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Details of Aussie MG distributor emerge

Safety fast: MG Motor Australia plans to offer quick, efficient vehicle maintenance.

Successful Chinese dealership group Longwell Motor behind Aussie MG operation

MG logo19 Apr 2013

AUSTRALIAN MG distributor Longwell Motor is a Chinese company with strong ties to MG brand owner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).

Mystery has surrounded the local distributor’s origins ever since Australian media discovered plans for the return of MG to Australia around October last year.

The unannounced appearance of a dealership on Sydney’s Parramatta Road early this year further fuelled speculation, and requests for information were largely met with a wall of silence.

Australia Longwell Motor was renamed MG Motor Australia just in time for this week’s launch event in Sydney, where the company’s marketing manager, Zhenyu Li, confirmed Longwell’s Chinese origins and the fact the company is inexperienced in the highly competitive Australian car landscape.

“We can see that (lack of experience) as this company was set up in 2010 in Australia, but we know the market very well,” he said.

“I don't think this will be a problem for the sale of MG cars in Australia … Amanda Han (MG Motor Australia director) has been here three years and the team is an Australian team – we have some Chinese but most of the team are Australian people.” Mr Li said Longwell was a large group that worked with European brands such as Volkswagen, Audi and Peugeot in China, where it had more than 15 years’ experience, and the company conducted a year-long study of this market starting in 2009.

“After about one years’ market study they thought it was a good product and were confident of the success of the MG brand in Australia so they built a company here.

“They have a good partnership with SAIC, so SAIC have given 100 per cent confidence to the company.” Mr Li did not know which other companies were in the running to re-introduce MG to this country but said SAIC had sent a request “to everybody in Australia”.

“Finally they chose us, but we don't know which (companies were also approached) – we are very happy and very honoured to become the exclusive distributor of MG in Australia.” Aftersales care is a planned point of difference for MG Motor Australia, and Mr Li said the company will “will launch some different things than competitors”.

“We will pay more attention to our aftersales service,” he said, and agreed capped-price servicing would be among the offerings.

“Also more efficient, more quick to do a service for the MG users,” he added. “If you need maintenance for the car it will take just two or three hours.” MG Motor Australia, which is headquartered at its Sydney dealership, plans to rapidly increase the number of MG outlets around Australia through between eight and 10 franchised dealerships by the end of this year.

Mr Li said there will be more than 20 Australian MG dealerships by the end of next year, in partnership with local businesses, while MG Motor Australia plans to start opening distributor-owned outlets in 2015.

“We have a plan ... maybe in the third year we will open others … in the third year we will open the second showroom,” he said.

Mr Li clarified that MG Motor Australia considered 2015 to be year three.

Publicity surrounding the rebirth of the iconic MG brand in Australia has been conspicuous by its absence.

Mr Li said it was “not necessary to do publicity of a brand everyone knew”.

“The reason why we didn’t do publicity before the launch was because we want to just introduce the car – because we are launching just one car (the MG6 sedan and hatch) to consumers.” He said digital media and Facebook would be used to publicise MG products, and print adverts were run in at least one Sydney newspaper on launch day.

“Maybe in several months we will do something with TV – now is too early we think,” said Mr Li.

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