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MG to introduce Kia Carnival rival 'when the time is right': How the challenger brand plans to compete in almost every segment

MG has its sights set on more vehicle segments where rivals are under-performing.

MG Motor Australia has reiterated that it doesn’t want to delve into the lucrative ute market in Australia but has singled out people movers as a segment it could enter in the near future.

When asked about the people-mover segment at the launch of the ZS EV, the CEO of MG’s local division, Peter Ciao, told CarsGuide: “We want to introduce an MPV, but we’re waiting for the right time.”

What could that look like? It’s no stretch of the imagination when looking at MG’s international sister brands, Maxus (known as LDV in Australia) and Roewe (a luxury brand under MG’s SAIC Motor parent company), which produce a large number of people movers in all different sizes.

Mr Ciao singled out the Roewe iMax8 people mover as a particularly exciting possibility for MG in Australia, as well as suggesting an incoming all-electric version would suit the brand’s electrification strategy well.

The iMax8 would need a visual overhaul and a name change to gel with the brand's range in Australia. The iMax8 would need a visual overhaul and a name change to gel with the brand's range in Australia.

Currently there is one SAIC people mover on sale in Australia under the LDV banner, the G10. It has managed to capture almost 10 per cent of the people-mover segment in 2020.

The iMax8 is larger than the G10, however, closer in dimensions to the people mover segment-dominating Kia Carnival.

The Carnival currently owns a 56.6 share of the people-mover segment in Australia, moving 3263 units so far in 2020. Its next closest rival is the ageing Honda Odyssey, which has a measly 15.3 per cent market share. It also may not live beyond its current iteration.

With the discontinuation of the popular Toyota Tarago (replaced by the arguably too-big Granvia), the stagnation of the Hyundai iMax’s market share, and the relatively low impact of VW and Mercedes on the segment for private buyers, it leaves yet another ample opportunity for the now-China-bred MG to make ground.

The Carnival-sized iMax8 could pick up the slack left by an ageing Honda Odyssey and discontinued Toyota Tarago. The Carnival-sized iMax8 could pick up the slack left by an ageing Honda Odyssey and discontinued Toyota Tarago.

The Roewe iMax8 measures 5016mm long, 1909mm wide, and 1782mm high, making it overall slightly smaller but similar in size to the Kia Carnival. It is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine which produces 172kW/360Nm mated to an Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. It can be had in a seven-seat layout (much like the Granvia) and features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.25-inch a touchscreen multimedia system, as well as safety refinements like auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. It launched in 2020 in its home market of China, and a fully electrified version is in the works.

Meanwhile, over at Maxus, a similarly sized and specified people mover called the Euniq 7 could also potentially open another opportunity for MG or LDV. It is also a more luxury-focused seven-seat people mover but swaps out a traditional drivetrain for a 150kW hydrogen electric system offering fast refuelling and a 605km range.

SAIC Motor's international catalogue also features hydrogen electric models alongside pure EV drivetrains. SAIC Motor's international catalogue also features hydrogen electric models alongside pure EV drivetrains.

MG has said in the past it is targeting a top-10 position in Australia, and is rapidly making ground with its budget-focused MG3 hatch (now the light-car segment leader), ZS small SUV, and HS mid-size SUV. Mr Ciao provided context for his "right time" comment on the introduction of a people mover by saying the brand first wants to introduce a "Tiguan-sized five- and seven-seat SUV" likely slotting into the range above the HS.