Like mg motor driving your way back to the big time

MG 3

The 3 arrived in 2013 and hinted at a potential MG

The doyen of British automotive is rejuvenated and visiting places with a plan that includes an electric-only ancestral home, and perhaps even a competitor to Porsche

Mg is on a roll. Its biggest roll since the 1920s, arguably, was when an obscure British sales manager-turned-engineer, Cecil Kimber, took just three years to build the world's best-selling sports car from the Everyman Morris Minor - and then built a thriving, highly profitable global business on it.

Now it's happening again. In the UK alone, yearly mg sales have tripled in three years to 13,075 units and are strongly declining to break the 20,000 barrier by the end of this year. More expansion is predicted for 2021-22, fueled by the arrival of more focused, mostly electrified models. After ten years in the doldrums, the MG has suddenly become the brand's most successful car in the UK and its management is now really looking at the likes of Hyundai and Kia as role models.

Globally, the MG brand does best in China, but this is also reflected in Australia, New Zealand and India. The brand is circulating in some European countries such as the Netherlands and is gaining ground in South America and the Middle East.

Of course, today's MG is very different from Kimber's 'Morris garages', created 95 years ago to make sports models from Morrison's everyday life. With the company advancing through the tortuous steps to become a bbl run, Abayang based MG Co, which built MG B and Dwarf until it hit a dead end in 1980. Thereafter, the octagonal badge was used primarily on the Rover mid-engined MG F Roadster (since 1995) and a series of icon-designed Rover saloons.

Today, the company is a Chinese-owned MG Motor, a seven-million-sales-per-year subsidiary of Chinese mass-producer SAIC, which acquired both the iconic British brand and its ex-BL, ex-Rover Longbridge plant in 2007 and made cars in small numbers there until 2016. of the year. Currently, Gupt makes 750,000mg of branded vehicles for sale worldwide and every MC-mg sold is imported from China by MG Motor UK, a marketing company headquartered on Marylebone Road in central London.

However, this is a very different kind of sales company, as we recently learned in a meeting with Daniel Gregorious, MG Motor UK's head of sales and marketing. Today, MGSs can be made in China, but most of them come from a design studio on the second floor of the Marylebone building (which welcomes you to a luxury cafe called the Roadster Cafe). And 120 miles northwest, in Longbridge, in the same building where mini Pioneer Sir Alec Issigonis once ruled, several hundred engineers are shaping the inner workings of MG and SAIC's upcoming product. The MG may not be true-blue Brits anymore, but local influences remain key to its design.

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Mg's recent success, says Gregorious, has been an upswing on a new B-segment SUV, the ZS, launched in 2018. Prior to this, the 6 sedan (launched in 2011) was unsuccessful and the 3 supermini (launched in 2013) was moderately successful. But it was the arrival of the modern, properly sized ZS that really started something. Throw in unexpectedly strong demand for the all-electric ZS introduced last September (scheduled launch of 1000 models sold out within two weeks), and a successful debut for the new C-segment GS SUV a month later and you have all the elements of success.

Since Gregorious arrived at MG two years ago from an increasingly powerful position at Peugeot, Kia, Chevrolet and Renault, he has covered a wide range of responsibilities under MD William Wang, including negotiations with China over timing, volumes, pricing, marketing and UK model mixes. cars (“Gupta will allow more than 300 electrified cars next year”) and building a dealer network at its current 000-horsepower level, which he says suits the company's current vision for the future.

“Our acceleration really started with a significant 3mg facelift in 2018,” says Gregorious, “which went well. Then came the new models. Now that we offer a car, a compact SUV – with both electric and conventional power packs – and a new family SUV, we don't have products that fit many markets around the world.”

Gupta Plan has always been in MG's position as its global brand, and its export success compared to the lesser-known Chinese Marquez shows the power of MG's brand awareness, although Gregorious insists none of this could have happened without appropriate, well-designed products. companies are now selling.

More than IGUs are. Midway through this year, there will be a plug-in petrol hybrid version of the HS, a model designed to take advantage of the UK's new in-kind allowance laws on company vehicles and in line with zero-emissions legislation in urban centres. Gregorious confirms that the HS could also be built with an all-electric powertrain, like the XNUMXS EV, but no decision has yet been made on doing so.

Coming up on the new model program is an all-electric property similar in size to the Ford Focus but available with battery power. “It's exciting,” says Gregorious, “because it will be our first model that is truly unique on the market. We expect success, but it will be interesting to see how he plays with fleet and business clients.”

The new electric property will use a very similar powertrain to the ZS EV, but will likely have a larger wagon range. The GM hasn't been named yet - Gregorious made suggestions but didn't hear any decision, although TT would be fine with a band that already contains less GL. Also, MG may eventually consider petrol-powered sports for the ZS (that's already above the tuning of the petrol engines that would suit some sort of ZS GTI), although this seems to be about electrification as a better high-performance avenue.

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If the HS plug-in and the new electric property sell, Gregorious says MG's next step will be to launch a version of its handsome E-motion high-performance four-seater sports car that was unveiled as a concept at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. It's a twin-engine, all-electric design with 3.0sec 0-60mph acceleration plus exotic styling aimed at moving it into Porsche or Jaguar territory.

“The car is still in our plans,” says Gregorious, and it will make a big halo of a flagship car. We are only planning one model as it is at present. But if we can do well with the mainstream models, there may be plenty of room for more sporty models in the future.”

Q&A, Daniel Gregorious, Head of Sales and Marketing, MG Motor UK

Do you have a lot to say in the cars that MG builds?

“We have a lot of talk because we have important designs and technical operations in the UK. In addition, the owners are well aware that the MG heritage comes entirely from the UK. New models are not forced on us: we can choose what we want and then make them better.”

How serious is Gupta about building the MG brand?

“Very serious, I would say. The company has spent about £7bn on R&D over the past five years – in Longbridge and China – on electric car research, connectivity and autonomous driving. This includes the Briton as a vital component of his proposal.”

How do you dispose mg?

“We don't want to be the cheapest. Another brand that plays at low prices [Dacia] is very good. We want to offer value for money, but also offer desirable products that can be legally sold for its quality. We see people moving gleefully driving Fords and Nissans to MGUs.”

How important is the MG brand to attracting new customers?

“This is a huge help. This gives people the confidence to get out and explore our vehicles. We are quite sure that if you see them, touch them and sit in the products, they will be like them. It would be tougher with an unfamiliar brand. Seven years warranty is also important.”

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