MG has relaunched in Australia under the watchful eye of Chinese owners, SAIC Motor.
SAIC is China’s largest carmaker and, after taking over MG in 2006, an attempt to return to the Australian market through a local distributor operation was made back in 2013.
After failing to make an impact, the iconic British badge has now returned, launching the 2017 MG 3 hatch and 2017 MG 6 Plus fastback in Sydney this week.
According to MG Motor Australia, things are very different, this time around – and it is determined to make it work.
Business development senior manager of MG Motor Australia, Andrew Huenerbein, said the Australian market is very important to the Chinese company.
“This is quite a strategic move for SAIC. It sets them up for other western markets,” Huenerbein said. “The owner-operated and owned distributorship will make a huge difference.
“SAIC is a company that sold up to six million cars last year, and came in at number 46 on the Fortune Global 500 list. It has a lot of weight and a lot of depth to it. So it’s really going to punch us through, going forward.
“And the MG brand, with the kudos it has, and its heritage; those things combine to make a very unique position for a new entrant into the marketplace.” he said.
For MG Motor Australia, the focus will be squarely on developing the dealer network as the brand attempts to cement a sustainable presence in our market – but it admits there will be challenges and needs to take the time to do it properly.
Huenerbein says the company’s top priorities will be “making sure our dealerships are engaged, that we have the right dealerships and those dealerships are actually customer-focused, and they represent the DNA of the brand.
“Choosing the right dealer, in the first place, will be very important. And one of the passions I have is building franchises and creating brands that are able to be sustainable so that the customer journey is reinforced by the fact that the business makes sense.
“So we have to take our time, we have to do it properly, do it right and really connect with the market,” he added.
MG says it has fielded a lot of interest from potential dealers, but can’t confirm the outlets at this point.
“We’re very conscious of making it right. We want to grow the network to the business model and we also want to grow the business in accordance with what we can deliver with our customers. It’s a real balancing act because we want to make sure we do this over a long period of time, that we make an established brand out of MG in Australia, actually adding to the community.
“We are in the final throes of the negotiation process with some of our dealers. We’re very excited by the amount of interest that we’ve had and that passion is part of what MG is.”
MG has a rich history and fans of the iconic car are still active in clubs across Australia. But MG has always been a niche brand and marketing and communications senior manager for MG Australia, Danny Lenartic, is confident that mould can be broken.
“Time will tell. If you look at any market, or any niche, there are many niches that have become mainstream just because they’ve won the popularity vote. And I believe the MG 3 and MG 6 will win the popularity vote because of the nuances,” Lenartic said.
Time will indeed tell just how well received the MG 3 and MG 6 Plus are in Australia. Both are set to go on sale here by the end of November.