Well, there I was wandering out of Sainsburys* in Godalming when I spotted something rarer than a four-leaf clover – an MG6 was swinging into the car park, looking pristine in metallic Union Blue. Wandering over to the owner in a nonchalant kind of way, I remarked how bonny the car looked and innocently asked him what the ‘6 was like to own and drive.
I certainly wasn’t prepared for the mini tirade of complaints and grumbles that came from the fairly dignified-looking, mature gentleman. He, quite literally, went off on one, as t’wer. He barked: ‘nice car so long as you don’t break anything’. I quizzed him further and it seems the experience was wholly flawed in his view.
The gentleman concerned had some minor gripes such as poor fuel economy and juddering wipers (which were only cured after a trip to Halfords owing to the OE blades not curing the fault) but was now almost at the point of wishing he had kept the Rover 75 he formerly piloted. He told me that his wife had accidentally smashed the door mirror assembly, misjudging a gap in tight alleyway, causing him to contact his Dealer for a replacement.
After waiting a month, the new one arrived – in orange. It was a further fortnight before that issue was resolved. Expanding on his concerns about the car, I listened worryingly as the chap also remarked about a Dealer who seems to be beyond caring and the cigar lighter that ejects when ready… and flies into orbit, before dropping onto the floor mat.
So I asked him.. would he recommend the MG6 to myself, the answer was, ‘what do you think?’
However, it doesn’t end there either – a fellow resident of my part of West Sussex has just contacted the local Brighton dealership with a view to booking a test drive in an MG6. He was initially told that there was no one available to handle his inquiry and someone would call him back but eventually managed to secure a demo after calling them back – a further three times.
Obviously, they are so busy with sales enquiries they are snowed under – I think not. However, before some of you start clucking on about an AROnline MG witch-hunt – this is so far from the truth. It simply seems that either MG Motor UK or the Dealers – or both – appear to be incapable of providing an experience, or level of customer care, that this great brand deserves. If it’s not poor, it’s bordering on the comical.
Some very talented people work with MG but, sadly, in the wrong offices. I am now starting to come to the conclusion that the Sales and Marketing and PR Departments, are verging on a shambolic disgrace. After every scenario, with every previous incarnation of either MG or Rover, one would think that some very hard lessons in how to market or, indeed, manage a long-established and world-regarded brand, would have been learned.
MG has even stooped to a sad level of peddling toy (and full-sized) models of the MG6 on eBay. Just what the hell is going on up at Longbridge? Where is the diesel, where is the MG3 – and, more to the point, where is the vivid advertising shouting proudly that MG is here and for the long term?
I experienced most of the above angst first-hand when I desperately tried to sell the Chinese King Long range of coaches. Not a bad product and very cost effective – but let down by awful importers and built in a nation that’s quick to learn, yet seemingly incapable of listening. Strictly in my own opinion, I am coming to the conclusion that SAIC Motor should either make a determined effort with MG Motor UK or simply switch off the life support and put a dying animal to sleep – it’s the kindest thing.
None of us want that and, regardless of who owns MG, I want the marque to succeed. The ‘6 is not a bad car but, there again, it’s far from being a class-leader. However, it does have a place in the market but, while they faff and mess around stalling new engine and model launches, any potential customer will become bored and stumble into a showroom selling Korean cars. And once they are there, you will have lost them for good.
But, hey, I’ll throw down the gauntlet… Let me take a look at the Sales and Marketing/Business Development side of things and I’ll guarantee there will be a noticeable difference inside, say, six months. There you go, MG Motor UK – you know where to find me!
* Other leading supermarkets are also available
UPDATE – 29th September, 2012
MG Motor UK kindly took time out to contact AROnline after publication of the above article in order to investigate matters further and also to assure our readership that any Dealership problems or disputes are dealt with quickly and efficiently at all times.