MG6, now made in China

By Colin Smith

Car makers re-orienting themselves.

The MG3, could lead the charge for Chinese-made vehicles in New Zealand.
The MG3, could lead the charge for Chinese-made vehicles in New Zealand.

With only a five-speed manual transmission on offer, the sales potential for the MG6 is limited in a New Zealand market dominated by automatics.

But the medium-term and longer prospects as new models come on stream suggest MG could lead the emergence of Chinese-made cars here.

Parent company SAIC Motor ranks number 130 among Fortune 500 listed companies, and is rising fast. It has 18 other brands and established joint ventures in China with Volkswagen and General Motors.

MG offers the advantage of a recognised brand and links to European design resources. The brand is keen to position itself in a similar way to Jaguar, Land Rover, Lotus, Rolls Royce and Bentley in being a British marque that retains British design and manufacturing facilities although none are actually British owned.

Future MG-branded products are likely recipients for a family of direct-injection turbocharged engines in 1.2, 1.4 and 1.5-litre displacement being jointly developed by SAIC Motor and GM, which are expected to appear late next year.

Several concept cars have been unveiled recently and the next phase is the supermini MG3 hatch and an MG5 five-door that fits in the Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus small-medium category.

The MG3 is expected to go on sale here from mid-next year and the MG5 is a 2014 candidate.

Both cars have been designed in the UK, by about 300 designers and engineers working at the Longbridge (now known as Shanghai Motor Technical Centre) facility.

The other recent motor show attention-grabber is the MG Icon concept car from this year's Beijing Auto Show.

The Icon intriguingly combines MG B GT-inspired retro styling cues with a compact SUV configuration to suggest a sporty crossover production car. It is due to be launched next year.

At this stage, no plans for a new generation MG sports car have been released.

- NZ Herald

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