MG is the fastest-growing Chinese car brand in Australia, with sales up 176.9 per cent last year largely on the back of the ZS SUV. The company hasn't given up on conventional passenger cars, though, and it's embracing both hybrid and battery-electric vehicles.
Daniel Gregorious, MG Motor UK’s head of sales and marketing, told Autocar the next model line from the brand will be a small wagon that’ll be available only with a battery-electric powertrain. It’ll be around the same size as a Ford Focus wagon.
In addition to the as-yet unnamed wagon, MG will soon export its eHS plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – although not to Australia, where it will rely on the ZS EV (due to land in the second half of 2020) to push its green credentials.
Based on the new HS SUV, the eHS mates a 123kW turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engine with a 90kW electric motor and a 16.6kWh battery pack. A hefty 480Nm of torque is also expected.
Gregorious confirmed the HS could also support a battery-electric variant like the smaller eZS (ZS EV), though no decision has been made yet.
He told Autocar that, should the eHS and electric wagon prove commercially successful, MG’s next move will be to bring the E-Motion sports car concept (below) to production.
The slinky, electric grand tourer concept used a battery-electric powertrain, said to achieve an electric driving range of 500km and a 0-100km/h time of under 4 seconds.
MG officials have said development of the E-Motion is ongoing but no production date has been indicated.
Gregorious said, "The car is still in our plans and it will make a great halo flagship car."
"We're only planning one model like it at present. But if we can do well with mainstream models, there could be plenty of opportunity for more sporty models in the future."
Though MG SUV sales have been growing, the brand’s passenger car record under SAIC Motor ownership has been mixed.
Last year, the MG 3 was only the eighth-best selling car in its class, though it’s continuing to improving.
The defunct MG 6, however, was a flop here and in markets like the UK. A redesigned, second-generation model was introduced in China in 2017, but it wasn't exported here or to the UK.
A battery-electric wagon will be a first for the MG brand and a unique product. While small electric wagons like the Buick Velite 6 are available in China, there are no such models available in the UK or Australia.
The bulk of MG's models are SUVs, including some models not sold here.
On MG's positioning, Gregorious said, "We don't want to be the cheapest... We want to offer value for money, but also offer an aspirational product we can legitimately sell on its quality. We see people moving happily out of Fords and Nissans into MGs."
The company maintains an engineering presence in the UK, if not a manufacturing one.
There, sales have trebled over the past three years. MG also exports cars to markets as far afield as South America and the Middle East.