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MG set to expand in New Zealand

Twin pearls: MG is relaunching in New Zealand with the recently updated MG3 light hatch (left), now with an automatic transmission, and the ZS small SUV (right) joining the GS mid-size SUV already on sale.

SAIC Motor in Australia to play key role as MG sets up factory distribution in NZ

MG logo22 Feb 2019

CHINESE auto giant SAIC Motor is extending its Antipodean reach across the Tasman, announcing this week that the factory had taken over the importation and distribution of MG Motor vehicles in New Zealand from the independent British Motor Distributors.

 

To come under the umbrella of SAIC Motor Australia and New Zealand, the Kiwi operation will see the recently updated MG3 light hatchback and all-new ZS compact crossover launch later this year, joining the GS mid-size SUV.

 

In announcing the move, SAIC Motor Australia/NZ chief executive Peter Cao said: “In studying the market in depth, we see New Zealand as the perfect fit for MG.

 

“As a global brand, MG has evolved to today stand for great value, impressive design and high-quality manufacture and we anticipate it will appeal to New Zealand customers.”

 

The company has appointed Anthony MacLean as business manager for MG Motor in New Zealand, who is based in Auckland and was previously national sales manager (vans) for Mercedes-Benz New Zealand.

 

Mr MacLean will work alongside the Australian-based SAIC/MG team, including marketing director Danny Lenartic and product planning manager Pavel Meck.

 

“Anthony brings with him a wealth of experience, and will work to expand our dealer network,” Mr Cao said.

 

“We have a strong focus on building trust, and creating jobs in the local market, engaging experienced, enthusiastic retail partners to represent MG in New Zealand.”

 

Mr Cao also acknowledged the role played by Christchurch-headquartered British Motor Distributors (BMD) – led by managing director John Fairhall – which took on MG distribution in 2016 and has been operating MG dealerships on both the north and south island.

 

SAIC is preparing to open new dealerships in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, with up to 10 outlets operating across both islands in its first wave of network development under factory control.

 

“The MG marque is going through a powerful transition,” Mr Cao said. “I would like to thank John Fairhall and British Motor Distributors for their professionalism and stewardship of the brand in recent years.”

 

MG Motor’s successful relaunch in Australia in 2016, and the Chinese manufacturer’s desire to extend the reach of its export markets, are clearly behind its expansion across to New Zealand.

 

Still trading on its strong British heritage, but with models built in China, MG had a false start locally under previous independent distributor Longwell Motor back in 2013, before SAIC Motor set up the new factory operation three years later, based in Woolloomooloo, Sydney.

 

The company has targeted a three per cent market share in Australia within a decade of its relaunch – equivalent to around 34,000 sales based on the industry’s 2018 results – and last year posted 3007 sales, up from just 600 the previous year and marking a 401 per cent increase.

 

It also recorded 503 sales in January and now has 29 dealerships operating across Australia, with its model range – spanning MG3, ZS, GS and the MG6 Plus small/medium liftback – backed by a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

 

The company with offer five-year/unlimited cover in New Zealand.


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