Numbers best illustrate the impact a car has had on the minds of its potential customers. Here, then, are some concerning the Morris Garages Hector.
MG Motor India opened bookings for the Hector on June 4, 2019, and received over 10,000 bookings until June 27 – the day the price of the big, feature-packed SUV was revealed. Then, in about three weeks, that number surged to 28,000, which is when MG Motor India announced that the car had sold out for 2019, and that they were pausing bookings to ensure timely delivery to their customers. These numbers do seem remarkable, but MG Motor has always broken new ground, all the way since 1924 when it was set up in Great Britain.
Over the years, it has had a history of innovation and consistently produced iconic cars such as the MG K3 Magnette, which aced the Mille Miglia in 1933, the MG TC, which became the archetypal British sports car, the MGB, the MG TF, and more recently, the MG HS. When you consider its illustrious history, you’d realise that the extraordinary response to the Hector has been nothing out of the ordinary for a manufacturer such as MG Motor.
The difference is in the detail
MG cars were highly coveted in Bombay and Delhi back in the 1960s and ‘70s. In 2017, with the inauguration of its first manufacturing facility at Halol, Gujarat, the manufacturer revived its association with India. The cutting-edge plant at Halol has an initial production capacity of 80,000 units per annum – a number that will be ramped up in the future. The plant employs advanced processes, which includes the use of robotics, and advanced Automated Guided Vehicles for several different assembly processes. The combination of technology and skills helps MG follow its ‘first time, right build’ philosophy.
It isn’t just the state-of-the-art plant that sets MG Motor India apart. Since its entry into the country, it has focused on differentiation through disruption. And everything from the Hector to its dealerships across the country follows the same principle. Each MG Motor India dealership – which stands out from other anodyne car showrooms – is divided into different sections, including the MG Carffe, a space where customers can discuss customisations, and a lounge among others.
A drive towards diversity
MG Motor India’s four pillars are innovation, experiences, diversity and community. If the MG Hector and the company’s dealerships are testaments to its commitment to pushing the envelope, the manufacturer has also set benchmarks as far as engaging with communities and encouraging diversity at the workplace, from the get go.
Women account for 31 percent of the MG workforce at Halol.
MG Motor India has taken the lead in building a gender-diverse workforce, and women account for 31 percent of its workforce at Halol. At several of its dealerships across India, female managers take the lead in significant areas such as parts management or warranty, besides, of course, handling other functions such as customer relationship and accessories management.
Change through communities
MG Motor India has also been intent of giving back to society through communities. Over the past year or so, it has engaged with a diverse range of communities. These include fun engagements with young audiences through a tie-up with social travel platform Tripoto, which resulted in the engaging Road to MG Live, a four-part web series on the food, pubs, culture and cars of the United Kingdom.
MG’s engagement also has social dimensions. With the MG Changemakers project with digital solutions media platform The Better India, the manufacturer turned the spotlight on six women who acted as catalysts for change in their respective domains. Sharing the stories of the women resonated with the foundational values of MG Motor India, which include cultural diversity. The objective, according to Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director of the company, was to “inspire and motivate others to drive the initiative and bring positive change in society.”
MG Motor India president and MD Rajeev Chaba with IIMPACT’s Rema Harish.
MG Motor India also associated with the Haryana state government and the NGO TRAX in November last year to spread the message of road safety across 200 schools in Gurugram and Faridabad. The aim is to train teachers in creating awareness about road safety and encourage students to participate in conversations around it. The manufacturer has also adopted 30 learning centres in association with the non-governmental organisation IIMPACT.
