News : UK-specification MG3 spotted in Birmingham

Keith Adams

MG3 (1)

The UK-specification MG3, which has yet to break cover, has been spotted wearing its camouflage by Austin Memories creator, John Baker. It appears to be heading back to the Longbridge factory following a bout of on-road testing.

It takes a keen spotter to notice the new body-side moulding (below), tailgate spoiler, and larger wheels which does at least prove that the UK model will have some unique features that are yet to see the light of day in RoW MG3s. MG Motor UK’s Marketing Director, Guy Jones told AROnline last autumn that the name of the game will be ‘configurability’ and that it will be available in a myriad of colour (two-tone) and trim options, appealing to  fashion-conscious buyers who might currently consider buying a Citroen DS3 or Vauxhall Adam.

He also said that the styling differences between the UK-specification and RoW models will be ‘considerable’ and will incorporate features that potential owners asked for following recent customer clinics. The points where the MG3 has scored well with buyers in overseas markets has been its roomy cabin and perky performance. It will be launched in 1.5-litre petrol form, although it’s not confirmed whether it will be in 85bhp as well as 105bhp form.

There’s no official word on when the MG3 goes on sale in the UK, but we hear that the Longbridge-assembled car should be slow-released during the first half of 2013, with the order book opening in July for an August on-sale date. No word on prices yet, but don’t expect any Dacia-style bargains…

MG3 (2)

Keith Adams


  1. Like the wheels,wonder if all the small changes will help the overall shape/look of the car.

  2. Love the term “slow released” – just like the MG6? Nice wheels but the low body side moulding doesn’t appeal to me.

  3. Yes sadly no Dacia bargain prices I fear, but if MG can offer a nice leather interior, tasteful colours ( that blue looks nice) as well as a sorted chassis it will certainly offer the UK car buyer an interesting alternative.
    If the truth be known the MG6 has been a disaster, from the shabby launch to unrealistic finance deals to complete lack of promotion, little wonder it has sold fewer examples in a similar time period than the old 3 Litre which was considered as the firms worst sales flop.
    I can see several issues with the MG3, high Co2 engines, lethargic performance and a rumour that it’s a cheap and cheerful product in other markets. People will ultimately compare it to the Sandero for quality, Fiesta and Polo for value of money, but if it comes with a good level of kit, is well made from good materials and that new engine proves reliable, then MG rebirth would really be with this, not the MG6.

  4. I think the MG3 looks better than the 6 and might sell well. interesting to read that the UK spec cars might differ from the Row ones what ever that(ROW) is. But here in NZ we get the China built cars, so I wonder if we will get a China built car to UK spec, or the China built car to China Spec. Alex

  5. Needs a 3 pot at launch with low CO or it’s another MG that is doomed to failure unfortunately, but as always, The Chinese know best (laughs)

  6. I saw one at an M5 services about three weeks ago, parked well away from other cars.
    I think it was red, so testing must be well in hand.

  7. For all the delays and frustration, I still think it will be the 3 that relaunches MG for real. If they really do offer a range of configurations and styling options, this should do well. It looks like a very solid little thing. I just really want to see what the front end will look like! I’m still hopefull they have seen sense and will launch it with more Zero concept styling. With August only 5 months away, they really need to start getting this into the public consciousness.

  8. They will have to price it competitively, but judging by 6 prices which are way too expensive, especially compared to the identical sized Rapid, they won’t. If the 3 bombs, it’s curtains for the company here, plain & simple

  9. It looks great! The wheels are an improvement on the Chinese spec ones and the side mouldings needed to be done.

    It has already been suggested in pre-release drives that it has a very capable chassis and perky performance!

    I look forward to test driving one.

  10. Fight back starts here, this will be as big as the Metro launch, look out MINI you’ve got competition!

  11. Ianto, this is competition for the Hyundai Fridge, and Kia Microwave, not the Bini. Delusions of grandeur there mate

  12. “but don’t expect any Dacia-style bargains…”

    As Duncan Bannatyne would say ‘I’m OOT’.

  13. Encouraging to see the 3 if only because it shows continued, increasing activity at Longbridge. From pictures I have seen so far I quite like the look of it.

    Incidentally, I spotted another 6 at the weekend. My sightings can’t be far off double figures now!!

