Australia is an extremely important market to MG, given parent company SAIC’s plans for overseas expansion.
Chinese-owned MG says it's fully committed to Australia, as its parent company uses our market as a test bed for its western expansion.
“SAIC deliberately chose Australia to be its test market for a factory owned sales distribution business, so we are the first in the world, and therefore all eyes are definitely on us,” Lenartic said.
“We are definitely the test market. [We are] extremely competitive and very mature, so let’s test and evolve, and be the focus of branching out to North America and others. If we can crack the Australian market, North American would definitely be the next step.”
The local MG operation now has 18 dealers and is rapidly expanding, with June set to be the brand's best month with around 300 sales.
“Two years ago people were saying ‘are you going to be one the Chinese brands that don’t commit fully to the market?’" Lentartic said.
"MG is here to stay, SAIC is committed to that. We have an aggressive growth strategy, we want to become a household brand again, and we definitely haven’t forgotten our roots – and we understand that the racing heritage is part of that DNA, and we think we will over time we'll prove that."
Even so, the challenge ahead isn't being taken lightly. If nothing else, the path to a successful new-brand launch been laid out by Japanese and the Korean brands in western markets over the years – something Chinese manufacturers appreciate.
“It has been proven over time that the Koreans and Japanese before us have done a fantastic job for setting up a pathway for success, Lenartic explained.
"We are pretty fortunate to be able to analyse what they’ve done well and what they haven’t done well, and hopefully halve the timing for us to become a household brand – but it all comes down to product, having dealers in the right locations and making sure we are priced accordingly to the market perception.
"There is no silver bullet, it’s all hard work.”