Daring to disrupt
Unlike several other carmakers, MG Motor India has connected with the consumer in more ways than one – and the response to the extremely capable Hector, with its segment-leading features, is just one manifestation of this. Commenting on the overwhelming reception to the Hector, Chaba said, “We believe that our relationship with customers does not end once the product has been sold, it starts from there. Being a customer-first organisation, we want to focus on quality and on ensuring customer satisfaction. We are working with global suppliers to increase production capacity at our plant, but our very first objective is to ensure timely deliveries to customers who have booked the Hector.” Brand MG has also resonated with new-age customers across the country due to its focus on innovation – as reflected in its retail numbers. The Hector’s segment-first features are testimony to this and so is the MG Shield. Chaba (and MG Motor) has been clear in various interviews that wholesale numbers are not what MG is after. MG has chosen to go in with only one dealer per city, except in the National Capital Region and Mumbai. This will help dealer profitability and, in turn, the customers.
MG’s next launch is the ZS EV, the brand’s first electric vehicle. The company is already connecting with several stakeholders to make electric motoring more accessible. It has tied up with clean energy company Fortum to install the country’s first 50kW DC fast-charging EV stations. The charging stations will be based on the European CCS and the Japanese CHAdeMO quickcharging standards. It will also collaborate with a domestic partner to help set up home charging points for ZS EV owners, at an additional cost. The ZS EV is scheduled to hit our roads by year-end, and that will be the beginning of another MG story.
MG owners have always been a proud lot and have always banded together. The MG Car Club was set up in England in 1930 and has chapters across the world, including Thailand, Egypt, Australia, Taiwan and, of course, New Delhi. They say that wherever you go in the world, you are never too far from an MG Car Club. Considering the tremendous popularity of both classic and contemporary MG cars, that is totally true.
MG Shield: The lowdown
Here’s what MG shield,* one of the most unique aftersales and service schemes in the country, is all about.
5 years, unlimited kilometres (1.5 lakh kilometres for commercial users), 5 free services.(Owners will also not be charged labour costs)
Maintenance plans Classic and Premium: Classic takes care of routine maintenance, while Premium, as the name implies, also covers wear and tear (excluding tyres, batteries and collision repairs) over and above routine maintenance.
Best-in-class ownership cost The Hector, says MG, has a best-in-class ownership cost of Rs 0.45 per kilometre for the petrols and Rs 0.49 per kilometre for the diesel. These estimates are for preventative maintenance at 1 lakh kilometres and include parts, consumables, labour and taxes.
And more Other highlights of MG aftersales and service plan include a standard 5-year/unlimited kilometre roadside assistance program (RSA). The RSA program, which can be accessed via a 24/7 call centre, includes on-the-spot repairs, lost key assistance, fuel assistance, towing services and battery jump start.
*Terms and conditions apply. Visit mgmotor.co.in for more information
‘It was love at first sight for us’
Project manager at a software major, and actor, Mumbai.
The MG Hector was not really on my radar. In fact, it cost a touch over the money I had budgeted to buy a midsize SUV. But then one day, our whole family – me, my wife Srijita and son Abhinav – visited the MG dealership near our home in Powai. And that was it – we took a test drive and everything fell into place.
We got our Hector a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve been mostly ferrying my cousins around Mumbai in the car. And I have to say, for a SUV of its size, it’s comfortable to drive in the city. I have graduated from a smaller car and was slightly worried about how I’d adjust to the Hector’s size, but there have been no problems on that front. We are currently planning to head out of the city on one of these weekends.
My cousin from London – he drives an entry-level luxury SUV – is in town with his family. And he is seriously impressed with the Hector. He finds it to be a great car.
We’ve been living with the Hector for only a couple of weeks, but some things really stand out. One is the space – it’s really got a lot of room. And we are having fun with the i-Smart NextGen technology. I work for a software company and while I’m not a coder, I’m extremely clued in to technology, and the Hector’s features have earned my respect. I also like the view from the windscreen when I’m driving. You sit nice and tall, towering over every other car, and that is a special feeling.
The dealership experience at the time of my booking the car was obviously impressive, but recently I’d gone to Delhi, leaving the car’s headlights on. Quite naturally, the battery died. All it took was a call to the dealership, and the executive assigned to me got technicians to attend to the problem, pronto.
