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MG relaunches with MG3 and MG6

Double trouble: MG will relaunch in Australia starting with a two-model range, the MG3 (left) and MG6 Plus.

British brand MG returns to Australia under SAIC with light MG3 and small-medium MG6

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MG logo26 Oct 2016

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

THE iconic MG brand has relaunched in Australia this week, with SAIC Motor Australia announcing pricing and specifications for the MG3 light hatch and MG6 small-medium car ahead of sales from late November through an initial network of 10 dealerships.

The five-door MG3 is priced from $13,990 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Core variant, with the mid-series Soul adding $1000 and the flagship Essence positioned a further $1000 upstream at $15,990 plus on-roads.

Identical model grades are offered for the MG6 Plus five-door liftback, kicking off from $21,990 plus on-roads for the Core and climbing in $2000 increments for both the Soul (from $23,990) and Essence (from $25,990).

Developed in UK and built in China, all MGs are backed by a six-year/unlimited-kilometre factory warranty, and the local SAIC management team is banking on factors such as its British heritage, value for money and promised high levels of service to draw Australian customers to the brand.

All Australian-spec MG models are fitted standard with six airbags, electronic stability control and ABS brakes, however a rearview camera is only available on the top-tier MG6 Plus Essence.

The MG3 is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine developing 78kW of power at 6500rpm and 137Nm of torque at 4500rpm, driving the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission only. No automatic gearbox is available at this stage.

MG claims the light hatch can reach 100km/h from standstill in 12.5 seconds, while combined-cycle fuel consumption comes in at 5.8 litres per 100km.

The MG3’s underpinnings include a conventional MacPherson strut front/torsion bar rear suspension set-up. Maximum boot volume is 256 litres with the rear seats in place, or 938L when folded.

In addition to the safety equipment fitted standard, the entry-level Core includes 14-inch steel wheels, LED daytime running lights, cloth trim, power windows, air-conditioning, (non-remote) central locking, a trip computer and a four-speaker stereo with CD player, USB and auxiliary inputs.

The Soul is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent wipers, remote central locking, vanity mirrors, reverse parking sensors, headlight time delay, steering wheel audio controls and six-speaker stereo with Bluetooth capability.

For a further $1000, the MG3 Essence piles in a leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise control, under-seat drawer and several roof decal options beyond the standard six colour choices (each with matching black or white roof).

The MG6, meanwhile, returns to Australia with a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering 118kW at 5500rpm and 215Nm from 2000-4500rpm.

It now comes standard with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (with steering-mounted paddle-shifters) on all model grades – a step up from the previous incarnation, sold here by Longwell Motor in 2013 with only a manual gearbox (from $22,990).

Acceleration from 0-100km/h is 9.9s, while fuel consumption, which benefits from an automatic engine idle-stop system, is listed at 7.8L/100km.

MG is spruiking the handling benefits of the multi-link independent rear suspension on the MG6 Plus, with all model grades also featuring 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/50 tyres.

Other standard kit for the MG6 Plus Core includes rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights and tail-lights, cloth trim with front seat heating, power front windows, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning (with rear air vents), cruise control and six-speed audio with monochromatic screen and CD player, USB and auxiliary inputs – but without Bluetooth connectivity.

For another $2000 the MG6 Plus Soul adds Bluetooth, along with eight speakers, automatic headlights/wipers, ‘eco’ partial-leather trim and an electronically controlled front differential.

At the top of the range, the Essence has full leather trim, four-way electrically adjustable front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror and 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and rearview camera.

MG Motor Australia sales strategy senior manager Peter Coorey said the relaunched company – now with an Australian leadership team operating from a factory-backed headquarters in Woolloomooloo, Sydney – would focus on customer service and unique selling points of its models to lure customers.

“We believe key to our long-term success in Australia is our commitment to a customer-first approach and to also meet their expectations,” he said.

“Every new MG sold in Australia from launch will gain a six-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, six-years’ roadside assistance, a dedicated customer call centre – 1800 MGCARS – (and) precise-priced servicing.

“We also have supporting this a national parts centre with daily delivery across Australia, full dealership technical training and also direct technical communication with our international partners.”

Mr Coorey confirmed that 10 dealerships would operate in the eastern states from late November, but declined to confirm where or what the capped servicing prices would be.

“Ten dealers are planned by year’s end (and) 2017 will see continued growth as volume increases. What is most critical for MG is to meet our customers’ demand and have a solid and sustainable dealer network that can service us for decades to come.”

Mr Coorey also hinted that the brand would attempt to leverage its history as a British sportscar manufacturer to appeal to older buyers – and the relaunch event also contained several heritage cars from several local MG car clubs.

“The light-car segment shows 37 per cent of buyers 50 years and over, with the next major category being 35 and over (while) the small-car segment has over 43 per cent of small-car buyers aged 50 years and over and the next major grouping is those 35 and over, which represents about 28 per cent,” he said.

“There are two key considerations for buyers coming into the light-car segment.

Firstly, ‘I want a stylish car that’s well equipped and spacious.’ The other key consideration is, ‘I want a car that’s stylish and fun that I can afford that represents who I am.’“We know that this segment is also competitive and that there is a lot of choice, so why buy an MG3? Our proud sporting heritage is instilled into this product. It drives exceptionally well … to give a sporty ride but also take into consideration the urban environment it will most likely be used in.”

For the larger MG6, which at 4653mm straddles the small and medium segments (the Toyota Corolla hatch measures 4330mm from end to end, for example, while Camry is 4850mm), Mr Coorey said: “Ultimately this segment has two clear buying differentials – firstly, ‘I want a new car that’s practical, spacious, well-equipped and great value.’ Another consideration set is: ‘I want a new car that is sporty, stylish and also represents ‘me’.’“MG understands that this segment is ultra-competitive, it’s also the largest segment in the marketplace. Built into the DNA of every MG6 Plus is our proud sporting heritage … and the Z-shaped multi-link rear really demonstrates the true sporting heritage of an MG. Being a turbo it also has a flat torque curve which gives it exceptional driveability.

“Key to this segment is also versatility, and the fastback design offering a coupe-like style also offers exceptional rear legroom and boot space, with over 1370 litres available. In looking at the length of the MG6 Plus compared with the top three selling cars in its class, you can see a 4653mm really does stand out from the crowd and provides something unique in market.”2016 MG pricing*
MG3
Core$13,990
Soul$14,990
Essence$15,990
MG6 Plus
Core (a)$21,990
Soul (a)$23,990
Essence (a)$25,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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