Buyers on a budget have helped push the MG3 to the top of the sales charts in the city-car class – even though the vehicle only has a three-star safety rating.
The MG3 costs from $16,690 drive-away, undercutting most rivals – especially since price rises were applied to other popular models such as the Kia Rio, Mazda3, Toyota Yaris and Suzuki Swift, all of which have a five-star safety rating.
The MG3 has led the city-car class – defined as “Light Cars” according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – for five months in a row for the first time ever, and now leads the category so far this year.
According to official sales data, 1554 examples of the MG3 hatchback were reported as sold in September 2020, an increase of 86 per cent compared to the same month the previous year.
MG is one of a number of Chinese brands making inroads while Japanese and Korean car makers have increased prices in recent months.
While sales of established brands such as Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Nissan and Suzuki have been in decline, MG has increased its sales and is expanding its dealer network, including taking over former Holden showrooms.
MG has reported 9628 cars as sold in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 61 per cent in a market that was down by 20 per cent.
While the brand currently ranks 17th outright year-to-date, industry analysts forecast it is on track to land in the Top 10 some time in the next two to three years.
One industry expert described MG as “the new Hyundai but will hit the big time in half the time”.
Meanwhile a dealer source claims MG reported fewer cars than it in fact delivered last month, because it wants to carry over a portion of the sales into October.
Numerous dealer sources say MG is focused on cracking the Top 10 in record time, and the company has recently hired former senior executives from Hyundai and Kia.
“While most of the Top 10 brands are increasing prices, this is playing right into (MG’s) hands," said one dealer source. "They’re just grabbing market share month after month. Before you know it they will be in the Top 10 and people will be scratching their heads and wondering where they came from.”
Although the MG brand has been sold locally in various guises over the past decade or so, it has only been in Australia under the current direct ownership of its Chinese parent company since 2017.