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MG cars are back via China

The iconic British MG brand is back in Australia, but not as we know it.

The British sports car brand MG has snuck back into Australia after an absence of seven years by setting up shop in one of Australia's most prominent showrooms, the former Rick Damelian site on Parramatta Road at Leichhardt.

But anyone expecting an imminent revival of the sports-cars that made the brand famous in the 1960s and ’70s may be in for a shock. The new-age MG line-up is a pair of rather sedate small cars: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatch similar in size to a Toyota Corolla and powered by a modest four-cylinder engine.

News Limited approached two Chinese workers at the site today who were preparing the cars, and asked when the dealership would open, but representatives from the iconic British brand indicated they did not speak English.

There were about 50 newly-delivered MG cars at the former Rick Damelian site – once famous for its giant neon love heart to highlight the car of the week – and there were four cars in the showroom, but no information about when the doors would open.

The latest MG model was designed and engineered in England but made in China. The MG brand was last sold in Australia in 2005 but all remaining MGs and Rovers were sold in a distress sale before the company was bought by a Chinese firm.

MG has had a pot-holed history over the past two decades and has never returned to its halcyon days. It was bought by German car maker BMW in 1994 (along with Rover cars and Land Rover four-wheel-drives) who tried to revive the brand.

But BMW sold the business just six years later, in 2000, to the new former MG Rover Group. The new owners again tried to reverse the brand’s fortunes and expand its range with a small hatch and sedan to get economies of scale that would make sports-car operations more viable.

But that plan failed as well and the MG Rover brand was bought in 2005 by China’s Nanjing Automobile Group, which was later bought by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation in 2007.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 3 comments

  • By the sounds of these sceptics who have not driven or seen one close to, they will be in for a rude shock. The only thing that is missing, well two, the first a lack of an automatic and the other is power. Well that's my opinion from having just driven one. The UK cars are almost 100% Chinese so our cars will be to the same high standard.

    Andrew Regens of Melbourne Posted on 20 February 2013 7:08am
  • MG? About as much as fried rice. Get close to one of these things and basically see and poorly assembled, low quality car with little innovation or engineering positives. A run of the mill vehicle by a company desperate to cash in a brand name that deserves better. I have driven one of these things, they are underpowered, things fall off them and they handle like crap. An insult to the MG brand and heritage. Granted, MG never made great cars, but they had a sporting flair, interesting design and were fun to drive. If one desires an economical, reliable, quality hatchback or sedan buy a Hyundai or Toyota. As Chery are learning one has to discount the hell out of low rent Chinese cars to sell them in Australia. We have been spoilt by quality offerings. After all do you buy your take away Chinese from McDonalds?

    Simon Hunter of Sydney Posted on 31 January 2013 7:38pm
  • amazing I think I will buy a new MG because of the the quality Chinese manufactured vehicles that dominate the industry worldwide... oh wait a minute...weren't the Chinese run out of Europe due to the shoddy and abhorrent quality of their builds! Maybe people would be better off sticking with Japanese, Korean or Singaporean made Fords/Holdens

    Peter of Melbourne Posted on 29 January 2013 8:09pm

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