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Reborn MG returns to Australia

Hitting a 6: MG will relaunch in Australia with sedan and fastback body styles of the Cruze-sized MG6, powered by a 1.8-litre turbo-petrol engine.

Official relaunch of MG brand in Australia scheduled for this week

MG logo16 Apr 2013

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

MG WILL officially relaunch in Australia tomorrow, April 17, kicking off with the MG6 small sedan and fastback range.

The sole Australian importer for the iconic Chinese-owned British brand, Longwell Motor, is keeping pricing and specifications close to its chest until the launch event beside Sydney’s Pyrmont Bay.

Both MG6 variants that have received approval for this market are powered by a 118kW/215Nm 1.8-litre turbo-petrol engine driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission.

GoAuto understands 17-inch alloy wheels and front foglights will be standard equipment, and the Holden Cruze-sized MG6 can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 8.5 seconds.

Like the right-hand-drive British market, Australia-bound MGs look set to be manual-only propositions.

In some markets the MG6 is offered with a dated five-speed automatic not deemed good enough for Western expectations, but overseas reports point to the ongoing development of a dual-clutch unit.

The MG3 light car will join the line-up by the end of this year, with more models – including an SUV previewed by the CS Concept that will be unveiled at the Shanghai motor show this weekend – are in the pipeline.

MG’s first Australian dealership is on Parramatta Road in Petersham, Sydney, using part of the former Rick Damelian premium used car dealership, where renovation and rebranding has been taking place since late December.

Longwell Motor is running its MG importation operations from the Petersham premises.

49 center imageFrom top: MG3 and MG CS Concept

Between six and eight additional MG dealerships across Australia are under consideration for opening this year, with the total number of outlets to reach as high as 20 by the end of 2014.

Considering the pomp and ceremony usually associated with the arrival or return of a car brand to a country, the rebirth of the iconic MG brand – now owned by the giant Chinese Shanghai Auto (SAIC) conglomerate – has been decidedly low-key.

The first clues to the brand’s reappearance on these shores came in October last year when journalists stumbled upon documents showing which models had been approved for Australian sale.

Early this year, further media interest was attracted when the Parramatta Road premises started to take shape, with MG branding and freshly shipped vehicles arriving on-site.

But only media investigations uncovered the existence of Longwell Motor, which was unresponsive to media requests, while correspondence with SAIC in China enabled some journalists – including GoAuto – to uncover MG’s Australian plans.

According to SAIC, Longwell Motor is a private company with more than 15 years’ experience dealing with European brands including Audi, Volkswagen and Peugeot.

In February an SAIC manager told GoAuto Longwell was awarded sole Australian distributorship rights for MG because it “has many years experience in car dealerships, they have got passion for MG (and) they have a strategic long-term plan for Australian market”.

“They are committed to this iconic brand (and) they are ambitious to bring the best aftersales service to the customer.”

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