  14. Still can’t make my mind up about this. From the side it looks too much like a Kia Picanto, and from the front it looks like some little Hyundai thing… It doesn’t look ‘different’ enough to be special.

    I just hope MG have learned their lessons from the MG6 and actually market this one!

  15. Do a large slice of the European car buying public actually want an MG today? What does MG stand for? I’m not sure the brand has much residual value. Engineering design & test in the UK should deliver a fundamentally OK base product however value is created (and profitability delivered) through desirability of the Brand. I’m not sure the image of MG delivers much more than memories of failed UK government bail-outs, fading chavved up Z-Models, flaky MG Montego’s and Bakelite British Leyland MGBs.. No.1 Comes Trust, based on Brand, Quality, Safety and Residual Value. Sadly, I believe SAIC may well be flogging a dead horse with the MG brand, in Europe at least.

  16. still think its the most ugly thing i have ever seen on the road! a car like that has no mg dna in its design at all. no european design influence at all. although i will admit the side looks improved and the wheels are alot better

  17. “Introducing the MG3, and thats how many we’ll sell…”

    “Never in the field of automobile manufacture, have so many been built for so few…”

    “You have tarried too long for any good that you have been doing, depart I say and let us have done with you. in the name of God go…”

    Should I go on?

    This lot are so behind the curve that the horse hasn’t just bolted but the stable has been featured on Timeteam.

  18. I’ll reserve my judgement- however, if the 6 is anything to go by, I’ll probably never see a 5 on the road anyway.

  19. Oh I love a good, intelligent and reasoned discussion on the new MGs!

    Unfortunately I think Im in the wrong place to get one.

    Thanks for the pictures though.

  20. @23. If thats the most ugly thing you have seen on the road you can’t have seen any Ssangyongs or the Nissan Juke. I don’t understand some of the inane rantings on both sides of the fence on here on this one.

  21. I quite like that chequered flag colour scheme, if it was an official option.

    Unfortunately all car makers seem to do is ape the Mini/MINI, with a differently coloured roof and optional bonnet stripes.

  22. Re #4 “Why is it on a transporter after “on-road testing” – has it packed up already?”
    That’s for authenticity – it’s disguised as a Peugeot 🙂

  23. ” Do a large slice of the European car buying public actually want an MG today? What does MG stand for? I’m not sure the brand has much residual value. ”

    Look what the likes of Kia, Hyundai have achieved starting as new brands not that long back. Surely, therefore, SAIC are better placed with the existing brand of MG, even if it is now a long way from the traditional ‘MGB’ image. The brand of MG still means something to so many. At least people know there is history, experience behind it. Also, to a lot of younger buyers MG does not mean ‘B’ but ‘Maestro’ or ‘Zed’. The new breed of 3, 5 and 6 are not so far removed from this

  24. interesting viewpoint David

    MG doesn’t have a credible image at the time after years of slack half cocked publicity.

    SAIC are indeed better placed, but as far as the UK is concerned, SAIC needs not to be better placed but more in control.

  25. @31

    Perfectly well put.

    Everyone I know, under the age of 45 thinks of MG as the ‘zed’ range or of the MG classics as being the Montego/Metro/Maestro.

    I personally see the 3,5 and 6 as replacements for these under the new owners.

  26. Used 2012 MG 6’s start at £7995 on AutoTrader now. That’s a £10k loss in 1 Year… true reflection of the desirability of the Brand/Product in the UK as it stands now. To establish a refreshed desirable image in Western Europe will take HUGE effort and resource for product, service and marketing. Emerging markets are easier, and SAIC have some chance there, with MG UK tech centre employing many good engineers to support that push. If they keep string efforts in Europe they might realistically expect to gain some volume foothold and brand credibility in 10-15 Yrs.

  27. I too have seen these out and about in Birmingham, in the football traffic after a Villa game, and on the M42 a couple of weeks ago. Looks ago. Engine choice odd for europe can’t see it selling it vast numbers at all. Will be finished off here as per the MG6 or come in complete?

  28. ‘There’s no official word on when the MG3 goes on sale in the UK, but we hear that the Longbridge-assembled car should be slow-released during the first half of 2013…’

    It will be finished at LB 🙂

  29. We are now on the 6th March, the first half of 2013 finishes in less than 3 months. Surely the MG3 should be getting reviewed in the press and be available for pre-order on the MG site right now (a la Dacia style) ??

