MG MOTOR India announced that its first vehicle of the Indian market is to be launched in the second quarter of 2019, ahead of the earlier scheduled date. To reiterate, MG (Morris Garages) was founded in the UK in 1924 and remained a sought after brand through the latter half of the century for its affordable sportscars. The brand and its businesses was purchased by China’s largest automobile manufacturer, SAIC, in 2007.
The first model for its India offensive will likely be the MG ZS, its compact SUV. This SUV was first shown in 2016 and was subsequently launched in its home market of China last year. The ZS has a wheelbase of 2,585mm, which comparatively, almost matches that of the Hyundai Creta. Meanwhile, its overall length of 4,314mm puts it between the Creta and the Jeep Compass. In international markets, the ZS is offered with a choice of two petrol engines - a four cylinder 1.5-litre petrol producing 106bhp and 141Nm torque, or an engine co- developed by SAIC and GM. This newly developed engine is a three cylinder with 1-litre capacity, with 111bhp and 160Nm outputs. Both engines are offered with either a six speed manual or six speed DCT automatic transmission. MG Motors does offer a 1.9-litre diesel in another model internationally but it is unclear whether the diesel option for India will be that powerplant, or something else.
Going forward, the company plans to introduce one new product to the Indian market every year. Led by strong R&D efforts of its parent company SAIC, MG Motor India is also actively considering offering new energy vehicles. MG India has taken over the manufacturing facilities of GM when that company exited India. The Halol plant is being upgraded, including the construction of a new press shop and the modification of assembly lines and other facilities. MG Motor India has also initiated talks with various suppliers to achieve high levels of localisation. The company is looking at dealer partners.
P Balendran, executive director, MG Motor India and Rajeev Chaba, managing director, MG Motor India at the company’s first ever press conference in the country