MG is, sadly, another one of those brands whose every mentions inspires us to ask, “Is it still around?” Yes, it is, and when you string the past two year’s headlines together you can see that parent company SAIC is serious about making it work: Autocar saying the MG6 is better to drive than the Ford Focus Zetec S, opening a European design center at its Longbridge, UK site, working a deal to sell its products through European GM dealers, the Zero and Icon concepts and an entry into the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with a double-Championship-winning driver.
Although MG sells nearly 100,000 cars in China, the MG6 hasn’t done so well in its home market of the UK, the only other place it is available, moving less than 1,000 units in a year. But a report in Automotive News Europe claims that the brand plans to mimic the trail blazed by another Asian dark horse currently stomping all over the Euro market, Kia, by focusing on design. The brand has a former Nissan design exec spearheading efforts in Europe, but we won’t really know what kind of design MG aims to storm the market with until its MG3 and MG5 arrive in the coming years.
MG plans to begin distributing products in the Benelux countries next year, and a side benefit of success on The Continent would be greater sales in China, whose buyers (like so many others) want to buy into European cachet. Skeptics wonder, though, if SAIC is really ready to do everything that Kia did to earn its market position, noting that the Korean maker didn’t just poach Peter Schreyer from Audi and develop a compelling design language, it invested in R&D, manufacturing, sales and marketing in Europe to comprehensively support its hot-looking products.