Production has started for MG’s first new model in the U.K. in 16 years. It makes use of bodyshells, engines and powertrains that were delivered from China by parent SAIC Motor Corp. Sales chief Guy Jones said that the MG6 is a hatchback that has a starting price of 15,500 pounds ($25,000).
It is claimed to reach a top speed of 120 miles per hour (190 kmph). It is intended for the U.K. market, with MG expected to reach up to 3,000 units sold this year. SAIC merged with Nanjing Automobile Group Corp. in 2007. It purchased the site after MG Rover, Britain's biggest carmaker, collapsed with the loss of 6,500 jobs.
SAIC had inherited MG's Longbridge plant in Birmingham. Automotive analyst Peter Schmidt said that SAIC had previously paid $116 million for Rover design rights. It’s likely to renew U.K. production before selling a Chinese-built version of the MG6 in Europe.
Schmidt, the managing director of Warwick, England-based Automotive Industry Data, said that this “window-dressing exercise” is meant to prepare the public for the certainty of Chinese-made cars being imported into the U.K. market.
He said that he would consider it as a pilot scheme. Designed by former Rover employee Tony Williams-Kenny, the MG6 is powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged petrol engine and it is capable of accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds.
Company spokesman Doug Wallace said that this five-door model, which MG has styled as a "sports fastback," will soon be available via a network of 38 U.K. dealerships. About 23 more dealerships will be added “fairly soon.”