News : BTCC MGs – views from the Craner Curves

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Words: Clive Goldthorp Photographs: Simon Davies/Pegasus Photographics

Last weekend’s BTCC Meeting at Donington Park provided AROnline with the opportunity to undertake some initial research into the impact which the launch of MG KX Momentum Racing has had on the British public’s awareness of the MG marque.

AROnline interviewed a total of nine spectators – most of whom had already purchased at least one item of MG KX Momentum Racing clothing – and, whilst we were not conducting a formal exercise in Market Research, their answers to our questions are still of some interest.

The Questions

The five questions which we put to our interviewees were as follows:-

  1. Are you a Jason Plato fan or an MG enthusiast?
  2. Were you aware that the MG brand was back before the announcement of the BTCC Programme with MG KX Momentum Racing?
  3. Have you driven an MG6 yet?
  4. Have you seen the production MG6s on display here today?
  5. Would Jason Plato’s involvement influence you to either take a Test Drive in an MG6 and/or purchase one if you were in the market for a car of that price and size?

The Answers

All nine of the people AROnline interviewed indicated that they were fans of Jason Plato. However, Derek and Tracy Smith from Shepperton, Middlesex added that they were also MG enthusiasts – they had owned both a Rover 75 and an MG ZT in the past and Derek was currently thinking about buying an MG TF for use as a Track Day car.

Jason Plato fan and BTCC Barmy Army member, Phil Cartwright from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, and the rest of his group were located in a prominent position on the outside of the Craner Curves and had been provided with a number of red MG flags by MG Motor UK Limited – Phil pointed to the flags and said ‘where are the MG enthusiasts?’

Five of the spectators questioned were already aware that MGs were back in the showrooms before the announcement of the BTCC Programme while the remaining four had not been – that does suggest that MG KX Momentum Racing’s success in the BTCC to date has helped to raise the brand’s profile but one might expect Motor Racing fans to be more informed about that than the rest of the British public.

None of AROnline’s nine interviewees had driven an MG6 on the road. Phil Cartwright was not looking for a new car at the moment and would not be doing so while Derek Smith was the only person questioned to have registered for a Test Drive with MG Motor UK Limited on the day.

However, five of those questioned had visited the MG Motor UK stand at the track (pictured above) and taken a look at the MG6s on display. Alex Murdoch, a Derby-based Scot, said that he was ‘quite impressed’ by the car while David Lynham from Ilchester, Somerset and his daughter, Emma, thought that the MG6 was ‘very smart’ and were ‘definitely impressed.’ Derek Smith had also seen the car and remarked: ‘It’s a shame that the MG6 only has a 1.8-litre engine – I would be really interested in a V6-engined version.’ Two of the remaining interviewees, father and son Chris and Ben Knights from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, intended to visit the MG Motor UK stand during the lunch break.

Interestingly, all bar one of those interviewed said that Jason Plato’s involvement with MG Motor UK and MG KX Momentum Racing would not influence their decision to take a Test Drive or purchase an MG6 if they were in the market for a car of that price and size.

David Lynham said the fact that Jason Plato was driving an MG6 in the BTCC would be a factor in his decision to have a Test Drive while Derek Smith reckoned that Plato’s involvement would not influence him as he was genuinely in MG’s forthcoming new products. Keith Hollinworth, a BTCC Barmy Army member from Manchester did, though, believe that ‘Jason Plato will do a lot for MG.’

MG Motor UK must surely be expecting the BTCC Programme to generate a significant increase in showroom traffic, Test Drives and, most importantly, sales. AROnline currently intends to conduct further informal research at several BTCC Meetings later this season – hopefully, some of those interviewed will have, at least, driven an MG6 by then…

Clive Goldthorp

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

9 Comments

  1. Only 9 interviewed? Not many people there then? Not enough to get a meaningful quantity of people answering the questions

  2. Sorry to appear pedantic, but surely being the owner of a Rover 75 does not necessaarily make you an MG enthusiast, as both marques are completely different?

    I drive an MGZR but am not a fan of the MG marque in general. Instead I am an enthusiast of the Rover marque whose models have a Viking Longship badge on their bonnet/radiator grille, and I plan to buy a Rover 75 in the future to fuel this enthusiasm.

    Again, the sample of nine is not sufficient enough to make generalisations about a wider population using either quantitative or qualitative analyses. Sorry.

  3. @Alex Mathias and David 3500

    Please, with respect, re-read the second paragraph of the article – my intention was merely to put the time between the three BTCC races to some productive use and conduct a straw pole not a scientific Market Research exercise!

    @David 3500

    Actually, as made clear in the article, the interviewee concerned had also owned an MG ZT in the past, was contemplating the purchase of an MG TF for Track Day use and described himself as an enthusiast of the brand – he was also the only person questioned to have registered for a Test Drive in an MG6 on the day.

  4. Jason Plato and his performances are definitely going to do a lot to put the MG name in the picture.

    Unfortunately – you are right that there are several people who do not recognise MG as a brand anymore – due to their long absence.

    Fortunately, and thank god for that, there are several who do – and, thanks to support from them and some time, MG should make a steady return to the WATCH list of many!

  5. @4
    Different company making different cars in a different country with a 75p MG badge stuck to the front – do you really wonder why they aren’t recognised?

  6. In all seriousness, has there been any measurable improvement in MG’s UK sales since the BTCC campaign started?

  7. Have to agree with @4. Giving your new puppy the same name as your last dog doesn’t make it the same animal, even if it is called Rover.

  8. @8 I’d have thought that MGKuwait was putting it in a global context. MG used to be all over the place especially all over the colonies but after the debacle of the 70’s and the huge contraction in the 80’s the absence has been, whilst not necessarily damaging, detrimental in trying to get the MG word out.

    Slightly OT – I’m wondering why Chile has MG so soon. From hat I recall, the Old Firm used to sell cars in the South American continent.. was Chile ever an important market to MGRover? – I know they had a certain level of popularity in Spain..

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