Blog : Why MG may have a lot to learn from Qoros…

Words: Keith Adams Photography: Andrew Elphick

Qoros (2)

I’m not sure how I felt when I saw just how impressive the new Qoros 3 Sedan looked at Geneva. It would seem that we’ve all been looking in the wrong direction when talking about a European invasion by China. Many of us assumed that the leading light in that charge was going to be MG. We were wrong.

It’s clearly a matter of when – not if – China becomes a force to be reckoned with outside of the safety of its own heavily-legislated car market. An Internet talking head once said of emerging industries: ‘it took Japan 20 years to catch up with Europe; Korea did it in 10; and China will do it in five.’ Okay, so it’s been more than five years since Chinese cars started trickling into Europe (remember Landwind anyone?), so we should really look at 2011 as the starting point – the date MG resumed operations under the Red Flag in Longbridge after a number of false starts.

And so far it’s been a dismal failure here in the UK. Maybe 1000 cars built in total – many unloved ex-rentals floating around in the trade; and no sales or marketing. And probably no budget either. We know that the product (MG6) is pretty good, but clearly no one in the real world has enough confidence to go out there and buy some. Or maybe they just don’t know.

Qoros (3)

Peter Matkin, ex-Jaguar Land Rover is Qoros' Executive Director of Vehicle Programs.
Peter Matkin, ex-Jaguar Land Rover man is Qoros’ Executive Director of Vehicle Programmes

Now, take Qoros – and you’ll see the parallels. And the contrasts. It’s partnered with a number of blue-chip global partners; the cars are designed by a top-flight Design Team in Europe headed up by ex-Volkswagen, SEAT, Mitsubishi and MINI man, Gert Hildebrand. The Engineering Team is like a Who’s Who of Jaguar Land Rover men, too. Like the MG6, the car is Pacific-generic (but that’s no bad thing for your first product) and it will no doubt be a good drive considering the amount of development that’s going into it. Chery isn’t trying to run before it can walk – it’s building a sensible, stylish and buyable saloon that will set the company on a good footing.

Heck, it even has some distant heritage – as it’s powered by a relative of the old Tritec 1.6-litre engine found under the bonnet of the original R50 MINI. Shades of MG6 indeed…

However, the Qoros 3 is making some headway in the industry – it’s being noticed and the PR is selling the message effectively. More importantly, it was at Geneva today, looking serious – looking like a player about to enter a long game. Not bad for a start-up company that no one outside of China had heard of this time last year… Will the company be the next Kia, Hyundai, Infiniti or Lexus? I’m fascinated to see how this one’s going to play, but saddened that it appears MG’s golden opportunity is now well and truly passed…


Keith Adams


  1. Qoros seem to make a lot of right moves at the moment. They get quite a lot of friendly press here in Germany – highlighting the large amount of Europe’s top people Qoros managed to hire for the development. MG/SAIC have exactly got no press at all – except for the rather good NCAP result, but that was the work of NCAP’s PR…

  2. At least MG haven’t got anything to learn from Qoros when it comes to radiator grille design. That particular part of the car is hideous!

  3. At least MG has heritage, at least when contrasted again the newbie Qoros. But this is a great looking car, and there has been a very good reception in the media – maybe this is the next big thing!

  4. I quietly lost patience with MG a little while ago. Whilst the product isn’t bad at all, the team behind getting the word out have been absolutely useless. Words cannot fail me as to how you can let a hugely significant historic brand fester in the doldrums…. Absolute disgrace to those that engineer it and those in this country that do the final assembly. The dealerships must be hugely frustrated too.


  5. The fact they Chery have a stand at Geneva says it all really. This car will be half decent and cheap, Kia’s are getting expensive now so something needs to slot in below and that isn’t a Dacia.

  6. MG6 : change the bonnet line the tail lights for hot plate round style and put a better body kit on, I think it will make a difference 🙂 alex

  7. A fairly good looking effort from Qoros. Looks like a love child resulting from a liaison between a Renault Laguna (front) and a Jaguar XF or Mazda 6 (rear)

  8. @406V6

    I thought it looked a bit Laguna, though the overall shape for me reminds me of an Octavia.