    Why can’t you pre-order an MG o the website, don’t they know this would appeal to some? and might give them an inidcation of popularity before launch?

  30. It is such a shame, this site used to be a good place to come for reasoned chat about all things MGR, now i find that it is becoming a joke, and it is even mentioned on other forums when taking the piss out of MG, they say well if you want negativity then come here.

    Keith I am sorry to say that this has been allowed to happen under your stewardship, and it is not good.

  31. Stewardship? Er, it’s my site…

    Sorry that you feel this way, JagBoy – personally speaking I think you’re a valued contributor, and will miss you once you leave. But MG Rover died in 2005, and there’s only so much goodwill that can extend to the humiliation that’s being effected in Longbridge right now. Do you actually think I like that nine MGs were sold in February? Of course I don’t. It makes me very, very sad.

    But more relevantly, do you think there is ANY positive in that statistic: Nine sales across 40 dealers, with dozens and dozens of unsold used MG6s now being dumped in the used car trade via eBay and god knows where else? If you can spin that positively, and tell me why I am wrong, then I look forward to it. It’s one time I’d be happy to admit I am wrong.

    But instead of whingeing about the direction of the site (which has not changed – only that more readers are having their say), you should join in and say why the people moaning about MG Motor UK (not MG Rover, that’s a VERY different company) are wrong, and put them right.

    I’m also slightly miffed that you’d choose to make this comment on this thread, when I believe I posted a reasonably positive story about the UK-spec MG3, and its British design/input and assembly. People see what they want to see, and I fear you’re reading the wrong things into this site’s (well, my) opinion on MG Motor UK.

    It may also have been noticed also that I have stopped reporting on MG Motor UK’s ‘news’ stories, and will continue to do so until the company does something positive, rather than doing a good impression of an organisation that wants to strangle itself at birth.

    One final thought: SAIC and SMTC, who shares the Longbridge site, are doing brilliant things, and continue to design world-class cars. Why can’t MG Motor UK actually sell them?

  32. ” Nine sales across 40 dealers ”

    This is almost impossible to understand! Just why are no efforts being made to sell the car? This level of sales does not even justify only one showroom at the factory gate!
    Even if, as part of a grand plan, the UK market is not yet due for its big sales effort why not at least try for healthier 6 sales across the limited 40 dealers. Why are MG UK seemingly content with such dire sales? For goodness sake the 6 is a nice car. At least try for a decent level of ‘exclusive’ sales. The whole situation is beyond belief, understanding. Like you say, Keith, there are no positives beyond the OK product.

  33. The management of the MG brand is laughable. The Facebook updates are usually complete drivel and parking stickered up cars outside of supermarkets just looks desperate.

    Where are the classy teaser shots of upcoming cars , clearly defined brand values and the aspirational marketing?

    I’m sure the 6 is a perfectly well engineered car but it’s still lacking in those little touches. The interior is terribly bland and fails to feel special in any sort of way. Some coloured leather options , chrome detailing and embossed headrests could get the pulse going again.

  34. IMHO the whole strategy and branding of the MGs has been wrong from the start. The success of Hyundai and Kia has shown that customers are happy to buy products from companies with funny names, if the product is competitive and cheap. Dacia have been a massive success across Europe.

    Maybe SAIC should have launched a new global brand – “Shanghai motors” or whatever, import all the cars from China – surely it must be cheaper that way, utilising the giant production plants SAIC have out there, rather than the bizarre Longbridge so-called assembly plant, have a big promotion, as Dacia have done, and sell on VFM, as the MG6 and MG3 aren’t sporty cars, which the badge suggests they might be.

    What I WOULD keep is the UK design and engineering centre, as this would an asset to emphasise in promotion, as people are suspicious about the safety of Chinese cars at the moment, and promoting the UK design centre would help sales across Europe.

  35. Where do I start….there is nothing interesting or exiting about this car or the MG6. No one is going to be sat at home with a brochure dreaming about buying one. Photos of these cars will never be pinned to a schoolboy’s bedroom wall. No one is going to look and admire as one drives past.

