheel steering and had surprisingly good roadholding for a comfortable little hatchback. My ex-boss drives some M version of a Z4 still waxes lyrical about his Volcane.
    Similarly, the Saxo was effectively a 106, the GTi version of which was renowned as a go kart successor to the 205 GTi.
    Citroen’s version was the VTR/VTS and the lookalike Furio which had a 1.4 to keep insurance costs down.

  23. So its not available in Europe until 2013 but its available in most LHD markets around the world…….Is that their way of saying it is only available in China?

    Have they captured the North American market, South America, Canada, Russia? I’d like to know where in the world are they being sold…..apart from China?

  24. Hopefully they will sell more of the “3” in the UK than the “6” has so far. A 107bhp engine in that size of body should run well enough to compete against Fiesta’s, Corsa’s et al.

  25. Is the new 1 litre Ford engine that economic. Reviews I’ve seen indicate it ges nowhere near the fuel economy figures Ford have bandied around. Is a 200bhp model that necessary, do Vauxhall sell many Corsa VXRs? I imagine that there are loads of spotty 17 year olds that would love to wrap one round a tree but the insurance quotes for its target market will be obscene. I don’t think the lack of a diesel will be a killer (no diesel Jazz or Micra) but they need to price this thing right otherwise the depreciation will make it a non starter.

  26. I suspect this is more of a Polo/Fiesta competitor and they have diesels along with Corsa/Clio/Punto…….. it is also one way of getting a sub 100 or even sub 90gm version. I agree about the high performance variants not being priority though, although a ‘warm’ version which is insurance friendly would help. The issue with the Ford engine is perception of economy, and at the moment Ford are selling far more of the 1.0 units than forecast, or at least until the real world economy filters out into the wider world.

  27. worryingly i’ve seen more ‘great walls’ than m g 6s in the reading/slough area, and they only sell pick ups as far as i know !!

  28. the problems of this car is the design especially in the back such as the back pillar: too cheap for a sport brand; also it needs a diesel engine, like the rivals…the success of this car will be for the price and not the quality

  29. You dont need a diesel in this car unless you are doing the miles,if you are poncing around town in a small car its the last thing you need.Maybe the engine in this car is a belts and braces unit with no bullshit to go wrong with it,if its reliable without silly sensor failures and signal anomolies thats all you need.

  30. Lets hope it doesnt “mirror” the arrangement with the MG6! – (although by the sound of it, it probably will) – never mind, it should just about double production at Longbridge!

  31. The looks, as others have said, are pretty formulaic and it looks no worse than some of its competitors. If the quality is there, and (we hope) the marketing, then this might be a surprise success. It fits in to the market better than the 6, so there is much to be hopeful and optimistic about

  32. Hard to get excited about a bland looking Chinese hatch which has an MG badge stuck on it at Longbridge, may as well buy a Kia instead…….what happened to the MG sports car heritage?

  33. Agree with the Saxo simile but really need two brands to separate from mainstream superminis like the MG ZR/Rover 25.

    Would like to see more of an attempt at local/European content, eg wheels, tyres, batteries.

    What is the engine’s heritage – Fiat, GM?

  34. Mg are working with GM to produce a new range of small turbo engines that will eventually find there way into this car wouldn’t it have been better to wait until then to launch it.

  35. @35, francis brett,

    I agree with you in principle re the 3 not needing a diesel, but whilst customers are willing to pay a handsome premium for one (regardless as to whether that is cost effective- especially considering DMF/DPF, etc issues), it is a mistake not to offer customers what they think they want.

  36. Everything about MG in the UK summed up in this sentence then:

    “will tick the ‘British’ box as it’s a matter of prestige for its owner SAIC Motor back in its home market of China”

    Not a market they are interested in competing in then, just one that adds something to what was a great name in its day – RIP MG.

  37. francis brett and chris baglin: if you have your car for ten years the diesel is less expensive than petrol because it runs more kilometers

  38. no need for a diesel methinks.. They’re usually a bit pointless in this class of car anyway when you take into account all the running costs. What would be better would be a supercapacitor under the rear seat linked to an electrically assisted transmission, kind of like an intelligent KERS system.

  39. @45, davis13,

    I think the break even is nearer 12 years, and about 12000 miles per annum- which the vast majority of these cars are unlikely to do. Although in fairness, almost any modern supermini can cover pretty long distances on motorways these days- especially with a diesel. I’ve done Gloucester-Darlington in a non-turbo N reg Fiesta Classic diesel with no great stress. But very few supermini drivers will buy one new and do 12000 pa and keep the car for a decade and more.

    And you aren’t factoring in the fact that the latest diesel technology, which is pretty much mandated by emissions regulations has rendered modern diesels much less reliable than the bulletproof diesels of yore.

    As I said above, they should still be offering one, because people think that is what they need, and MG needs to sell cars and make themselves visible.

  40. Thought I saw one of these today! Turned out to be a Hyundai i20, which made me wonder why they don’t just rebadge a Hyundai and save the effort of having their own car that looks almost identical? Bland eastern hatchbacks, hardly inspiring stuff!!

  41. It really is one of the ugliest cars in production today though, fortunately, it’s not in the same league as the MINI Countryman.

  42. Word on the street is that the UK car is getting a subtle facelift, which transforms the way the car looks. I’m guessing a reprofiled front end, body side mouldings, and suitably enlarged wheels.

    We’ll see in the New Year.

  43. It’s the overall proportions, small and angular side windows, small wheelarches and flat sides that are the problem; it’s very reminiscent of the Volkswagen Type 82 that the German army used in WW2!

  44. @50- It must be good news that SAIC are willing to spend some money anglicizing the car.

    That said, I still think the ‘3’ is fundamentally the wrong car for now. MG will remain a niche product for the life of the current generation of cars. They know they’re not going to sell many, so why on earth not make the damn thing interesting!?

    That said, look at the dross that Mazda sold in the UK before the MX5 came along. Here’s hoping…

  45. Crikey these people make it hard to like what they are producing; a car company, out of the picture for over 5 years brings a mediocre car to market and expects everyone to stand up, take notice and buy it and now this… dear oh dear. This car looks about 10 years too late.

    Give me a ZT / Rover 75 or a ZR / Rover 25 every day of the week… and they look as modern.. give them another face lift and they would make these new offerings even older in comparison.

    So glad that Kenny bloke has trotted along.. he was useless.

  46. This car needs a spritely economical diesel badly if it is to compete with the growing lineup of supermini models that sport diesel engines;a petrol only mg3 model line up just will not do in this day and age.

  47. It looks a lot like a VW Polo to me. That is seen as a classic, ageless design by many Brits and yet the MG3 is refferred to as boring,bland and ugly?!

    I think it looks sturdy and well built from the pictures, and, as the current trend seems to be edging towards higher waistlines, it looks quite funky and fashionable.

    I think people remember the Zed range and expect SAIC MG to carry on making overtly sporting cars.
    This isnt going to happen, it wouldnt work anymore.

    The best we can look forward to is a range of hatchbacks and saloons with sporting undertones. MG have produced these throughout their history so just enjoy the new ones.
    In a few years the new two seater sports car that everyone wants will be along. Hopefully.

  48. For the record –

    I wish they would make another Zed range and I hope to God that they release the MG3 with a 1.5l Turbo engine. (and bigger wheels).

  49. Really? I have seen a few around west yorkshire. Pointed one out the other day to my wife, a ’15’ plate in metallic grey in Wakefield. With the recent tweaks to the spec for 2016MY it is on our medium list for the new car buy next year.

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