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MG won't quit on cheap cars despite premium push

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MG has reaffirmed its commitment to offering a range of affordable models. (Image: Tom White)
MG has reaffirmed its commitment to offering a range of affordable models. (Image: Tom White)

MG has good news for Australian new car buyers, but bad news for its market rivals - it won’t be quitting on offering affordable cars anytime soon.

Despite the Chinese-owned brand recently confirming plans to offer the Cyberster electric sports car and likely a range of premium electric models that will push the brand past $100,000, that isn’t the company’s only direction.

A large part of MG’s relatively quick success in the Australian market can be attributed to its sharp pricing, with its cheapest models typically undercutting the competition. The brand’s current price-leader is the MG3 Core, priced from just $19,490 drive-away, compared to $19,690 plus on-road costs for the Kia Rio S and $24,800 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Toyota Yaris Ascent Sport.

MG Australia will be able to expand rapidly and push more upmarket thanks to it falling under the SAIC Motor (formerly Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) umbrella. That means it can draw from any of the SAIC Motor brand’s, with the exception of LDV, which has a separate distributor in Australia. Therefore, that means models from IM Motors, Maxus, Roewe and Rising Auto could all be sold in Australia with an MG badge.

While the IM Motors LS7 and L7 luxury cars are early targets, and will likely be expensive propositions, equally, the next-generation MG3 will be based on the Roewe i5 and will remain an affordable choice, according to a company spokesperson.

“We operate in a few segments but strongly believe our growing range with models like the LS6 under consideration from our parent company, SAIC, means with their support, we can expand our offering to people at all stages of their life from their first car, second, family car, performance car, luxury car and everything in between,” the spokesperson said.

“We currently offer a great selection for affordable entry into the new car segment with the ever so popular MG3 and our all new MG5 through to the feature packed ZS EV and HS Plus EV for families.”

According to the latest new car sales data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and covering January to August, MG is the seventh best-selling brand in the Australian market. More than half of its sales (55.1 per cent) are the ZS SUV, while a further 28 per cent are the MG3, highlighting the brand’s strength as an affordable brand.

MG Australia boss, Peter Ciao, told the media recently that the company has opted to not include some expensive safety features on the new MG5 small sedan in order to keep its starting price under $30,000.

But the premium push will begin soon, with the new MG4 XPower electric hot hatch set to arrive before the end of the year with a price above $70,000, with the Cyberster set to follow in 2024.

Despite such a sudden and dramatic increase in price Ciao is confident that the brand can support such expensive models.

“MG brand is [a] premium brand, this is a very good sport brand, so the price range I trust very, very wide,” Ciao said. “It is very easy to get over $100,000.”

Stephen Ottley
Contributing Journalist
Steve has been obsessed with all things automotive for as long as he can remember. Literally, his earliest memory is of a car. Having amassed an enviable Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection as a kid he moved into the world of real cars with an Alfa Romeo Alfasud. Despite that questionable history he carved a successful career for himself, firstly covering motorsport for Auto Action magazine before eventually moving into the automotive publishing world with CarsGuide in 2008. Since then he's worked for every major outlet, having work published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age,, Street Machine, V8X and F1 Racing. These days he still loves cars as much as he did as a kid and has an Alfa Romeo Alfasud in the garage (but not the same one as before... that's a long story).
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