MG is back. The British motor company, which has seen more ups and downs than a bi-polar rollercoaster, has dusted off its production lines and will churn out three new cars for the UK and Europe.
New MG models will include the MG6 Fastback mid-sized family car, which will go on sale in April -- six years since the collapse of MG Rover. This will be followed shortly by the MG6 saloon and later the compact MG3 supermini, formerly known as the MG Zero concept car.
Though MG's re-emergence is powered by its Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) owners, the new cars aren't simply badge-engineered versions of existing Chinese vehicles. Both the MG3 and the MG6, also known as the Roewe 550 in China, were designed and engineered in the UK at MG's Longbridge technical centre in Birmingham. The cars will be be built in China and assembled at Longbridge.
The MG-6 will be powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine pumping 158bhp through a five-speed manual gearbox. It'll come in three trim levels, the best of which offers a rear parking aid with rear-view camera, digital tyre-pressure monitoring, cruise control, a navigation system with radio, CD, MP3, USB, aux-in and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
How these new models will be received by the car-buying public remains to be seen, but SAIC is aiming to sell 40,000 vehicles in the UK and Europe this year. That's an ambitious target for a brand that's been near dormant for so long, but we'd be foolish to doubt SAIC can pull it off. The company built 3.58 million cars last year -- 1.5 million more than total new car sales in the UK in 2010. Another 40,000 seems like a drop in the ocean.
Pricing for the MG6 and MG6 Fastback is expected to be in the region of £16,000 to £20,000, depending on options. The first MG6 cars will go on sale in April, with the MG3 following later this year.