This week has seen a flurry of excitement in the motor industry with companies big and small vying for their moment in the spotlight. All apart from MG, which, once again, was absent from a major European motor show. Keith Adams has eloquently summed up the Geneva issue, but once again MG seems to have missed an opportunity to show itself and the company to a wider European audience.
Contrast this with the scene in China were MG regularly showcases cars at Shanghai, Beijing and Qingdao. Yet not once has MG made an appearance at an EU Industry event. The big question is why?
In 2010 during an interview for MG Enthusiast, MG’s Sales and Marketing Director, Guy Jones, told me that a diesel version of the MG6 engine would arrive in 2011 and that the diesel engine was ‘the gateway to Europe’, yet today the diesel has only just gone on sale in Britain and still MG’s European fans are left waiting. In China today there’s a choice of MG3, MG5, MG6 (GT and Magnette) and MG7. MG3 launched in 2011, the 5 in 2012. MG has always contended that its cars are designed for Europe and adapted for China – if this is the case then what accounts for the long delay in bringing the cars to Europe? The MG6 was delayed because its front bumper didn’t meet UK crash regulations – why would a car designed for Europe need such work?
Again it poses another big question about MG’s business plan. Understandably, the UK is no longer the biggest market for MG but, if SAIC is serious about the marque’s heritage, then the UK must play a bigger role in the brand’s global strategy than it currently does. Plenty have pointed the finger at the company’s foreign ownership but, as Jaguar Land Rover and MINI have shown, foreign ownership can be a boon not a burden to a historically British brand.
MG Motor seem to have both hands tied behind its back, but this isn’t helped by the total lack of marketing – simply put the car doesn’t exist in minds of the majority of the car-buying public. SAIC has plenty of cash yet there’s no push from MG, something is going wrong. Is there a lack of faith from the management back in the PRC? The diesel is now available but where is the advertising for it? There doesn’t appear to be any, sadly.
This week has seen the SMMT release the February registration figures for the UK and they showed that just nine MGs were registered during the month.
Nine cars wouldn’t support a small dealership, let alone a whole dealer network.
Simply put, MG’s relaunch has failed, the car hasn’t been promoted properly and subsequently it hasn’t sold. As a hugely passionate MG fan, I’m disappointed to see the name once again in turmoil. I just wonder how many lives MG has left. Let’s hope March sees the DTi help the company turn a corner. And that the MG3 gets to market before it’s too late…
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