Only in very sentimental moments do you remember that Saab once played a role in the top 10 new registrations in Sweden. That was long over, after that Volvo became the top dog. Ranks 1 to 5 were mostly booked by the brand from Gothenburg. That is history now too. Because foreign intruders rely on Volvo to make life difficult. Suddenly Sweden no longer seems to be a safe bet for the manufacturer from Gothenburg.
The Swedish car market is relatively small and cannot be compared with German conditions. The speed on the country's highways is limited, economic life is concentrated in the two metropolises of Gothenburg and Stockholm. These are the best prerequisites if you want to electrify private transport. Moderate speeds on the autobahns help electric cars reach a long range, the electricity mix is greener but also more atomic than in Germany.
Reported for the month of June 2021 Bilsweden New registrations at pre-Corona level and almost every second new car is a hybrid or electric car. The distribution reflects what the government wants to achieve with the bonus / malus system. Sweden should go electric, combustion engines only have a future as classics and youngtimers.
MG - the invaders from China
The surprise in June was served by an intruder from China. MG announced the start of sales for the MG EHS Hybrid and the MG ZS electric car in April. The Comeback a big, old brand name that was also a topic here. A traditional British brand, once emotional and successful, now under Chinese management. Does she have a chance in Europe? Or does it take the path that is now Borgward goes? The former German brand is just saying goodbye to the automotive cosmos after a failed resurrection.
The MG brand name still seems to have a certain ring to it in Sweden, and the brand has the perfect product at the right time. In June, the all-electric MG ZS SUV - caution shock - took second place among the Swedish new registrations. With 2 copies just behind the Volvo V / S1665 series and more than 60 copies before the Volvo XC100. The XC60, which received a facelift with the 60 model year, is also being hard pressed by the Tesla 2022 and can only barely defend its rank.
In 5th place, and far behind the Tesla, VW follows with the ID.4. A bitter lesson to think about for Gothenburg and Wolfsburg.
Full equipment for € 30.000
Why is it that MG was able to land a surprise coup? A couple of things seem to make the difference. When Polestar brought the first electric cars to Sweden, the motor press was immediately filled with reports of problems. VW felt the same way. Software bugs, e-cars that refused to work and did not want to be charged. From MG you hear - yes, you typed correctly - nothing at all. SAIC has a lead of 10 years in experience and 100 electric cars are already on the road in China.
Then there is the overall package. A range of 263 kilometers according to WLTP fits into everyday life, in Sweden the MG costs around € 33.000 in Germany just over 30.000. Fully equipped, with a panoramic roof and everything that goes with it. You also have to keep in mind that you would only get half a Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric for an MG, without extras of course. The high price policy of the strategists from Gothenburg seems to be reaching its limits.
Years ago I saw that the Chinese can routinely build cars that prove themselves in everyday life erfahren. The cars will have gotten even better since then, and if a little tweaking is missing, the price makes up for it. But especially when it comes to the legendary fine-tuning, the Europeans shouldn't lean so far out of the window anymore.
A warning to Europeans
At the weekend I was out with a friend and his new electric car. A German make, list price € 101.000. A car that, contrary to the assumption suggested by the price tag, is beyond perfect and that disappoints in many small details. A lot of cheap plastic in the interior, a chassis that does not meet the brand and its premium standards. A power consumption that in practice is 40% higher than that of the MG EV. And that at a price of more than 3 MG ZS.
Is this the future we mean and the antidote to Chinese products?
In addition to Tesla, the Chinese are now attacking. With a lot of practical experience and aggressive prices. It almost goes without saying that an MG ZS will never win a comparison test by a German car magazine. However, the price, full equipment and sophisticated electrical engineering are pluses that could reach the buyer.
The rapid change in the Swedish car market shows what can happen in Germany in the next few years. Especially when a nationwide speed limit will level the acceptance for even more electric driving.
In Sweden, MG Motors Europe is officially taking it easy. At the market launch, it was announced that it was primarily targeting young customers who were open to electric drives. 4000 vehicles are to be sold in Sweden in 2021 and the MG ZS should become the country's most popular electric car within 3 years.
It looks like this will go a lot faster. I will stay tuned.