The readers know about mine affinity to the MG brand. A roadster from 1971 laid the foundation stone, and it stayed with me for a long time. I never lost my youthful bond with the legend from Abingdon, the comeback in Europe has been going on for several months. A not unexciting story. After all, do legends stand a chance when they strive back on the stage? It didn't work at Borgward, as we know today. At MG, as you can see with respect.
MG started in Europe two years ago. Slow and restrained, knowing that the brand never completely disappeared from its English homeland. There was almost always something for sale from MG. Sometimes vehicles that came as kits from China were assembled on the island. Or there were pure imports and by the way you could buy “real” MG new cars. Ambitious companies in Great Britain use old vehicles as a basis, install new technology and put the evolution on the road as a small series. An MGB then has 300 hp, a GT as a tourer just over 200.
In any case, the brand has never been dead.
It is therefore not surprising that the island remains MG’s main market. In the first 9 months of 2021, 22.932 new cars with the Octagon were sold in the United Kingdom. 14.288 found their way to the European continent and year-on-year growth was almost 100%. The brand is marching particularly successfully on the mainland with a growth of 215%.
A very simple recipe.
MG does everything right on the comeback and follows a very simple recipe. The sales network is growing rapidly, and in the summer the brand already had 50 sales agents under contract in Germany. There should be 100 by the end of the year, and the brand keeps the barriers to entry low. For a small 5-digit amount, the partner can attach the MG octagon to the facade, but the premium brands don't even have a set of mandatory floor tiles.
The margins for the agent, MG concludes all contracts with the customer, are attractive. The deal is risk-free as the agent only acts as an intermediary.
Transparent prices, no discounts, aggressive leasing rates.
The pricing is simple. There is a manageable number of colors and equipment lines and battery capacities. The prices are transparent, the order can be placed online, the delivery takes place via an MG agent. This is how car sales work in the age of mobile devices.
The leasing rates, which play a bigger role with electric cars than with traditional combustion engines, are interesting. Last week MG provided the Marvel R Electric before. An SUV in an attractive design, which is optionally available with all-wheel drive and a range of up to 402 kilometers. The performance of the entry-level model with rear-wheel drive is 180 hp, the top version has 288 hp on four driven wheels.
Of course, the basic equipment already includes a heat pump and the Marvel R Electric can supply other electric cars or end devices with power. An innovation for which Sono Motors was celebrated years ago. Unfortunately without bringing the associated product onto the street so far.
The prices for the stylish MG Marvel R start in Germany from € 42.990,00. The leasing conditions are aggressive. In Sweden, where the price level is slightly higher, the Marvel R costs the equivalent of € 360,00 per month for a private customer. That is more than € 100,00 less than comparable models from the VW Group cost.
An electric station wagon at a competitive price.
It is almost certain that MG will continue to march successfully. The next model appears MG5 Electric. MG is thus venturing into a market segment that is as good as orphaned. There are no electric station wagons, the majority of manufacturers rely on SUVs.
It could work out. Because the MG5 is an electric car that, because of its values, could cause some to ponder. The 61.1 kWh battery should enable a WLTP range of 400 kilometers, later followed by a smaller battery with 50.3 kWh, which should be good for 320 kilometers.
The cargo space offers 420 liters, by folding it should be almost 1.400 liters. The price for the station wagon is aggressive, it should hit the market in early 2022 for less than € 30.000.
How things will go in the future.
Behind MG is SAIC, the largest automaker from the Chinese People's Republic. MG shows very clearly how things will go in the future. While Volkswagen dreams of distributing updates to customers every 16 weeks in the future and considers itself a visionary, the clock rate is higher elsewhere.
In Sweden, the MG ZS is one of the vehicles that can be found at the very front of the registrations. Sometimes even before Volvo and Volkswagen, if enough vehicles are delivered. To ensure that this remains the case, the ranges are now being increased. The long-range variant provides 440 kilometers, an 11 kW 3-phase on-board charger ensures shorter charging times and the MG iSmart from the new MG Marvel R for more connectivity. There are no longer any improvements to hardware and software based on model years. They come faster and faster.
Not from Abingdon anymore - doesn’t matter?
Of course, it helps to succeed that MG was never completely dead. The brand has an enormous fan base worldwide, classic MG can be seen at every classic car meeting and in road traffic. In addition, SAIC has so far resisted the temptation to fundamentally modernize the sacred octagon, MG's trademark. It still looks like it was in 1971 when my roadster was produced.
But, MG doesn't build cars in Abingdon anymore. Probably never again. Just as Polestar is a purely Chinese brand that (currently) only produces in China, so is MG. Of course, vehicles from Volvo and BMW and from the PSA Group are now coming from China without anyone noticing.
Cars, and especially mobile devices, have become global assets. MG is nevertheless, or perhaps for this reason, successful. A comeback can work, fortunately Borgward is not everywhere.
What about Saab? What if someone got the license, had it produced in China, and then tried a comeback in Sweden and Europe? Borgward or MG? Would a comeback work?
With images from MG Germany