MG Mo­tor over­view

We give you the lowdown on the Chi­nese com­pany and its plans for In­dia

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It's time to in­vite the neigh­bours as they pre­pare a port­fo­lio of ve­hi­cles for the In­dian mar­ket. Ab­hik Das re­cently got an op­por­tu­nity to get a glimpse into SAIC's au­to­mo­tive might

China as a coun­try has pro­gressed well be­yond what many would per­ceive it to be. A trip to Shang­hai re­vealed how lit­tle the coun­try is in a de­vel­op­ing state rather, is al­ready much ahead of many of its South East Asian coun­ter­parts. The visit was specif­i­cally aimed at show­cas­ing SAIC Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion's fa­cil­i­ties - China's largest au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­turer. SAIC has been ranked 36th in the list of For­tune 500 com­pa­nies and that's say­ing some­thing. The com­pany gave us a sneak peek into their tech­ni­cal cen­tre in Ant­ing, a town lo­cated in the Jiad­ing dis­trict of Shang­hai. The SAIC R&D cen­tre cov­ers 4,19,000sq m and houses the de­sign cen­tre, ar­chi­tec­ture lab, NVH lab, ther­mal wind tun­nel lab, pow­er­train lab and many other fa­cil­i­ties that help the com­pany test var­i­ous ac­tive and pas­sive me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents along with elec­tronic ones un­der sim­u­lated test con­di­tions.

It was here that the an­nounce­ment was made to in­tro­duce an all-elec­tric SUV that would be a global prod­uct, as the com­pany's sec­ond launch in In­dia. More on that a lit­tle later as we in­tend to draw your at­ten­tion to its first launch. An SUV again, the first ve- hi­cle will come bear­ing the MG badge. MG Mo­tors (Mor­ris Garages) is a firm that has its roots in the United King­dom dat­ing back to 1924. At the time, its line of cars in­cluded a range of sports cars, road­sters and cabri­o­lets which even found fans in the Royal Fam­ily. Decades later, MG has evolved into a man­u­fac­turer whose port­fo­lio in­cludes hatch­backs, sedans and SUVs loaded with hy­brid pow­er­trains and con­nected mo­bil­ity. MG ve­hi­cles are man­u­fac­tured at the par­ent com­pany's Lin­gang, Nan­jing, He­nan and Fu­jian plants in China while there are two in­ter­na­tional fa­cil­i­ties in Ray­ong, Thai­land and the re­cently

in­au­gu­rated Halol fa­cil­ity in Gu­jarat, In­dia.

MG's first SUV for In­dia was teased in a sil­hou­ette out­lined as part of a pre­sen­ta­tion. From the looks of it, there isn't any­thing in the MG port­fo­lio that matches the SUV. Delv­ing deeper, the only car that fits that sil­hou­ette turns out to be an SUV made by Bao­jun - a com­pany owned by an SAIC, Gen­eral Mo­tors and Wul­ing Au­to­mo­bile joint ven­ture. To curb any scope of con­fu­sion, let's es­tab­lish that SAIC owns a plethora of au­to­mo­tive brands and the cars pro­duced share their tech­nol­ogy and plat­forms al­beit in­her­it­ing their brand's im­age and her­itage.

Thus the car headed to our shores may be sold as a Bao­jun in China or even a Roewe, an­other SAIC sub-brand, but will wear the MG badge and def­i­nitely pos­sess the qual­ity and char­ac­ter of the brand. Right now, there isn't much in­for­ma­tion about the fi­nal car but what we do know is that the MG car to be launched in In­dia will be a mid-size SUV which will find com­pe­ti­tion with the likes of the Hyundai Creta, Mahin­dra XUV500, Tata Sa­fari and should of­fer a 7-seater op­tion. Our best guess is that it will be priced be­tween Rs 15 lakh to 20 lakh at launch.

This is how­ever, is a cal­cu­lated guess con­sid­er­ing what we saw at SAIC's Guangde Prov­ing Ground. A test fa­cil­ity that spans a mas­sive 5.67sq km and is touted as the largest in the ASEAN re­gion, the Guangde Prov­ing Ground con­sists of 60 plus kilo­me­tres of test roads and more than 70 vari­a­tions of pave­ments. More­over, this is where we not only got to see the cars un­der the MG and Roewe brand but also

ex­pe­ri­ence them. The MG 6 sedan may re­flect de­sign cues of pop­u­lar Ger­man mar­ques but showed im­pec­ca­ble ma­te­rial qual­ity with im­pres­sive fit and fin­ish that on the face of it, can be rated higher than some pop­u­lar mass pro­duc­tion man­u­fac­tur­ers in In­dia. The other cars are sold un­der the Roewe brand is the RX5 is the best-sell­ing mid-size SUV. We briefly drove its pure elec­tric ver­sion and even the Marvel X which in­tro­duces in­ter­net and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence tech­nol­ogy as the car fea­tures AliOS, an op­er­at­ing sys­tem de­vel­oped by the Alibaba Group. With the on­set of a new era that rev­o­lu­tionises the use of in­ter­net and cloud com­put­ing, MG Mo­tor is as­pir­ing

MG 6 SEDAN SHOWED IM­PEC­CA­BLE MA­TE­RIAL QUAL­ITY WITH IM­PRES­SIVE FIT AND FIN­ISH

to stand out with con­nected mo­bil­ity in their sec­ond launch for In­dia, the all-elec­tric SUV.

Cur­rently, MG Mo­tor In­dia aims to launch and be­gin sales in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2019 with 45 deal­ers and 100 touch­points for sales as well as af­ter sales ser­vices. The com­pany also aims to hire 1,500 em­ploy­ees by the end of 2019. The cur­rent ca­pac­ity at the Halol plant stands at 80,000 units per year with an aim to fur­ther ex­pand to 200,000 units.

Ra­jeev Chaba, pres­i­dent & MD, MG Mo­tor In­dia pre­sides over a pre­sen­ta­tion at the SAIC R&D cen­tre at Ant­ing, Shang­hai, China

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