SAIC Motor planning model onslaught

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Chinese automotive giant SAIC Motor has confirmed plans to launch a number of new passenger car and SUV models before the end of the decade, though whether some or all of these new vehicles will be sold globally is still to be confirmed.

Speaking to the media in Shanghai this week, Zhang Liang, product portfolio planning director at SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicles (SMPV), the parent of MG Cars, said the company is planning five new passenger car models and nine new SUVs across the MG and Roewe brands to be launched (in China at least) by the year 2020.

These new models will also debut three new vehicle platforms, codenamed ZP, AP, and IP, along with more than 10 “new energy” variants - which refers to hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and electric (EV) models.

Further to the expansive model rollout, SAIC plans to offer intelligent connectivity solutions across all new model lines - first seen in the Roewe RX5 ‘smartcar’, which features its own operating system sourced from technology giant Alibaba.


Above: Roewe RX5, top: MG ZS

Liang likened the process of buying and owning a car to finding your “second wife”, considering the owner’s emotional attachment and everyday dependability on a vehicle - though this line of thought is obviously a very male-driven concept.

SAIC’s product boss said one’s second wife (or partner) needed four main things; a good heart (engine), intelligence (connectivity), looks (styling), and health (quality).

Liang said the company is now at a point where most, if not all of its products don’t have any significant defects or weaknesses, and that now it must work to make sure its vehicles have something special, or something worth showing off.

Some of these points of difference will come from adaptive development for different global markets. For example, MG vehicles delivered to South America will feature upgraded large-ratio transmissions to deal with the high altitudes of the region, while models bound for the Middle East will have better air-conditioning systems to deal with the climate’s extreme heat.

MG GS - AARC - March 2017

Above: 2017 MG GS

Meanwhile, SAIC will do further emissions reduction development to meet the stricter regulations in Europe and the UK, while also prioritising safety to keep up with independent crash-testing authorities like Euro NCAP.

The company is confident that using its home market of China as a test bed will ensure success globally, considering the sheer size and tough competition in the region’s automotive industry.

It’s yet to be seen where Australia sits in SAIC’s plans, though MG’s local arm says it is committed to bringing competitive and safe vehicles, which will start with the recently-launched GS and the upcoming ZS SUVs - the latter should also debut some form of the internet-connected technology seen in the Roewe RX5.