    SAIC do not understand the MG brand like MGR did, if they did we would be able to buy a TF replacement, a small sports coupe and the ZT (which despite being based on a 15 year old design, looks a billion times nicer than what they are building now).

  36. MG will come good, the MG6 is a good car but it is only the warm up act. The fact that SAIC invested in a diesel demonstrates their intent to develop products for the UK. In another five years time, MG will be massive.

  37. Ianto in another 12 months MG will be gone from the UK marketplace the way they are performing. I sense that with sales figures like last month’s, dealers will be going bust at a rate of knotts. It’s yet another bland car, with the wrong choice of engines. If it isn’t launched with a 1.0 3 pot in the zero road tax band, it’s dead in the water, plain and simple

  38. @45 , Ianto,

    Your avatar looks horribly like a grinning Blair, so you can be forgiven for your misguided impression that SAIC will do well in the UK.

    Given their progress so far, and their lack of willingness to actually attempt to sell their wares, I beg to differ.

  39. Considering how few MG6s have been sold, there are shedloads (well, about 100) on Autotrader (early Mar 13). Suspiciously, most have 12,000 – 15,000 miles on the clock which means they are almost certainly ex-hire cars.

    As for the MG3:

    “… this is competition for the Hyundai Fridge, and Kia Microwave, not the Bini. Delusions of grandeur there mate”

    Sums it up completely. This has as much MG DNA as a toaster. I really don’t think that this has a hope in hell in the overcrowded small hatch market segment.

    I would also comment that most people currently associate MGs with arthritic MGBs driven by arthritic old blokes smoking pipes, wearing tweed jackets with patches on the elbows and drinking warm “old speckled bishop” ale. It might have made sense if they had produced a competitor to the MX5. I previously ownd a Midget and an MX5 and know which I prefer (not the MG in case you can’t guess). The Midget cost about £1,000 in spares and repairs whereas the MX5 cost absolutely nothing for repairs other than a couple of springs in 8 years.

    I also have no love for “made in China” stuff from experience and will stick to my current German estate car thank you.

  40. Cars that are very “configurable” must be a real logistical challenge for a volume manufacturer. Shouldnt cause MG too many problems though. Just a normal colour pallet will be enough to ensure no two cars a month look the same.

  41. I don’t think those chequered mouldings (Opel Manta style) are permanent (probably temporary cladding) but they may be hiding a subtle change underneath.

  42. I like em, they look much better in the flesh to be fair. I would take one of these over a Mini anyday.

  43. I suspect that some of the people that have posted on this havent even looked at the pic at the top of the page before launching into a rant about how MG are Chinese rubbish and not worthy of the badge etc etc.

    If you actually look at the title picture, its a nice looking car with some nice sporting touches, lovely looking wheels and a real ‘not the generic mainstream’ feel about it.

    It gives off the same vibe as the zed range did a few years back but in slightly more grown up/toned down manner.

    I cant wait to see the proper publicity shots.

  44. Engines too big. 1.3 and 1.5? What, is this 1993? As stated before by others: its needs a low CO2 3 pot. Maybe thats in the pipeline? Needs to be there at launch I think. Scrap the 1.5 and put a turbo on the 1.3 for the performance models. Is that too simple?

  45. I currently own An MGF & a Rover 25. 3 and 4 years resiectively. Between us we’ve managed to 29,000 miles in the F and the Rover 19,000 miles and have no intention of swapping either. It is a sad state of affairs that the MG6 has very little promotion to sell it. It’s a tidy looking motor in saloon form and I think the diesel ( although a little late ) is a worth while addition to the range. I hope the MG3 does well, it’s a neat looking little car and should appeal to a new generation of drivers, just like the ZR did, baring in mind it was already using older under pinnings. The key to the brands success is aggressive marketing in every kind of format, the Facebook page is poor and people will just ignore it, I’m sure we all don’t want to see 60 year old ‘Brian Jenkins from Dudley’ picking up the keys for his new car, we need the advertising, we need the marketing and we need the publicity
    to sell these cars, if MGR could do it for the best part of 4 years then why can’t MG Motor do it? The marketing team need to get their finger pulled out and get the brand out there and quash this brand bashing before its too late and we loose MG for good.

  46. @56 MGR could do it for 4 years by operating at a loss as they burned through the £1bn left to them by BMW. SAIC dont have that luxury.

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