With the first couple of MG SUVs – the Hector and the ZS EV – successfully off the blocks, and the third and fourth products – the Gloster SUV and the G10 MPV – already lined up, MG is looking at more mainstream models.
This will be a big step for MG who, up until now, has only been operating at the higher end of the executive market. “Right now, the MG brand in India is clearly moving up, with the Hector, ZS EV , and the upcoming Gloster, and we want to consolidate it there and establish its position,” said Rajeev Chaba President and MD MG Motor India. “But then, afterwards, we want to come down, and we hope the strong brand will help”.
The fifth and sixth products won’t be mass-market cars in the strictest sense of the word, but they will be more affordable and appeal to a wider audience. The big one is likely to be MG’s Creta rival, the ZS. The car is likely to come with a facelift and will be powered by 1.0 and 1.3-litre petrol engines. The 1.3 puts out an impressive 125hp and 230Nm of torque, and with the 1.0 three-cylinder putting out 111hp and 160Nm of torque, MG should have a good spread. Interestingly, a more powerful 163hp version of the 1.3 turbo engine was launched recently on the ZS in China, and this could give the ZS a bit of a leg up on competition like the new Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos.
Also on the cards is the Maruti Ertiga and Mahindra Marazzo-rivaling 360M. Showcased at the Auto Expo recently, it is longer than even the Marazzo and stretches the tape at 4,615mm. Maruti Ertiga’s measures only 4,395mm in comparison. A bit more spacious on the inside, the MPV is built on a wheelbase that is 10mm longer and is likely to be powered by the same 1.5-litre turbo-petrol found under the bonnet of the Hector. Likely to come with similar gearbox options as well as an option of a 48V mild-hybrid system for better fuel economy, MG could even slot the FCA or Jeep 2.0-litre diesel under the hood. Making a business case for this car isn't too difficult. “There aren’t many players in this segment, so this could give us good volumes,” said Chabba.
In addition, MG is also seriously looking at a 3- or 4-seat version of the E200 EV, also showcased at the Auto Expo. Basically a Smart-sized car measuring an extremely short 2.5m, MG says it can sell it in India for under Rs 10 lakh.
The fifth and sixth MG products are likely to be built at an all-new plant. The step, likely to be undertaken as volumes cross 80,000-90,000 units a year, will either involve the construction of a new facility or buying an existing one. “If we are lucky and our ramp-up happens as per our design, the Halol plant should be full by end 2021. And then we will need to go to our second plant."
But products apart, equally important, according to Chaba are aftersales service, the total cost of ownership and resale value. “Maruti and Hyundai are our role models in this respect,” and MG aspires to deliver similar standards. Also, once MG goes down the pyramid, competition is also sure to get tougher. “After the good initial response, we know we could have a more difficult fight ahead.” And that’s where the strong brand is likely to help.
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