Chinese car maker SAIC has announced that it will begin its operations in India from the year 2019, and it will do so by introducing the MG Motor brand. The company had acquired the British marque over a decade ago, after it collapsed. SAIC is expected to buy the beleaguered GM India Halol factory as well as use GM's existing dealership network in India to expedite the process of getting the cars to the market. MG Motors has a relatively small line-up globally and we expect them to bring it here as well. Here are the cars MG Motors might offer in the Indian market.
1. MG GS
It's a known fact that us Indians love SUVs, so it's obvious that SAIC will introduce its latest range here. The MG GS is the company's family sized, soft-roader and it looks quite interesting. The GS is based on a modular SUV platform and measures 4,500mm long, 1,855mm wide and 1,665mm high. These dimensions are pretty close to that of the Hyundai Tucson's which should give you a fair idea of where this SUV will be positioned at.
In the UK, the MG GS is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol motor while a 1.6 litre diesel will follow soon. Expect the company to introduce both powertrains in India.
On the inside, the dashboard looks quite modern and in line with most European crossovers, in terms of layout. The strip of black, piano finish, however, would be a pain to keep free of fingerprints though. The centre console also looks a bit cluttered with an array of buttons.
The GS is available in three trims- Explore, Excite and Exclusive.
2. MG XS
The MG XS was showcased recently, and is based on the bigger, GS SUV. The XS looks a lot more stylish though and the compact SUV is aimed squarely at the likes of the Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Creta. The XS is designed by SAIC design, a division of MG's parent company. It looks modern which also make the XS look a little more upmarket than the GS. It is expected to get two petrol engines. First is a 123PS, 1.0-litre turbocharged unit and a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated motor, based on the MG 3. Expect MG to introduce a diesel motor, some time in the future.
The interior looks markedly better than the GS', with a modern dashboard layout and a large touchscreen infotainment system. The sporty, flat bottomed steering wheel and body coloured, circular AC vents at the extreme ends look good too.
The XS is regarded as an important model in MG Motors' line up globally, and by the looks of it, the XS will play a pivotal role in establishing the MG brand in India. Expect three trim levels when the XS goes on sale in India
The 3 is MG's hatchback that is expected to go up against the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and the Hyundai Elite i20. At first glance, the MG 3 looks good, with quite a European flair to its design. The car is available with one engine option only, a 1.5-litre petrol. The motor produces 105PS and is mated to a five-speed manual.
However, the segment players in India have refined and frugal diesel powertrains too and MG Rover may need to consider a diesel mill for the MG3. The strong points of the MG3 include a spacious cabin and a long list of features. However, the hatchback segment is a difficult one to crack, and it'll be interesting to see what MG Motors or SAIC has in store for India.
The MG6 is the sole sedan from the Brit manufacturer that will go on sale, initially and one of its USPs is the space it has on offer, in comparison to its direct rivals. The MG6 gets a four cylinder, 1.9-litre diesel motor that puts out 148PS at 4,000rpm and 350Nm at 1,800rpm. The company claims that the car can sprint from 0-100kmph in 8.4 seconds and go up to a top speed of close to 200kmph.
The MG 6 measures 4,651mm long, 1,827mm wide and 1,472mm tall which makes it longer than rivals such as the Hyundai Elantra. The list of features is also quite long, which is a must if it needs to stand up against the Korean carmaker.
While the model line may look promising, there are various other aspects that need to be considered when entering the Indian market. Among this, the most crucial is after sales which can make or break a deal. Hopefully by the time they go on sale, MG Motors' will have sorted out the sales and service aspect.