‘I highly recommend MG’s buy-back plan’
Chartered accountant, Shimla.
Since I live in the hills, an SUV makes most sense for me. I could have picked up another SUV or waited for newer launches, but I bought the Hector because it made most sense to me. It had space – we are a four-member family – it has features no other car has, and it looks brilliant.
I often use the Kalka-Shimla road, and it is not exactly in a great condition. But the Hector just keeps going on smoothly, and its highway performance and stability is commendable. I own a farmhouse on the outskirts of Shimla and the approach road is almost like a mild off-road course. But even there, the car has a good grip on things.
I like their Shield program. And I highly recommend the ‘3-60’ buy-back plan, which guarantees owners 60 percent of the original ex-showroom price after three years. That’s ideal for customers like me.
‘I’ve asked my friends to buy it’
Publishing professional, Mumbai.
I have only good things to say about the MG Hector,and I’ve asked several of my friends to buy it. Some of them are now waiting for MG Motor India to reopen bookings. I know it’s just been a month, but with some cars, you know the moment you get into the driving seat.
I like to drive, but I’m not a total car guy. So, when we first visited the dealership, I took my father-in-law along with me. He runs a corporate car-leasing business, and is really into cars. My initial impressions of the Hector were validated when he gave me a thumbs-up and recommended it highly. As a family, we take each member’s opinion when it comes to major purchases and there was a consensus regarding the Hector, especially the kind of features it provided. I don’t think any other carmaker offers this kind of space and features in a single package.I am heavily into technology and gizmos, so, yes, the fact that the Hector was heavily loaded with tech tilted the scales in its favour. But on the other hand, which other car offers you so many relevant and user-friendly features? I love the geo-fence, the fact that you can get a report on driver analytics and the voice assistant.
I have driven the Hector mostly in the city, ever since I took delivery of the car. I hope to take it out of Mumbai once the monsoon is over. It is a breeze to drive in the city, despite it being such a big car; and I’m not hassled either in traffic or when manoeuvring it through tight situations, thanks to its light steering.
I also like the fact that they offer a roadside assistance program – not too many manufacturers in this segment do that.
‘MG shield works for me’
I knew very little about MG before I booked my car. But reading up on them and the positive feedback from friends abroad convinced me that I was making the right decision. My experience at the dealership was good enough to make me reach for my chequebook.
The MG Shield package, along with the Hector’s competitive price tag, was among the other important reasons that made me choose it. I was upgrading from a midsize sedan and was worried about maintenance costs. But the Shield is a great plan, it allayed any fears I had.
I took the Hector to Shimla, and loved driving it on the highways and up the mountains. What stands out for me is the vehicle’s sheer size. There is more than enough space for a five-member family. My kids love the voice-controlled panoramic sunroof function, while I particularly enjoy the crystal-clear Infinity sound system.
‘It looks and feels expensive’
Owner of an automotive component company, Ludhiana.
Driving is my passion. I already have an exotic bike and a compact SUV, and I was looking for something that would offer great driveability and comfort. I found that in the Hector. A quick test drive was all it took to convince me of the SUV’s abilities. In just a couple of weeks, I have clocked in some serious miles. The Hector punches above its weight and looks and feels like a much more expensive vehicle.
I’m impressed with its highway manners, but it’s easy to manoeuvre in the city too. The commodious cabin has, time and again, proved to be more than adequate for my family’ weekend vacations. Comfort at the back is also top-notch.
My tech-savvy children love its smart connectivity features – music streaming is especially popular with them. And it’s not just the kids. Intelligent features and voice commands mean that I can carry out various functions without taking my hands off the steering. This is really important to me, since
I travel a lot.
‘They made Rhythm’s birthday special’
Chief operating officer of a health management company, Mumbai
My daughter Rhythm turned 6 on July 11. When we booked the car – even before the price was revealed – we had indicated to the dealership it would be great if we could have the Hector with us on or around her birthday. I’d think they went out of their way to get it delivered a day before her birthday. It made the day a special one. She still can’t get enough of the sunroof and the car’s internet-enabled features.
