MG Motor is equipped with great resources to make a world class SUV for India
MG Motor, a.k.a. Morris Garages is a British sports car manufacturer which is owned by China’s biggest car maker, SAIC. Producing close to 70 lakh cars a year (in comparison, Maruti Suzuki produces around 15 lakh cars a year), SAIC is a massive automaker with separate joint ventures with GM and Volkswagen among many other commercial JVs. They are foraying into the Indian car market with the MG brand (Roewe is a sister brand) next year and we visited the company’s design centre, R&D centre, manufacturing facility and proving ground in China to understand the capabilities of the auto giant.
The company’s R&D centre has the latest technology and they do a crazy amount of tests to ensure longevity of vehicles and their parts. MG Motor UK has a technical and design centre, to keep the brand as British as possible. We saw the MG E-Motion EV sports car in person and it look gorgeous. The attention to detail on this concept vehicle is simply outstanding and it’s set to go into production in 2020. The MG plant we visited, produces close to 2.8 lakh units per annum. With MG sales increasing by 50% every year, SAIC has to add a new plant every year to fulfil demand.
The kind of investments being made on the MG brand shows their seriousness
But they say the proof of the pudding, is in the eating, so they took us to their Guangde Proving Ground which is the largest such facility in the whole of Asia. Developed in collaboration with GM, with an investment of Rs. 16,000 crores, the company can enable vehicle testing under 67 different driving conditions. This facility was an eye opener and to sum it in one word, it’s massive. We sampled MG and Roewe cars here.
eMG6 – This is a hybrid and the sedan looks quite attractive, it gets a notchback body style. Producing 228 PS and 622 Nm, the eMG6 is smooth off the line with great refinement to boot. It accelerates linearly, body roll is well contained although there is some roll and tendency to understeer at the limit with the steering having decent feel too. The interior is well laid out, there is a KERS button on the centre console and this car can go 53 kms on pure electric range alone. We drove this vehicle flat out and found the handling to be eager. The cabin feels nice with good amount of space at the rear.
MG HS – Moving on to the car which I personally was very inclined to drive, the MG HS is a Hyundai Creta sized SUV which draws power from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that outputs 231 PS and 360 Nm, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Power delivery is linear, NVH is super and the cabin felt nice, albeit with a lot of influence from other cars like the side AC vents, infotainment screen, driver power window controls, switches around the gear lever, front seats, steering wheel and tachometer seem to be inspired from an A3, BMW 7-Series, Mercedes S-Class, Audi, Mercedes A-Class, Volkswagen and Aston Martin respectively.
Somehow, the design just looks right in spite of the inspiration and gives a very premium appeal to the cabin. Even the rear seat has good amount of space and the ride felt comfortable on the rough roads of the track where the company perfects the ride and handling balance of its vehicles. The exterior does look appealing but with some Volvo XC40 influence at the front. However the neat proportions give it good presence.