    I read somewhere that the designer is ex-VWgroup/Audi, but that the UK wont get the saloon, instead getting some SUV, as the UK only buy SUVs, walking into showrooms like Zombies who instead of ‘brains’ mumble ‘SUV, SUV, SUV’.

    • Maybe you read it here:

      ‘the cars are designed by a top-flight design team in Europe headed up by ex-Volkswagen, SEAT, Mitsubishi and MINI man, Gert Hildebrand’

  9. Not a bad looker but I agree the grille design is uninspiring. Shades of Renault Laguna and VW Passat as mentioned elsewhere. One to watch out for?

    Talking of Laguna’s is it just me or am I right in thinking there are not many of the latest ones around? There used to be loads of the MK1 & 2 on UK roads.

  10. The lack of RHD and diesel will hurt sales in UK and EU but otherwise very clever effort. The estate uses much more of the saloon bodywork than most manufacturers do and the SUV ditto. Looks to me like an alternative Jetta/Octavia offering so if priced ‘right’ will do well. Learn from it MG……..

  11. Someone needs to put pressure on MG’s PR people to answer these questions, maybe this site could do that?

    It simply beggars belief that they weren’t at the show? the MG6 is on sale, the MG3 is allegedly only months away, why would they not want to be at the show to get press and PR coverage?

  12. I’d never heard of the Landwind, so had to look it up. I always thought the first was Great Wall but apparently the very first Chinese import was the ‘Yue Loong Feeling’. I think the Chinese are going to have to get to grips with their naming strategy- its only one step up from a ‘Flucky flucky’or ‘Me love you long time’. Perhaps they could Anglicise with ‘Quick grope behind the bikeshed’…

    Anyway, this Lagunaish Volvoda looks ok apart from the excessive chrome. Could sell well if priced and marketed well.

  13. I’ve just read the details of February registrations – an MG6 is officially rarer than a Maserati. MG managed to register a whopping 9 cars whereas Maserati registered 10. Great work!

  14. @17. The Yue Loong Feeling was Taiwanese, not Chinese. Different country and political regime altogether.

  15. The first Chinese vehicle supposedly in the UK was the Beijing “jeep”, if I remember correctly.

    I’m not convinced by Qoros – their PR seems very good but they are stretching the common platform idea a long way and are not actually yet in production? I’d be more worried if they had more Japanese input.

    When discussing the quality of Chinese cars, please don’t forget that for a while UK Honda Jazzes were Chinese origin.

  16. Well it won’t be Geely leading the invasion, they haven’t even managed to update their UK website since Jan 2012, threatening to have the Emigrand on sale by end of 2012….

  17. The Qoros also raises the question “Is a new name better than starting with an old one?”

    MG have whetted our AR online appetites, but failed dismally in the puddings’ proof. They are also meant to start selling in Aus, starting in April, but they’ve gone quiet.

    An old service maxim is to under promise & over deliver. We expected much of MG because of the heritage, but little has happened. With Qoros, nothing is expected, just like Hyundai in the early days. So all that European engineering may make the car truly exceed what potential buyers expect & create a marque loyalty.

  18. Even late on the second press day, Qoros was doing big business at the show, one to watch.

    You might notice the tall backdrop wall on the Qoros stand, you might not have noticed the Infiniti stand behind. Infiniti not being happy, the wall raised in the air for the start of press days. Just don’t go asking how we got the shots with the wall in eh..!

  19. Yorkie… THey aren’t that good at selling the MG’s what makes you think they’d be any good at selling cars with any other name??? D’oh….

  20. Think about it. MG died very publicly. That is buried deeply in the British and European car buyers subconcious, and sadly the UK is one of the most brand led when it comes to car buying. If it wasn’t, nobody would actually buy BMW’s or Audis, or BINI’s

  21. Interesting to read future predictions, nearly 3 years on. Particular points:

    1. I’ve still not heard of Qoros.
    2. If MG is a fair representation of the “5 year Chinese catch up”, then there’s a brighter hope for the long term future of genuine vehicle manufacturing here in the UK.
    3. Gert Hildebrand may have been working with MINI for a while, but his responsibility for anything worthwhile “peaked” with the hideous Countryman!

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