The Hector offers more bang for your buck than any of its competitors. That is among the reasons why we bought it. It offers more features, more space, and more tech, and all those connected features really work. I’ve checked out each one of them. And the music system really fills the car with sound. These are the things most families look for, and the Hector is spot-on when it comes to meeting their requirements.
I especially love the space the car offers, both when we are driving in the city and while heading out of it on long drives. My husband is the one who does the driving and he’s entirely satisfied with the driving experience – and he is not easily impressed with most things.
I come from a customer service background. It is extremely tough to impress me either, because I set the bar very high. In that regard, MG Motor India has outdone itself when it comes to aftersales service and attuning to the needs of its customers. Before deciding on the Hector, we had read an interview with Rajeev Chaba (president and managing director, MG Motor India). He had said that he was confident that the Hector would sell because the company had anticipated every possible need of the customer. And that is not a false claim. The MG Shield, which we picked up, for instance, is just the kind of cover we needed for the Hector. The same goes for the accessories that are offered with the car. It’s all well-thought through. That’s the impression one gets.
One of MG Motor India’s taglines is, ‘It’s a human thing’. Now, while this refers to the way the car interacts with you, I also think it applies to their aftersales staffers. The ones I have dealt with have been exceptional. Our Hector just came back after its first service,and the entire experience has been smooth. But, as importantly, I like how they keep in touch with us at regular intervals. I find that very reassuring.
‘Everyone wants to know more about my new car’
Advertising professional, Mumbai
It was the teasers and commercials that drew me in. So I did a lot of research on the company. When I booked the car – before the price reveal – I thought it would be priced way above Rs 20 lakh. But then came the pleasant surprise, though, truth be told, it does look and feel like an over-Rs 20 lakh automobile. I suppose, since there were several launches coming up, I could have waited to check them out, but after living with the Hector for over a month, I think I made the right move.
The Hector is an attention-grabber. That’s what I’ve learnt after spending more than a month with it. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have drawn up to me at traffic signals, or parking lots and checked out the car.
My job involves travelling across the city for meetings every day. I employ a chauffeur, and I love the back-seat comfort the Hector delivers – as well as the overall leg- and head-room, of course.The infotainment system is excellent and has worked without a glitch, so far. I like the way the cabin has been laid out. I’d think if I were to use one word to describe the Hector, it would be ‘unique’. There is nothing quite like it in the market today.
When I first visited the showroom, I had an open mind. I wasn’t ready to commit to buying any car. But the way the executives walked me through the different features and capabilities of the car; I think that made a difference in the end. The same goes for my purchase of the MG Shield. I think the package is as unique as the car, and makes for a sensible purchase. The high levels of service haven’t stopped after I purchased the car. The executive assigned to me does regular follow-ups, and is totally clued in.
‘Hector checked many boxes for me’
Travel vlogger, Kochi
I have logged about 6,000km since I got the MG Hector a month ago. I decided to go in for the Hector because I was looking to “travel in comfort”. I didn’t want to feel fatigued at the end of the day. I wanted space, and a car with a powerful engine. The MG checked all of these boxes.
The Hector’s biggest USP is its uniqueness. It is different from other cars, and it offers a raft of features. The one I like the most, when I’m up in the hills, or trying to get out of a tight corner, is the 360-degree camera.
‘It meets my every expectation’
Its looks are not the only reason I bought it. I was looking for a five-seater SUV that was big, spacious and reliable. Plus, I drive about 50-60km a day within Lucknow, and at times head out on the highways, and it meets my every expectation.
My family makes full use of the features the car offers. All of these makes a huge difference to the time spent in the car for us. Service has been prompt and efficient. And the aftersales and service package I’ve taken covers most eventualities.
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