British brand MG and its Chinese parent SAIC Motor are planning to pioneer a new generation of connectivity in cars, according to the company’s local arm.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the local launch drive of the new GS SUV, Danny Lenartic, senior manager for marketing and communications at MG Motor Australia, said in the near future he hopes that these developments will help people see Chinese car companies in a different light.
“We’re hoping to bring the people connectivity, innovation that’s never been seen before,” he said.
“SAIC having the first internet-ready car globally means that we’re already thinking about well beyond sitting in a car and driving it.”
“Will we be the only ones? Absolutely not. But will we be leading the charge? I’d like to think that we will be,” he added.
Last July SAIC collaborated with Chinese technology giant Alibaba to create the world’s first ‘smartcar’ (above and below), complete with its own operating system.
Based on the Chinese-market Roewe RX5 SUV, the Alibaba smartcar runs the company’s YunOS operating system, which allows it to automatically pay for fuel, parking and tolls.
Each smartcar equipped with Alibaba’s operating system has its own unique ID that allows the vehicle to recognise different users and make suggestions for the climate control, music and nearby restaurants based on previous journeys
YunOS will also be made open to developers, which allows for third-party apps to be installed and provide even more functionality at the driver’s fingertips.
While this kind of technology is still some way off for Australian motorists, Lenartic says the brand is firmly committed to the Australian market, evident in the company’s six year, unlimited kilometre warranty with six years roadside assistance.
MG Australia’s communications boss added: “I want [the brand] to be connected to the customers, and when I mean connected I would like it to be part of an overall ecosystem where MG and the car is one part of that”.
The brand’s first-ever SUV – the mid-size GS – launches in Australia this week, starting at $23,990 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Vivid manual and climbing to $34,990 before ORCs for the 162kW/350Nm flagship Essence X.
You can read our full MG GS pricing and specs article here.