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2021 MG5 confirmed for Australia! MG 'says yes' to Thai-built Toyota Corolla, Kia Cerato, Hyundai i30 and Mazda 3 rival

The MG5 is set to introduce the brand's "third-generation" design language and Thai-built MG models to Australia

The latest addition to MG’s international range, the MG5 sedan, will launch in Australia, as right-hand drive production has been confirmed.

Speaking at the launch of the keenly priced ZS EV, the brand’s local CEO, Peter Ciao, told CarsGuide when asked about the just-launched-in-China MG5: “We’ve said yes to the right-hand-drive model from Thailand. We want it.”

Mr Ciao was able to clarify the MG5 would be the first MG vehicle for Australia sourced from the right-hand-drive factory in Thailand, which currently produces the MG3 and ZS for the rest of South East Asia.

He was also able to confirm that the MG5 would be the sedan version which recently launched in China, and not the electric nor plug-in hybrid wagon versions which launched in the UK earlier this year.

“Wagons are not popular in Australia,” he said of the UK-market version, which is based on a car from MG’s sister brand Roewe in its Chinese home market.

The MG's Australian marketing boss, Danny Lenartic, told CarsGuide at the launch of the ZST that the brand was “very excited” for the MG5, but it was “dependant on other right-hand drive-markets to justify the scale for production” – a problem which has seemingly been overcome with confirmation of production at the Thai facility.

The MG5 is in a logical next segment for the challenger brand to attack. The MG5 is in a logical next segment for the challenger brand to attack.

The MG5 which will eventually hit Australian shores is roughly the same size as the Toyota Corolla sedan, and in left-hand drive can currently make use of either a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (127kW/275Nm) mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic, or a 1.5-litre non-turbo four-cylinder petrol engine (88kW/150Nm) mated to a continuously variable automatic (CVT).

Given how hard the brand is pushing its electrification strategy, we wouldn’t be surprised to see either a plug-in hybrid or all-electric version in the near future either.

The MG5 wears the brand’s third-generation design language and is capable of supporting the brand’s full safety suite as well as other high-end features like a digital instrument cluster. MG’s local representatives couldn’t offer more details on the MG5 for our market for the time being, simply stating it is “still under evaluation”.

The MG5's interior features a digital dash and large multimedia screen in higher specifications overseas. The MG5's interior features a digital dash and large multimedia screen in higher specifications overseas.

It is particularly curious that the right-hand-drive version for our market will be sourced from SAIC Motor’s Thai factory, as all of the MG products currently on sale in Australia are sourced from China. It could indicate a larger move for MG’s parent company SAIC to move all right-hand-drive production to the Thailand base, which was established to build the ZS in 2017.

MG has also made statements that it plans to extend its model line and market share further, with Mr Ciao declaring that the brand will be able to move 20,000 units next year “very easily”. To date this year, the reborn marque has managed to move just over 11,000 units, up 57 per cent over its 2019 tally.