MG’s expanding global presence

By Jong Arcano Philippine Daily Inquirer January 23,2019

THE ZS is MG’s best-selling model

When money is not a problem, some of the bigger challenges that come with the takeover of a heritage brand like Morris Garages (MG) are expanding its influence and keeping its legacy.

Doomsayers were quick to dismiss Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation’s capability to handle a brand as renowned as MG when the Chinese finally laid claim to the iconic British auto company in 2007.

They were wrong.

Twelve years later, MG is now one of the fastest-growing brands in the world, with models that are in step with—or disputably even ahead of—the innovations made by Japanese, German and American automakers.

After a massive spending blitz on R&D, infrastructure, and the best automotive minds on earth, the MG brand is now considered a global threat, if not a looming giant.

MG’s influence now covers at least five of the seven continents. In Latin America alone, progressive countries like Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Uruguay are all embracing the MG presence.

In 2018, MG sold nearly 10,000 units in the region, with a year-on-year growth over 90 percent. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sales of the overachieving brand also shot up 446 percent in Australia and 332 percent in the Midldle East.

MG Philippines president Atty. Albert Arcilla and and marketing chief Lyn Buena

In Thailand where it built its first manufacturing plant in the region, there’s a 124 percent jump with whopping 27,155 unit sales recorded.

Now MG is ready to conquer more territories—and the Philippines, fortunately, is one of SAIC’s next targets.

SAIC flaunted its capability to achieve this before members of the Philippine media whose eyes rolled at every aspect of the automotive assets presented them in a familiarization trip at the MG base in Shanghai, China.

There was the SAIC Design Center where the long, meticulous process of producing a car with the MG badge is hatched. It is in this building where ideas are merged, and collaborations with satellite teams called “Innovation Centers” outside of China are forged.

The Philippine contingent to the MG familiarization trip, with SAIC executives at the SAIC Plant in Lingang province, Shanghai

One of the design chiefs wasted no time introducing everyone to MG’s design philosophy, which is Emotional Dynamism that focuses on premium experience and commitment to quality.

Deep down a hundred kilometers to the east of Shanghai is the sprawling manufacturing plant of SAIC in Lingang province that is probably thrice the size of the Mall of Asia.

This is where most of the MG cars sold in China and sent to various markets are built, with robotics playing a big role.

As busy as the noodle makers are feeding tourists in downtown Shanghai, workers positioned in different test labs are kept on their toes making sure that the engine plant, its heart and soul, is functioning well, quietness is achieved inside the vehicle (NVH chamber), and is safe against the elements (climatic wind tunnel) before rolled out for final checking.

Winding up the trip, the journalists—all bundled up due to the biting cold in Shanghai—found themselves behind the wheel of the best MGs at the Tianma Circuit.

The Climatic Wind Tunnel is one of the many test labs at the SAIC plant

It was a close encounter with the third kind, or to put it more aptly, three kinds, as the ZS compact crossover, the eMG 6 hybrid compact sedan and MG’s turbocharged flagship, the HS SUV, were made available for testing and scrutiny.

Capable engines, world-class ergonomics, rigid suspension, and superb technology are all wrapped in a fine metal cover that MG is offering.

Starting this year, MG’s ZS brand will be available in the Philippines for as low as P818,888.

A comprehensive introduction to the brand at the SAIC Design Center

Not lacking but very much deserving of superlatives, the consensus was that MG is ready to wield a bigger presence on the Philippine roads.

MG is distributed in the Philippines by The Covenant Cars Company, Inc. Visit their dealerships for a test drive.

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