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Could MG find success in the small-car segment with the Toyota Corolla-rivalling MG5 sedan and wagon?

The new-generation MG5 sedan's bold design leaked earlier this year.

Reborn British automaker, MG, has risen to success in Australia since Chinese parent company SAIC turned it around with an onslaught of fresh models.

Key amongst them was the MG3, which has defied market trends by essentially becoming a runaway success in the light car market where traditional Japanese rivals like the Honda Jazz have been sent packing by price and spec pressures.

Priced from just $16,490 drive-away, the MG3 is one of the most affordable new cars in Australia, and while it might lack some of the advanced safety kit of its rivals, it has proved popular with people who still just want a cheap set of wheels.

The MG3 has filled a void left by a shrinking list of small car competitors. The MG3 has filled a void left by a shrinking list of small car competitors.

So, could MG replicate this strategy and steal sales from the likes of the Skoda Octavia or Mazda3 with its soon-to-launch-internationally MG5 sedan and wagon? We put the question to brand product director, Danny Lenartic who explained that nothing from MG’s parent company SAIC is off the table at this time.

“The MG5 – as a platform [meaning both sedan and wagon] – is under evaluation,” he said. “Sedans still have a place in Australia, we could absolutely replicate [the MG3 strategy] in that segment.”

However, the Australian division can also tap into MG's sister brand, Roewe, to fill its stable, Mr Lenartic said, while also pointing out the sales success of the HS mid-size SUV.

The MG5 plug-in hybrid wagon confirmed to be heading to the right-hand-drive United Kingdom is essentially a re-badged version of a Chinese-market Roewe model.

A version of the MG5 PHEV wagon will be made in right-hand drive for the UK market. A version of the MG5 PHEV wagon will be made in right-hand drive for the UK market.

Mr Lenartic was keen to point out that MG Motor was determined not to be seen as just a “Chinese product” but as an “international brand with global thinking”. He said this strategy was responsible for SAIC investing in right-hand-drive infrastructure and technology, recognising the need to overcome “tooling and testing” issues faced by other global brands.

New models might be further down the line though, as MG Motor Australia is currently focused on the launch of the ZST small SUV and its ZS electric variant for the duration of 2020.

The MG ZST just launched as a separate line to the existing ZS, despite being a full model update overseas. MG is using this dual-pronged strategy to offer both a “value” and “premium” product to its consumer base. The fully electric eZS will also launch before the end of 2020 promising to be Australia’s cheapest mainstream electric vehicle.