CMH confirms future of MG in South Africa







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: May 8, 2014
Categories: MG, MG 3

CMH confirms future of MG in South Africa

  • New MG3 launch confirmed for 2nd half of 2014
  • Now manufactured in Thailand
  • MG sales in UK soar by 574% in 1Q2014
  • MG6 wins major international award

MG3

Its been a busy few weeks for MG South Africa executives attending important overseas and local discussions confirming an exciting future for MG in South Africa.

MG, locally distributed by Mandarin Motors as part of the massive Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) group of companies, received the green light from Chinese owners SAIC at talks coinciding with the Beijing Auto Show held last month.

This was based on the fact that a new plant in Thailand, where fully-imported MGs for the right-hand drive market (including South Africa, Australia and New Zealand) will be produced, is getting ready to start testing production by the end of this month.

MG3-South_Africa

RHD models for the UK market will still be produced at the SAIC plant in Shangai, China, but are exported in SKD form for final assembly in Britain.

Speaking of the UK market – MG sales have increased by nearly 600% in the 1st quarter of 2014, thanks to the launch of the MG3 supermini.

MG sales increased by 574% on the back of the new MG3 – to be launched in South Africa in the beginning of the second half of the year – confirming MG as the fastest growing manufacturer in the UK.

“The major reason for the repeated delays of the launch of MG3 in South Africa was because of an agreement between the Chinese giant – the owners of the iconic British brand – and MG in the UK, sending all models off the production line to the UK first, and then on to other markets,” explains MG South Africa General Manager Derrick Bishop.

“We would have launched the MG3 towards the end of last year, but because of supply issues and the UK getting first choice, we simply didn’t receive stock.”

MG3 sales in the UK sky-rocketed to give MG the biggest growth in March as well as the first quarter of the new year.

The Beijing Auto Show awarded an opportunity for Mandarin Motors executives to tackle the issue one on one with senior SAIC officials, and talks led to the assurance that South Africa will be supplied with some of the first models out of the new Thailand plant.

“We are looking at finally launching the MG3 super mini at the start of the second half of this year,” says Bishop.

The new MG3 series for the South African market will have three models – the flagship MG3 Style, the mid-range MG3 Wired and the entry level MG3. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.

All models are powered by a sporty DOHC VTi-TECH petrol engine with a 5-speed manual gearbox and have the same great MG chassis designed to make driving the MG3 a bit more fun than any average car in this segment. The 1,5ℓ engine delivers 78kW at 6 000 rpm and 137Nm of torque at 4 750 rpm, making it an easily driveable car. Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h is expected to be around 10 seconds, reaching a top speed in excess of 175 km/h.

Interestingly the latest MGs are attracting buyers who have never owned MGs before.

MG3_2014

  •  MG South Africa has also confirmed a new government tender for the MG6, which was signed off this week.

Currently available at all MG Dealers across South Africa, the popular MG6 – which was voted the best handling car in Auto Express Magazine’s 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey – will soon also be available from major car rental companies.

“We are ready for the MG3. We have 15 MG dealerships in all the major centres all over South Africa, with a further 10 planned to open this year,” says Bishop.

In recent months new MG dealerships have opened in Polokwane and Mokopane.

They join the ranks of existing MG dealers in Gauteng (East and West Rand), the Free State (Bloemfontein), Western Cape (Cape Town), KwaZulu-Natal (Umhlanga and Durban), Eastern Cape (East London and Port Elizabeth), Northern Cape (Kimberley), North West (Klerksdorp) and Mpumalanga (Nelspruit).